We don’t know about you, but Dressing Well 101 was never taught at any of the schools or universities we attended. While most adult men can tie a tie and marry a solid button down with a nice slack, what if we took it a step further?
We’re here to break down the basics of the ultimate men’s accessory: the belt. We wear belts for the everyday - work, dinners, weekends - and for the big moments, too - holidays, graduations, and weddings. It seems to us that if you wear one accessory every day, it should be your favorite item in the closet. Continue on to learn the essentials of this key accessory so that you can find the perfect men’s belt.
WHO SHOULD WEAR BELTS
You. Generally speaking, adult men should wear a belt with any non-athletic pants or shorts. For one, the belt provides utility as it secures your pants to your waist. This functionality protects you and your dignity from an embarrassing faux pas. In addition, the belt perfectly tapers the waist and creates a visual separation from the torso and legs. In English, this means that adding a belt creates a nice visual touch to your outfit by introducing a new texture and color.
As a rule of thumb, if your pants provide you with belt loops - use them. All Hyde Belt Company employees have this tattooed somewhere on their body.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD BELT
When shopping for leather belts, look for the words “whole grain” or “full grain.” These are synonyms that describe the highest quality leather. The deeper you go into the hide, the lower the quality. Belts that are made from leather far beneath the surface are labeled “genuine,” “bonded,” or “recycled,” and are lower quality.
Another way to know if your belt will age well is to understand how it was tanned. Tanning is the process that converts cow skin into leather, and it entails soaking the hide in liquid for several weeks. There are two types of tanning: vegetable and chrome. Vegetable tanning occurs when the cow hide is soaked in a tanning solution made of all-natural ingredients. While chrome tanning can also create a nice leather, the chrome process includes lots of chemicals and artificial agents. Generally, vegetable tanning is agreed to be the more responsible way to craft leather. At Hyde, all of our leather is full grain and vegetable tanned for two weeks.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR A BELT
We’ve already covered that you should be wearing a belt when you’ve got belt loops. But not every situation calls for the same type of belt. As a start, you should invest in a high-quality leather belt and a woven sport belt, which will come in handy for the following circumstances:
Business casual and formal:
In a situation where others are expecting you to dress a certain way, your belt needs to supplement your outfit, not stick out like a sore thumb. Choose a belt that has defined edges and a clean, neat, and polished look. As a general rule of thumb: stitching on the edge of the leather is more appropriate for dressy occasions. And don’t forget, in most of these professional or formal situations, it’s imperative that your shoes match or compliment your belt.
Casual but still refined:
A simple, solid, non-stitched leather belt is the utility knife of belts. It will flex upward to demonstrate that you know how to dress yourself but it doesn’t put any pressure on a laid back get-up. You should have one or two of these that are your go-to for everyday wear. Don’t stress over perfectly matching your shoes in casual situations, just be sure that your belt compliments and doesn’t clash.
Recreation, vacation, or just feeling yourself:
If you’re golfing, lounging, boating, drinking, rooftopping, boardwalking, tailgating or hopefully some combination thereof, let your belt say a little something extra. These outdoor moments are a nice opportunity for you to add some color to your waistline. Also, it may behoove you to don a belt that allows for some stretch as you swing the club or eat that third (or fourth) hot dog.
HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT BELT
That’s easy. Strut your way over to Hyde Belt Company and get yourself a handful of belts to replace that shredded thing you call a belt that you got at the Gap in junior high (no disrespect to Gap).