Ultimate Guide to Men’s Belt: Types, Fabrics & Tips to wear
If you thought that belts are required just to keep your pants up, then you are aware of just one half of the whole story. Belts have been used since time immemorial as an important fashion accessory.
Belt’s fabric, width, length say all about when to wear and with whom to wear. One can not wear a belt with specific accessories and one should have to match some accessories with a belt. Read on to know more about the A to Z guide of belts which have been carefully curated by our in-house experts.
Article Summary: Men’s Belt Guide
- Anatomy of Belts
- 4 Types of Buckle Grip
- 3 Types of Belt Buckle Attachments
- 7 Different Types of Buckle Design
- 12 Types of Belt Strap Materials
- Belt and Shoes Matching Guide for Men
- Belt and Accessories Matching Guide
- Belt Size & Fitting Guide
- Formal Vs Jeans Vs Casual Belt Guide
- Belt Width Guide
- Gig Line Rule
Anatomy of Belts
Buckle: Buckle refers to the metal hardware which remains affixed with one end of the belt. The buckle might comprise multiple pieces or might be just a single piece.
Prong: This is the bar that helps in tightening the belt by going through one of the holes present in the strap.
Frame: Frame denotes the outer portion of the buckle which circumferences the bar and the pong.
Bar: By staying true to its nomenclature, the bar refers to the joint between the strap and the prong. The strap is wrapped around the bar.
Chape: Chape is the juncture in between the strap and the buckle. It holds the belt and buckles together.
Strap: This flexible band is made of cloth or leather wraps around the waist and serves as the joining between the buckle and the end tip.
Keeper Loop: This secures the end tip of the belt in place and prevents it from flapping around. Keepers are of two types; one is attached with the buckle and remains fixed in place while the other one can be fixed anywhere. You can both add and remove the second kind of keeper.
End Tip: This keeps the end of the belt buffered from getting damaged over time and also helps in its easy buckling. The end tip might have a leather or metal construction.
4 Types of Buckle Grip
1. Prong Buckle
Prong buckle grip belts feature a metal pin and loop. The belt can be secured by pushing the pin through its built-in holes and pushing the leather strap from within the loop. Prong buckles are of two types, single prong, and double prong. A single tongue buckle grip has just one prong which remains joint with one side of the belt from where it can be opened and fastened as per requirement. The prong can be secured to the other end of the frame for fastening the belt. A double prong buckle grip has two prongs which holds the belt from another side. It also ensures a steady grip and can be availed in a plethora of color choices. The double prong buckle grip style oozes out a laidback casual vibe while the single prong style can blend in well with both casual and formal events.
2. Pin Buckle/Screw Hook Buckle
This effortlessly styled buckle grip features a pin and a loop at the back of the buckle. The pin attaches with one of the belt notches after sliding the belt through the loop and this causes the belt to snap into place. You can sport this style at both casual and formal events.
3. Ratchet Style Buckle
This buckle grip style is completely hole-less in nature and utilizes the ratchet mechanism. A high level of adjustability stands out as the USP of this formal style as it can be both loosened or tightened as per waistline measurements.
4. Auto Press Buckle
This automatic buckle does not have any teeth stitched to it. Rather the lock mechanism built into it helps in adjusting the belt according to your preferred fit. The belt can be easily released by pressing the buckle and is mostly sported on formal occasions.
3 Types of Belt Buckle Attachments
1. Screw Attachment
This kind of belt buckle attachment comes with a screw bar closure which adds up to its level of efficiency. It provides adequate support and also looks pleasing on the eye whether sported at formal or casual events. This kind of attachment allows users to adjust the belt as per preference by opening the screw with appropriate tools.
2. Clamp Attachment
Belt adjustment is also possible in clamp attachment which is one of the most easy-to-use styles. You won’t need any tool for making alterations in the clamp buckle attachment. This classic form can be both fitted and opened easily which makes it the most widely used belt buckle attachment.
3. Stitch Attachment
This belt buckle attachment can serve you well in casual gatherings. It has a fixed length and comes in a woven style.
7 Different Types of Buckle Design
- Frame Styles Buckles
- Box Frame Buckles
- Micro Adjust Buckles
- Snap Buckles
- O-Ring/D-Ring Buckles
- Plate Style Buckles
- Buckle Less Style
1. Frame Styles Buckles
This style is common informal wear although causal belts can also be seen sporting this buckle style. Here the strap travels through the frame and the prong fastens the belt by going through the holes in the strap. Let’s take a look at some sub-types of frame style buckle.
1. Single Tongue –This type of tongue buckle comes with a single prong which remains attached with one side of the belt. The prong can also be used for tightening the belt which is both opened and fastened from one side only. This buckle type can serve you well at both casual and formals get-togethers.
2. Double Tongue – These belts have prongs on both sides which helps to hold the belt from its other side. The double tongue belt buckles come in various colors and finishes. They ensure a firm grip and can enhance your style quotient at both casual and formal setups.
3. Double Side –You can make even the most casual outfits stand out with a double side belt buckle. It comes in an array of design choices that can hike up your style quotient in no time.
