Leather dress belts are an accessory that every man needs. Unfortunately, many men put as much thought into the type of belt they wear as they do into the type of socks they put on their feet. As you can imagine, the results are typically disastrous.
I know some of you will argue, “But people can hardly see what type of belt I’m wearing. It’s such a minor accessory, does it really matter that much?”
In a word, yes.
Remember, having a good sense of style is often about minding details. While I don’t want to turn you into a hyper-obsessed, men’s style snob, I do want you to appreciate the importance of details when it comes to putting your look together. While selecting the right leather dress belt might seem like a tedious proposition to many of you, in reality it is a rather simple and straightforward process.
Leather Dress Belts vs Casual Leather Belts
When it comes to leather dress belts one of the biggest sources of confusion for guys is the difference between a dress belt and a casual belt. Simply put, a leather dress belt will typically be no wider than about an inch, whereas a casual leather belt will be anything over and above that. Additionally, you will notice that the leather of casual belts will often have a much rougher appearance and the belt buckle will typically be larger as well.
How to Select a Quality Leather Dress Belt
Frankly speaking, when it comes to selecting a good quality leather dress belt I strongly recommend guys look for three things:
- Full gain leather
- A simple, basic buckle design
- A reversible option, if possible
Bottom line, a quality leather belt will always be made from full grain leather and this is no exception for when it comes to a quality leather dress belt. Although a full grain leather dress belt will cost you a bit more up front, you will definitely get a good return on your investment as quality leather products can last you for years and years. In this sense, a quality leather dress belt is not unlike a pair of quality leather dress shoes so don’t be afraid to spend more up front!
When it comes to buckle design my recommendation closely follows my philosophy in the gym, keep it simple, stupid! The last thing you want is some gaudy piece of futuristic-looking metal to be dangling from your waist. Believe me when I say that it will do nothing good for your overall aesthetic. A simple way to test if you have the right belt buckle is to wear the belt with your trousers and if you eye isn’t immediately locked onto (or blinded) by the buckle you have a winner.
The last criteria I look for in a quality leather dress belt will probably have the style purists ready to smack me upside the head: reversibility.
Reversible belts definitely don’t have a whole lot of credibility in the style world and are often relegated to the same category as clip on ties (i.e. something that should be absolutely avoided).
However, I highly recommend guys give reversible leather dress belts a chance as you can now actually find some quality products out in the marketplace. Case in point: I own a full grain, reversible leather dress belt that I was able to pick up for around $50 from Nordstrom’s over a year ago. It’s their own brand and has held up very well for me. I highly recommend it (no, I’m not getting paid to say this).
Of course, the obvious benefit to a reversible belt is that you get two belts for the price of one. We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating once again: you don’t need a lot of clothes to have a sense of style and neither do you need to spend a lot of money. In this sense, the reversible leather dress belt fits well within our style philosophy and that’s why we consider it a winner.
Leather dress belts are similar to socks – an essential accessory that every man needs but that very few get right. The key to buying a good quality leather dress belt is looking for a product that is made from full grain leather and comes with a simple, understated belt buckle. For those of us who are real spendthrifts, reversible belts can also be an option.
As you can see, picking out the right leather dress belt need not be a complicated nor painful endeavour. If you let the basic principles in this article be your guide I don’t believe you will have any problems picking out the right leather dress belt for you.
Here’s to looking sharp!