What If the Right Belt Could Transform Your Wardrobe?

While I have a hearty collection of jewelry, hair clips, socks and other accessories, I own precisely zero belts. I’m pretty sure this notable lack is due to a bias I developed after a brief wave of belt mania in 2012 that resulted in inevitable belt saturation (wide belts in particular). After that, I thought I was all belted out and would never want to look at another again, much less consider sliding one through my pant loops, but here we are, seven years later, and I recently found myself having the same conversation in my head every time I tried on an outfit: You know what would make this 10x better, Harling? A belt.

I can’t take full credit for my newfound open-mindedness. Belts have risen once again like cream to the top of the trend cycle, but they look (and feel) different from the last time they were there. They’re skinnier, for one thing, and therefore a little subtler. They also feature a wide variety of intriguing materials and buckles. When I say there’s a belt out there for everyone in 2019, I’m not being hyperbolic. To prove this delightful fact, shopping wiz Elizabeth Tamkin curated an edit of the best belts currently on the market (and they couldn’t be more distinctive from one another). Keep scrolling to find the one for Y-O-U.

1. PVC (With a Western Twist)

Frankie Shop belt, Ganni leather pants -- similar here, J.Crew turtleneckFrankie Shop belt, Ganni leather pants -- similar here, J.Crew turtleneck

This $45 showstopper from Frankie Shop combines two current trends with artful aplomb: PVC and the Wild West. The fact that it’s transparent gives statement pants (like these leather Ganni ones here) their full due.

2. Statement Buckle

Elizabeth fell in love with this brand when she first saw it on Instagram courtesy of Beltology in collaboration with Carlotta. Not only is it fun to look at but it’s also STRETCHY, which makes it super comfortable to wear all day long.

3. Subtle Animal

Topshop belt, vintage leather pants -- similar here, J.Crew turtleneckTopshop belt, vintage leather pants -- similar here, J.Crew turtleneck

For $30, this Topshop belt can be dressed up or down and essentially functions as a neutral thanks to its very subtle cow print. Looks great with plain jeans and/or sequins.

4. Party Animal

Maryam Nassir Zadeh makes excellent belts with THE BEST buckles — all super original looking but not in a way that’s distracting. As proven by Elizabeth, this thick zebra belt with a chunky buckle makes a blazer way more interesting.

5. D-Ring

Isabel Marant belt, vintage corduroy blazer -- another hereIsabel Marant belt, vintage corduroy blazer -- another here

D-ring belts are a weakness for anyone who grew up on Delia’s, so it’s great they’re making a comeback. It’s also great that they’re easily adjustable throughout the day. Elizabeth is partial to this Isabel Marant belt because it reminds her of the carpet runner in her apartment.

6. Chain

Elizabeth is a big proponent of scoping out vintage options when hunting for the perfect belt because they’re often really well-priced. This belt is from GoodtimesVtg on Etsy (and can double as a necklace!) If you’re into it, check out all the other chain belts on Etsy here — there are a ton.

7. Extra-Long Tail

Elizabeth has used this Tibi belt in the past when styling because A) the extremely long tail is an unexpected treat of an accent and B) it fits a range of women. In addition to the distinctive neon green buckle, the leather is especially soft.

8. All Rhinestone Everywhere

Another diamond of a belt (get it?) found on Instagram via B-Low the Belt. It’s perfect for jazzing up a party dress, especially when said party dress is accompanied by a chocolate-dipped strawberry. I’m not sure why but that just feels right.

9. Classic Braid

Elizabeth’s parents both had braided leather belts when she was growing up in the ’90s, so this belt makes her super nostalgic. It’s ideal for daily wear because it goes with everything. It’s also $25.

Market and styling by Elizabeth Tamkin; Photos by Edith Young.

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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