4. Reversible – Just as the name suggests, reversible belts come in two color variations, one on each of its sides. They are ideal for fashion mongers who don’t wish to stock up their closet with multiple accessories.
5. Rigger’s Belt – The non-buckle end of this belt can be put through the buckle which stays attached with its opposite end. It is again put through the buckle by being brought back which helps in gaining your desired fit by simply pulling the belt. These belts are usually made of fabric which adds a casual touch to the same.
6. Alloy Buckle Carabiner –Carabiner is a popular mountaineering accessory which is mostly used for safety purposes. This oblong or D-shaped metal ring having one spring-hinged side is also used as a popular belt buckle style.
2. Box Frame Buckles
Belts having box frame buckle are devoid of any hole in the strap. In such cases, the strap has to be pressed against the insides of the metal box. Let’s take a look at some of its sub-types.
- Auto Press Buckles
- Flip Closure Buckles
- Self Defense Buckles
- Pin Buckle in-box style
- Automatic Locking Splice Buckle
- Military Utility Buckle
- Automatic Latch Buckle
- Clip-On Buckles
- Clip Latch Buckle
- Designer Military Buckles
1. Auto Press Buckles–Going by its name, this kind of belt buckle locks automatically. However, the auto press buckle doesn’t have any teeth sewn on it. Rather, the lock mechanism is built right into the same which helps in adjusting the belt as per your preferred size. The belt can be released by pressing the buckle and is ideal for being worn at formal gatherings.
2. Flip Closure Buckles – This is also popularized by the name of the flip-top belt as the top of the buckle tends to flip out. Such buckles are most popular on fabric belts and have teeth on the underside of the belt. You can wear it with panache at all casual events.
3. Self Defense Buckles – This buckle has been specifically designed to hold a secret knife for those emergency situations. If you are planning a camping trip, then you need to have one of such belts in your vicinity.
4. Pin Buckle in-box style – This particular variety of belt buckle is accompanied by a pin and loop at its back. You can secure it easily onto your waist by sliding the belt through the hoop. Built-in notches at the belt strap allow the pin to hook through and snap the belt into place. Formal events are ideal for sporting this kind of belt buckle which tags along with an elegant charisma.
5. Automatic Locking Splice Buckle – This buckle design is powered by a unique locking mechanism that runs through the belt and buckles for joining the belt strap. Although these belt buckles are perfect for being worn at weddings, you can also sport it at casual functions.
6. Military Utility Buckle – This belt buckle is characterized by ‘n’ number of belt loops that is used to hang your survival gear. The snugly designed buckle is specially designed for being worn during camping and hiking trips. Its core mechanism is similar to that of an auto-lock buckle. This buckle can also be sported on casual occasions if you wish to create a style statement.
7. Automatic Latch Buckle – The bump at the edge of this belt is inserted into its other end for locking the belt automatically. The best thing about such buckles is that they keep you worry-free from having to loop them and this makes them extremely convenient to use. These belt buckles look best when teamed up with casual attire.
8. Clip-On Buckles – The first thing which comes to our minds while taking a look at these belt buckles is the good old cowboy outfit. Such is the level of novelty associated with this belt buckle which makes it suited for causal events. These belt buckles look similar to a dished plate which falls flat at its ends. You can make use of the bar for tightening the belt. Its fitting can also be adjusted through the three bars as per your preference.
9. Clip Latch Buckle – These buckles look similar to the airplane seat belts as they are secured in a similar fashion. Fabric goes into its composition in the place of leather. A protuberance attached at one end of the belt gets inserted into the other end for closing the buckle and securing the belt in place.
10. Designer Military Buckles – These belt buckles are usually characterized by a design embossed at its metal tip. However, you can also opt for a customized buckle design that can help you stand out from the ordinary. The strap is devoid of any holes and plastic strips are sewn directly to the inside region of the belt.
3. Micro Adjust Buckles
This makes use of the ratchet-style track system wherein a piece of metal pushes the track system’s teeth onto the strap. You can make minute adjustments while using this belt buckle which completely does away with belt holes.
Automatic Buckle/Auto-lock Buckles: This is accompanied by a variety of teeth that remains embroidered to the underside of the leather strap. The belt strap can be freed from a closed position with the simple press of a button. It is mostly worn on formal events and works in a manner similar to a zip tie.
4. Snap Buckles
Both the ends of this belt buckle snap together to deliver a highly casual yet functional appearance. It operates in a way similar to that of a traditional seat belt and is best suited for outdoor pursuits.
1. Snap Buckle – These highly efficient belts are compatible with most kinds of webbing and straps. They are specially designed to facilitate removal in a single-handed manner. If you are not very pleased with using flimsy buckles then you are bound to feel delighted with the smooth release mechanism of snap buckles. These look best when teamed up with casual attires.
2. Cam Buckle–These belt buckles work in a manner similar to normal seatbelts. Teeth lining insides of this buckle pulls through the excess webbing and locks it into the polyester tie-down. This helps to prevent the webbing from becoming loose.
