We'll be the first to admit, it can be hard to get the hang of belts. Once you do, though, there are all kinds of figure-flattering benefits, like a smaller-looking waist and a feminine figure in boxy or flowy dresses. Below, we weigh in on how to wear the four kinds we think you should own.
When layering a skinny belt over a cardigan or cinching a dress, aim to place it below your rib cage but above your navel, to create a tiny waist. Since skinny belts are less substantial than wide belts, its easier (and slightly safer) to explore patterns, textures and colors. Consider cinching a floral dress with a skinny leather belt to create a subtle contrast.
Wear a wide belt in a dark hue around your midsection to slenderize, and look for stretchy materials which tend to be more comfortable for wearing higher on the body. We try to avoid letting these wide styles sit on our hips – best to make sure they cinch the narrowest part of your torso.
When your outfit needs a little shape- say, a flowing, formless dress that kind of ends up looking slightly like a sack- select wide belt to define the curves hiding under all that fabric. A word of caution: avoid overly aggressive wide belts, as the size speaks for itself. Because we wouldn't want to be mistaken for dressing up as a pro wrestler or gladiator.
Patent leather belts can be both office-appropriate and eveningwear chic – a black one will make almost anything look a little more posh. When donning a brightly colored patent number, it's wise to stick with a skinny belt, as the color and shiny texture can be a too-flashy combination.
As eye-catching as they are, patterned belts can be headache-causing as well. The best way to work the patterned belt is to combine it with neutral pieces. Throw a snakeskin belt over a solid colored sweater dress, or try a belt that gets its pattern from texture rather than color.
Avoid pattern on pattern, though – if you’re tempted to wear a plaid shirt, please don’t cinch with a bright snakeskin belt. It could have a dizzying effect on passersby.