People used to consider belts as mere objects used to tie their pants, but they have come a long way since, especially those made from leather.
Belts for both men and women are much more than a simple accessory. They represent style, class, and elegance, and there is a diverse range of leather belt varieties for just about any occasion, outfit, and taste.
Overall, leather is the go-to material for belts because it doesn’t sustain damage, whether bent, cinched, or folded. Whether you have a party or a casual day out, rest assured that there is a perfect leather belt to suit your preference.
But with thousands of products in the market, shopping for a leather belt can prove to be a pretty overwhelming experience. Choosing a leather belt goes beyond the look of the outfit. You also have to factor in the fit, quality, durability, and style of the leather material used.
To help you make the right choice, here are five styles of leather belts that will showcase your personality in any outfit. You can click here for more options on leather belts.
Stiffer, broader, and more rigid than all styles of leather belts, full-grain leather belts are the highest quality grade of leather.
Casual full-grain leather work belts are often made from the exterior layers of a cow’s hide and have the toughest leather top you can find. In fact, if you were to look closely, you’ll find that some even have marks from brands or scars the cow got during its life. They also have all-natural grain unless the belt is made from calfskin.
Some full-grain leather belts are customizable and are perfect for people who like to collect and wear different belt buckles. They’re made with a snapped look designed to take different belt buckles.
However, because full-grain leather is expensive to buy as raw material, expect this cost to be reflected in the purchase price of full-grain leather belts.
Tooled leather belts are decorated through tooling, a stamping process that ingrains different patterns on the leather. The patterns are then stained to make them conspicuous. They are referred to as ‘tooled’ because the tooling effect on the leather looks like a highly complex painting.
Tooled leather belts go well with casual work outfits like a button-down shirt and a pair of jeans. However, avoid pairing them with too many patterned pieces because they tend to be ‘visually busy’ on their own, and the overall look can get overwhelming.
Suede is a high-quality type of leather usually made from calf, lamb, or goatskin. Suede is a lot softer and more flexible than full-grain leather but does not include a rigid exterior layer and is, therefore, less durable. However, many suede belts are backed with full-grain leather for extra strength.
Braided leather belts are made from weaving. Therefore, the leather material used is soft and flexible since it must be braided.
Braided leather belts are a good choice for people looking to keep their look non-distracting and straightforward. They add some texture to a casual outfit without making it overwhelming. However, they are considered more relaxed than other styles and, as such, should not be worn with suits.
There are braided leather belts with multiple colors, although these are considered a lot more casual. These belts are great for Casual Fridays at the workplace, especially in summer.
A great casual outfit would involve boaters, khaki shorts, and a button-fronted short-sleeved shirt or light polo with a bright braided leather belt holding down the center of the outfit.
Many leather belt enthusiasts would argue that exotic leather belts stand out on a league of their own.
Exotic leather belts can transform an otherwise simple, boring outfit into a great fashion statement. Although they are very casual, exotic leather belts can also work in formal places when worn with dark colors for subtlety.
They are called exotic because they are not made from cattle hide like other leather belts. Expect to find exotic leather belts made from lizard, python, or alligator skin.
Python leather is visually distinctive, while lizard skin is not as loud when scaling patterns are considered. Alligator skin is the most expensive of the three and is viewed as a mark of prestige.
The reality of matters is every part of an outfit gets a lot more attention than the belt. It’s seen more as a utility than a fashion accessory and is therefore picked up as an afterthought rather than being actively sought out.
This should not be the case, especially if you want to differentiate yourself or make a statement.
A belt goes way beyond simply ensuring that you’re not caught pants down. If well-picked, a belt can bring your entire outfit together. But on the other hand, a mismatched belt will bring you a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.