I had a formal function not too long ago and needed a new belt. Although I have bought from the Tommy Hilfinger line in the past, I thought I would look into the best name brand belts from other manufacturers.
Companies in the list range from luxury designer belts such as Gucci to more budget-friendly belts. This should provide a starting point for your research.
59 belt brand names on the market
- Allen Edmonds
- Armani Collezioni
- Calvin Klein
- Club Room
- Cole Haan
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Geoffrey Beene
- Hugo Boss
- INC International Concepts
- Kenneth Cole
- Louis Vuitton
- Michael Kors
- Perry Ellis
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- rag & bone
- Ralph Lauren
- Ryan Seacrest Distinction
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Stefano Ricci
- Steve Madden
- Style & Co.
- Tasso Elba
- The North Face
- Tommy Bahama
- Tommy Hilfiger
- True Religion
- U.S. Polo Assn.
- Ulla Popken
- Under Armour
- Vince Camuto
Note: The list is not comprehensive. There may be more manufacturers out there. These are ones I have found.
How to choose the right belt for the occasion
The most important guideline when choosing a belt for a particular occasion is to match your belt’s thickness with the formality of the function. Generally, belts thicker than 1.25 inches are considered casual belts and belts narrower than 1.25 inches are considered formal.
Thus, if you are attending a wedding and wearing a suit or a nice pair of chinos, a narrow belt from 1 to 1.25 inches wide is in order. If you are repairing your garage door or attending a barbecue in khakis or light blue jeans, a thick belt better suits the occasion.
Choosing the right color belt
An extremely basic rule of men’s fashion is that in any outfit, the color of the belt should match the color of the shoes. While there are notable exceptions to this rule (white shoes tend to go best with black belts), it is as close to a concrete mandate as exists in fashion.
Owning several different belts that match the colors of your various pairs of shoes will make following this rule much easier. If you have a limited budget, begin by purchasing a black belt and a brown belt — most men own black dress shoes or boots, and brown belts can easily be worn with sneakers or brown dress shoes.
Choosing the right belt material
This guideline is less essential than the first two, but matching your belt material to your shoe material can tie an outfit together very effectively. The majority of traditional belts are either made of canvas, leather, or suede leather. Canvas shoes like Vans call for a canvas belt, whereas leather loafers work best with a leather belt.
These categories of belt material are fairly broad, and adherence to subcategory choices can elevate the outfit to an even higher place. For example, shiny black dress shoes will look good with a dull black leather belt, but they’ll look great with a shiny leather belt.
An especially fancy occasion might call for a more expensive belt material. Most classic belt styles, including the three detailed above, are manufactured from treated calfskin. Belts made from ostrich skin, lizard skin, or even crocodile and alligator skin will cost significantly more to acquire, but their uniqueness is sure to make a lasting impression on coworkers and acquaintances.
Beyond casual and dress belts
Although most belts fall into the binary groupings of casual and dress, there are certain types of belts that do not fit neatly into these categories. Men with sophisticated wardrobes would be remiss to ignore these rarer but still stylish accessories.
Suede woven belts are certainly a niche accessory, but they work very well when matched with light semi-formal pants and boat shoes. Summer vacations, boating trips or golf outings are all perfect chances to break out this specific style of belt.
Most belts are solidly colored, but multi-colored belts should have a place in any closet. Casual multi-colored belts are extremely popular in Central and South America, and they are capable of injecting a spark of color into a collection of clothes that centers around black, grey and other muted shades. These belts are not appropriate for formal settings, but can be very effective as part of a casual ensemble.
Belts with oversized or personalized buckles are another interesting case — they are unsuitable for job interviews, weddings and funerals, but they are one of the most effective ways to convey your personality through an accessory. Buckles with designer logos on them are an excellent way to show brand loyalty, and novelty buckles are the best way to show that you love AC/DC!
Endless factors to consider
After mastering the basics of belt choice, a discerning fashionista or fashionisto still has several choices to make.
Buckles: Belt buckles are made in silver, gold, copper and even rope, and they can be painted several different colors.
Length: Even belt length can be used as a fashion statement: having extra length on the belt is popular in many casual vacation styles.
Cost: Whether you are buying one of the most expensive designer belts or a discount retail store special, cost does play an integral part.