How to Match Your Belt with Your Suit

Man with belt, white shirt, and blue dress pants

You probably have a go-to belt or two that you put on with your jeans or khakis. But what about when it’s time to sport a suit for a special or professional occasion? Are your casual belts good enough? You don’t want to be self-conscious during an event, wondering if your belt stands out in all the wrong ways.

That’s what we’re here for. This guide will let you know the best belt to wear with suit pants, breaking it down into different types of suits. We’ll make sure you’re ready for your special occasion in style!

Sizing Your Belt

Why else would you wear a belt with a suit? The answer is that it’s a stylish way to complete your look. It’s up to you if you want to add it to the outfit or not, but it offers a good finishing touch like a pocket handkerchief and a nice watch. It also keeps those belt loops from irritatingly hanging there with nothing to do!

So, how do you choose the right belt size? Check the waist size of pants that fit you well, and then choose a belt that’s one size larger. This means a size 40 belt for a 38 waist pant. The ideal fit is to secure your belt using the middle hole. An even easier method is to use a holeless Nexbelt that fits up to a certain size waist.

Matching a Belt to Your Outfit

The right way to find the best belt to wear with suit pants is to match the belt to the shoes you plan to wear. It should complement both the color and finish type of the dress shoes. This concept works simply enough. If you’re wearing black, shiny dress shoes to go with a sleek black suit or tux, go for a black belt with a shiny finish.

However, the belt does not always have to be the exact same color as the suit, as long as the colors work together. For instance, for a charcoal suit, you don’t need grey on grey on grey with your accessories. Instead, you could wear a black belt and shoes. (More on the right color belt for various suit colors below.)

It also makes sense to consider buckle color and have it go with other parts of your outfit, such as shoe buckles, a watch or cufflinks.

Dress Belts vs Casual Belts

When you’re dressing your best in a suit, you definitely want to go for a dress belt over a casual belt. After all, something too casual can bring down the whole look. So, how do you tell the difference between dressy and casual belts? Belts that have fun designs or buckles, have stand-out colors, have unique sizes, are made of a woven material or have a worn look can all be considered casual. If it looks like it would go well with jeans, it’s likely not right for your suit.

Dress belts, on the other hand, look classic and elegant. They tend to be relatively slim with a width of about 1 1/4 inch. They have simple buckles and a solid color. Generally, leather of smooth calfskin is the best choice with a suit, while suitable options include genuine leather, full-grain leather, bonded leather or synthetic leather. You may also be able to go with something different like crocodile leather, as long as it leans more on the classy side rather than flashy.

Your dress belt should blend in with the outfit, offering a slight finishing touch, rather than being something that draws the eye and stands out on its own. Keep those belts for your casual occasions!

Another consideration is holes. While a standard belt with holes can work, you can look even classier by wearing a holeless Nexbelt.

Belts to Wear with Black Suits

The best choice for a black suit is to wear a black belt. Aim to match the finish to that of your shoes.

Belts to Wear with Navy Suits

With a navy suit, you have choices of belt color. You could go for a black belt as the most formal and classic choice. Dark brown or oxblood/burgundy are other great choices with navy, while they are slightly less formal than black. If it fits the occasion, you can wear a light brown or tan belt with a navy suit for a more casual suit look. Once again, match the color of the belt to the shoes.

Belts to Wear with Charcoal Suits

A black belt is the best belt to wear with suit pants in charcoal, along with black shoes, of course. You could instead choose a dark brown or light brown belt to go with a light grey suit like this, for a somewhat more casual look.

Belts to Wear with Dress Pants

Basically, you’ll follow the same guidelines for dress pants that you would for matching a belt to a full suit. Keep in mind that belts with a slimmer width and smaller buckles are best for dress pants. It’s also ideal to choose a good leather belt.

Browse our online store for a wide selection of dress belts with sleek, holeless designs in a variety of colors and styles.

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