Picking the right belt is by no means rocket science. Follow one simple formula, and you’ll land a proper pants-holder. First, invest in high-quality leather. Then experiment with texture. The range available in casual belts — suede, bridle, vegetable tanned, alligator and bison — can fit different aesthetics, so don’t shy from variety.
Types of Belts
Like I said, there’s loads of variety within the category. There are not only a number of colors and sizes, but also a bunch of strap styles.
- Exotic leather: Lizard, Crocodile, Ostrich
- Vinyl and faux leather
But you can also shop belts by pant style and occasion: There are dress belts, jean belts, casual belts and beyond, and each corresponds with what you’re wearing and where to. If you’re wearing dress pants, the belt loops are smaller than those on jeans.
Types of Belt Buckles
The buckle is what keeps the belt together. It can be simple or ornate depending on your style and how you’ll wear it. If you tuck your shirt in, you’ll want something with a little more substance. If it’s simply there to keep your pants up, it can skew simple.
- Frame buckle
- Plate buckle
- Snap buckle
- Snap buckle
The Best Belts for Men
- The Best Summer Belts for Men
- The Best Dress Belts for Men
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The Best Overall Belt
Billykirk No. 289 Roller Bar Belt
Available in sizes 28 through 40 and two finishes, brass or nickel, Billykirk’s 8 oz No. 289 Belt is the brand’s most straightforward. But simplicity doesn’t simply mean basic. This belt is built to last, by hand in Pennsylvania, too.
The Best Upgrade Belt
KikaNY No. 8, 1.25″
KikaNY’s belts are made to measure with a lead time of 10 to 14 days. So, when you place your order, leather is cut to your selected waist size, finished with hand-tooled brass hardware and packaged for delivery. Pick from 8 colors and a sizes.
The Best Affordable Belt
L.L. Bean 1912 Jean Belt
If someone asks me where to buy a cheap belt, I almost always say L.L. Bean. Why? The brand’s belts are made from 100 percent leather and with real metal hardware. It’s hard to find a sub-$50 dollar belt like this elsewhere. Plus, this one’s available in a wide range of sizes (30 to 46).
J.Crew Braided Italian Suede Belt
While J.Crew makes some really cheap belts, this is not one of them. This option is still $80 bucks, but it’s worth it, because it’s made from actual woven Italian suede and hefty metal hardware. According to some reviews, though, sizing is inconsistent. Pay close attention to the size your order as it’s in letters. Small, for example, means a 29-31 inch waist.
Bleu de Chaffe Fred Leather Belt
Bleu de Chaffe’s France-made natural leather belt arrives wearing this tan-ish hue, but after just a few wears it will darken. Over time, you’ll earn a patina you truly learn to appreciate. Then, when this one runs its course, which will definitely be decades from now, you can start over again.
Allevol Broadway Belt
Cut and crafted by hand in England, Allevol’s simple Broadway Belt works well with chinos and even slacks. The chestnut-colored leather works well with the brass hardware, and it has a matching keep, the leather strap that holds the tail in place.
Fields Outfitting La Sierra Polo Belt
Fields Outfitting collects and showcases exquisite Argentine crafts. An example? The La Sierra Polo Belt, which is made from Argentine leather and adorned with beeswax nylon threading. Brass hardware keeps the thing on. The brand says to order a full size up from your pant size. So, if you wear size 32 pants, order a size 34 belt.
Tecovas Ostrich Belt
Tecovas not only fashions cowboy boots out of ostrich leather but belts, too. Quoted at $345 dollars, Tecovas only sells its iteration at $150, citing their ability to sell directly rather than through traditional retail. You can pick from three tans, Pecan, Mahogany or Midnight, and two finishes, nickel-plated or antique brass.
RRL Rasco Studded Belt
What’s not to love? RRL’s Rasco Studded Belt takes obvious cues from 1930s Western styles, evident by its subtle engraving, studded patterns, glass stones and aged leather construction. The belt itself was made in Italy and distressed by hand.
Tanner Goods Standard Belt
This is another natural leather belt that will age with wear. All belts wear in with consistent use, but no belt will show it quite like this one from Tanner Goods. It’s the brand’s Standard Belt, meaning it’s simple — perfect for easy, everyday wear.
Coronado Leather Vintage Stone-Washed Belt #510
This belt arrives pre-broken in. It was stone washed for softness at a 100-year-old denim factory in LA. You’ll notice imperfections caused by the wash, but they don’t impact its wearability. In fact, they’ll made the belt even better looking — no weird cracking or stressing over the first scuff.
Willie Leather Goods 38MM Double Keeper Belt
The Double Keeper Belt by Willie Leather Goods is made from natural, vegetable-tanned leather and zinc alloy hardware. Instead of one keep, the loop that keeps the tail in place, this one comes with two, which gives it a more prominent appearance.
These Brands Make Some of the Best Leather Goods in America
From our everyday carry to our weekend getaway luggage to home goods and more, these small-batch leather brands are producing some of the best leather goods in the country.
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