The inclusion or exclusion of a belt can make or break an outfit. It’s a staple. So what do you have to consider when buying one?
The most important things to determine are versatility and durability. A good belt should go with a lot of outfits and will last you a very long time – so don’t be deterred by something a little more expensive.
Here are a range of choices, from high-quality Italian leather to more relaxed fabric options. Our picks are from the high street, but sit alongside some designer offerings for good measure.
1. Reiss Mitchell: £35, Reiss
Two belts for the price of one – fantastic. This is reversible, so you get grained leather on one side and suede on the other, meaning you can subtly mix up your look. The deep brown colouring and silver buckle contribute to its classic look.
2. Ted Baker Sorcha: £39, Ted Baker
The fact this belt from Ted Baker is woven means there are more adjustment options than usual and we think the weave relaxes an outfit, making it ideal for smart-casual looks. Secondly, the two-tone, navy and purple design adds some colour into proceedings. We’d pair this one with some chinos.
3. Gucci Leather Belt with Double G Buckle: £240, Gucci
Gucci just oozes quality. It’s very easy for people to dismiss pieces like this as overpriced, but that would be missing the point. The belt is handmade in Italy from soft black leather and with a brass “GG” buckle. It’s everything you need a belt to be: versatile, durable and, if you’re so inclined, you can use it as a statement piece, thanks to the gleaming Gucci buckle which is enough to set an outfit off. We’d style with black jeans, a tucked-in white T-shirt, black leather Chelsea boots (we stress leather, not suede) and a black bomber jacket.
4. Paul Smith Men’s Brown Leather Belt with Signature Keeper: £110, Paul Smith
British brand Paul Smith is known for combining classic designs and techniques with its signature colourful stripes. This belt is hand-crafted in Spain out of calf leather and finished with a silver buckle and a natural leather lining. The stripe keeper is what will get noticed – but it’s still understated enough to wear with most things. It’s a little narrower than some on the list, so bear that in mind before buying.
5. Topman Washed Stone Faux Leather Belt: £15, Topman
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, opt for this great-value belt. At only £15 it’s by far the cheapest on our list and you’ll get a lot of wear out of it. Okay it’s not real leather, but it’s in a neutral colour and will give you plenty of outfit options.
6. Diesel B-Washy: £35, Diesel
The textured cotton fabric of this belt makes it more eye-catching than a simple leather or suede one, and the rusted colour helps it pop out. Add this to the signature Mohawk motif stamped on the metal buckle and you have a belt that makes a subtle statement. We reckon it’ll look good with stone-washed denim.
7. Ralph Lauren Saddle Leather Belt: £49, Ralph Lauren
If you want something classic, try this Ralph Lauren belt in versatile tan. It’s made from the sort of quality-feeling Italian leather that you can count on still being in your wardrobe ten years down the line. The reassuringly weighty (but not overly chunky) buckle and the slightly pointed end help it all look streamlined. The branding – that instantly recognisable polo motif – is subtly embossed towards the tip of the belt, which keeps things low-key. It also comes in black.
The Verdict: Men’s belts
The criteria we set out earlier is all about getting the most for your money, which belt will last you the longest and which can you wear with the most outfits. With that in mind, we’d go for the versatile, wear-with-everything Reiss Mitchell.
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