For too long, men have taken belts for granted. You throw on something nondescript each morning. If you think about the belt at all, it’s to wonder if it matches, or if it’s appropriate for the occasion. But a fashion belt? That’s one high-end accessory that isn’t meant to blend in—it’s the star of the show. You just need to learn how to style men’s fashion belts so you can take advantage of this neglected accessory. They may be bold, but they’ll soon become signature pieces in your wardrobe.
How Is a Fashion Belt Different?
Men’s belts must adhere to many, many rules: Match your belt to your shoes. Your formal belts should be thinner than your casual belts. Match the metal on the buckle to all your other accessories. Don’t wear a brown belt with a black suit. Don’t wear an embellished buckle to work. But men’s fashion belts? There are no rules. They can be an extension of your existing aesthetic, an amped-up elevation, or they can inspire a new look altogether.
Go ahead, wear brown with black! A next-level accessory, such as a B.B. Simon belt, is all about anarchy. You’ve been waiting for this fashion flex for a long time. Maybe you’ve dipped a toe into sparkly waters by wearing a chain, or figured that if Harrison Ford can wear an earring, so can you. It’s a sign of unshakable confidence and success, the waist’s equivalent of a Jacob and Co. watch. Your shoes are meant to shine, after all, and so should your belt. You’re ready for this. First, let us explain some distinctions:
The Purpose of a Belt
First, foremost: To hold up your pants. Beyond that, your belt is chosen mainly to be inoffensive to others. It’s meant to fade into the background.
The Purpose of a Fashion Belt
To express yourself. To attract attention. To transform your outfit into a celebration. Your belt can have as much meaning and symbolism as you want. Or you can wear it simply to rebel.
How To Match a Belt
You stick to black and brown belts and hope you don’t get it wrong. There are firm guidelines that have been established for at least a century, limiting your choice of belt by width, color, finish—and your mother’s disapproval.
How To Match a Fashion Belt
Match? Oh, heck to the no! If anything, the rest of your clothes should adapt to the belt.
The Statement a Belt Makes
You have acceptable taste, at least as defined by Victorian-era snobs.
The Statement a Fashion Belt Makes
You have a personality. Your fashion belt is a beacon to announce you’re the absolute center of the universe.
Yes, bling is on trend if that’s important to you. The men’s 2020 fashion runways were punctuated with blinding details. One crystal-and-sequins men’s jacket with a party-boy vibe took more than 1,000 hours to create, but the critical reaction was worth it. “Daytime Disco” detailing crept onto coats from Dior and Alexander McQueen, and Alyx’s Michael Williams urged men to start wearing sparkly barrettes. Belts are the ideal accessories to start experimenting with glitz and glitter.
The Fashion Belt’s Predecessors
These spectacular, handcrafted pieces are the latest in a long history of statement belts: fearless, unmistakable symbols of honor that dominated men’s ensembles. For instance:
- When a samurai wore an obi belt in feudal Japan, he signaled his status and his triumphs. His belt secured his swords, other weapons, and equipment. Obis were usually brightly colored to contrast against kimonos and demanded respectful regard. Later, mixed martial arts masters had to earn their way from white belts to black belts.
- When cowboys wore belts, they etched their names on buckles as “cowboy calling cards,” announcing their presence with authority. Soon, rodeo stars celebrated their bull-riding wins with dazzling, ever-bigger belts.
- Punk artists of the ’70s wore spiked and studded belts with the message that they were dangerous, unpredictable, and best observed from a distance. (They also paired nicely with their spiky hair.)
Fashion belts are worn by legends. Pro wrestlers are nearly dwarfed by their championship belts. Batman is nothing without his utility belt. Elvis flaunted wide, bejeweled belts with his Vegas-era jumpsuits. Now you can accentuate your swagger with a fashion belt, too.
The Rapper’s Guide To Styling
Where do you learn how to style men’s fashion belts? For inspiration, you can always look to the rap and hip-hop stars that grasped the magic of B.B. Simon belts from the get-go. Here’s how they do it.
With Jeans: In the early 2000s, Julez Santana of Harlem’s Dipset collective first held up his baggy pants with a B.B. belt with a brilliant American flag theme. The look included a bandana headband and Ed Hardy shirt.
With a Loud Suit: Rapper Post Malone loves to hit award ceremonies in brightly-colored suits with whimsical patterns like rhinestone snakes. What belt could compete with the sartorial equivalent of a neon blinking sign? A belt by B.B. Simon.
Just Below Your Calvins: A$AP Rocky didn’t need too much encouragement from paparazzi to lift up his “I Heart NY” sweater on the street and reveal his B.B. belt, slung just below his elastic underwear band.
With a White Suit: Diddy’s annual White Party in the Hamptons had a strict, colorless dress code, but he set a blingy example with a coordinating B.B. belt.
With a Black Suit: Lil Nas attended a wedding with a black suit and silver sparkling B.B. belt. He completed the look with black and white snakeskin cowboy boots and a red Mustang.
Those are just a few examples of high-profile fashion belts, but they’re natural complements for all kinds of styles: military, unisex, retro. Most fans wear them with white sneakers, but only the freshest pair can stand up to the glare of a fashion belt. B.B.s look particularly incredible with leather jackets or pants. And once you build up your collection, you can layer them around your neck in place of gold chains. Hey, it’s been done. Quite a bit.
At Dudes Boutique, we can help you find the perfect belt for your personal style. We’ve been carrying B.B. Simon belts for more than 20 years, and we’re the company’s largest authorized dealer. Take a look at our selection online, or contact us so we can track down a masterpiece just for you.