Once upon a time, men hitched their pants high enough that belts were simply an accessory, not a necessity. But as the waistlines of in-style pants fell, the need for functional belts rose. Today, the best men’s leather belts add a bit of reinforcement to jeans or slacks but should mainly be thought of as a style accessory. But whether military, striped, or super traditional, the right belt goes a long way.
There are a lot of belts out there to look at. When you’re searching for the right men’s belt, as well the corresponding belt buckle, don’t go for anything too gaudy or flashy, cautions Micaela Erlanger, a stylist who has worked with such stars as Common, Jared Leto, and John Boyega.
Her advice? Stick to basic colors and styles that coordinate well with a lot of different clothing. “Every man needs a black leather belt and a brown leather belt and a nice corded woven belt for summer,” Erlanger says. In terms of belt style, she opts for simplicity. “Keep it clean. No logos. No funky buckles. The buckles should be metal. Keep it as simple as you can. We’re not reinventing the wheel here.”
These are guidelines, of course. So if you want to be bold and rock a glistening, double-tongued studded belt, you do you. Her point is that the more outlandish the style, the more difficult it is to pull. it. off.
But Erlanger also has an important piece of belt-wearing advice that should be taken as gospel. “You don’t wear a belt to hold up your pants,” she says. “If your pants don’t stay up, they don’t fit.”
Now, with Erlanger’s advice in mind, here are some of the best leather belts for men and one great woven belt for warmer weather. Choose accordingly.
The Best Men’s Belts
This leather belt complements whatever you wear, be it jeans, slacks, or shorts. It has precise needle edge stitching and is made from hand-burnished leather. The sleek stainless steel roller buckle is great, but if you're not into it, it's removable, letting you swap it out for other options.
We're into the heavy-duty full grain leather of this belt, and the fact that unlike other, cheaper belts, it's made from a single piece of leather. This means it won't sag, split or stretch.
This casual belt is a combination of leather, bonded leather, and polyurethane. What does bonded leather mean, you ask? It's leather composed of waste scraps of leftover leather. So you're getting an ultra-durable belt that's almost entirely leather, and a great price.
This black leather belt has a classic solid brass buckle, and the leather has a nice, rich texture to it. The more you wear it, the better it looks. That's because the leather is vegetable-tanned and meant to retain its natural grain. It ages with grace.
If you'd rather get a leather belt with slightly more detailing, this cowhide one is for you. It has a semi-matte finish and is 1.3 inches wide. Note the fine, delicate pattern on the leather belt. It's just notable enough to stand out without being too flashy. And the belt buckle is made of brass.
Wearing slacks? Nice jeans? A suit? Available in black or brown, the Hugo Boss Garney is the ideal wear-with-everything leather belt. It's made from cow leather, has a large but not garish metal buckle, and has a slim, refined look that cuts an always-classic profile.
This perfect woven belt adds just the right touch of formality to your spring or summer outfit. The micro-adjustable buckle for one size fits up to a 40 inch waist. And you can leave the belt in your pants and run it through the wash cycle.
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