3. Magnetic buckle – Just as the name suggests, this type of belt buckle is powered to the core by a magnetic mechanism which helps to keep both its ends secured into place.
4. Magnetic Buckle Adjustable – This variety of belt buckle is also propelled by a magnetic core. However, you can also adjust its ends for ensuring a seamless fit.
5. Military Buckle – This variety of belt buckle is characterized by a plastic strip which remains sewn to its interior. Pressing the release opens the other side of the buckle and also helps in adjusting its length as per requirement.
5. O-Ring/D-Ring Buckles
This variety of buckle belts comprises either one or two rings which remain fastened by threading. They are most popular with webbing, braided, and canvas belts. Lets now take a look at its sub-types.
1. D-Ring Webbing Buckle – This buckle comprises a loop that is used to put through the non-buckle end and bring it back. The buckle is shaped like the D alphabet and is extremely easy to use.
2. O-Ring Webbing Buckle – Here comes another great buckle style that is perfect for everyday use. It is shaped like the O alphabet and can help you showcase your casual style effortlessly.
3. Double Ring Buckle – These belt buckles comprise two loops at the belt strap’s end which helps in securing the belt around the waist. The double ring belt buckle is common with unisex belts and can be easily teamed up with casual outfits.
6. Plate Style Buckles
They are generally detachable in nature and mostly paired with snap belts. In many cases, the plates are decorated to exude your trademark style. Let’s go through its varieties in brief.
- Cowboy Belt Buckles
- Snake Designed Buckle
- Big Size Buckles
- Wrestling Buckle
- Pin Buckle in Plate style
1. Cowboy Belt Buckles – This popular buckle style comes with clasps which helps to fasten both its ends and secure them across the waist. While the buckles are crafted using shiny metal, cowhide goes into the composition of the belt strap.
2. Snake Designed Buckle – This self-explanatory buckle style was popularized by the soldiers during the first world war. The buckle resembles a snake and is mostly crafted using shiny metal.
3. Big Size Buckles – The USP of these buckles are its chunky size which helps them to create a trademark style. They look best when worn at casual events.
4. Wrestling Buckle – This uniquely designed belt buckle comes with a plate that remains fixed to the same. The buckle resembles a dish and is secured with multiple snaps present on both the sides of the belt. This helps in keeping the belt secured in its position irrespective of the activity you undertake. Wrestling buckles are manufactured using metal and are perfect for casual gatherings.
5. Pin Buckle in Plate style – This buckle style comes with a pin and loop located at its back. The pin hooks with one of the notches once the belt slides through the loop to snap the belt into place.
7. Buckle Less Styles
If you are not a big fan of buckle belts, then you can opt for a buckle less style. In such cases, you need to snap on just once following which you can completely forget that you are wearing a belt. This hassle-free option does not create a bulge and also keeps your trousers fitted perfectly.
Recommended Dress Belts For You
12 Types of Belt Strap Materials
- Cow & Calf Hide
- Full-grain Leather
- Braided Leather
- Tooled Leather
- Exotic Leather
- Leather-backed Ribbon
- Faux Leather
1. Cow & Calf Hide
One of the most common belt strap material is cow and calf hide. Calfskin is extremely soft and thus serves as the favorite for manufacturing premium grade belts for formal occasions.
2. Full-grain Leather
Full-grain leather serves as the best bet for manufacturing hardy belts which has also gained top points in the looks department. They are made from the external layers of cows hide.
3. Braided Leather
Braided leather is the ideal choice for people who wish to nail a simple look with a frame-style buckle belt. They come with a pretty affordable price tag and are well suited for casual events.
4. Tooled Leather
Tooled leather undergoes a stamping process leading to the formation of patterns on the leather and this can help you stand out in a crowd. They look great when styled with simple outfits and tend to become overpowering when worn with other textured items
Suede is a popular choice for casual belts although it is less durable when compared to its full-grain leather peers.
6. Exotic Leather
Exotic leather is the favorite of people who wish to dress like a true king. Alligator, crocodile, lizard, and ostrich leather are well-suited for casual events although it can also serve you well in formal getups especially when you opt for a belt in darker hues.
7. Leather-backed Ribbon
You can portray your bright personality with a leather-backed ribbon belt that comes in bold motifs and colors. The leather-backed ribbon belt looks best when paired with a frame buckle. You can team it up with boat, golf and sailing shoes.
Canvas is a popular pick of both Boy Scouts and Army as it oozes out a laidback yet functional style. They are mostly accompanied by flat box metal buckles containing a sliding peg. This helps to pin the strap at your desired position.
Webbing is a functional material that is ideal for your outdoor escapades. It comes in a variety of patterns and colors to suit your different choices.
A rope is a popular choice amongst the fairer sex which is also sported by men in nautical circles. They don’t have a buckle and get fastened by a knot and loop. The rope material is pretty easy to clean and this also adds up to its level of durability.
Vinyl is a bold and colorful choice for the youngsters who wish to stand out in style. However, they might not look equally appealing to old men.
12. Faux Leather
Last but not least comes faux leather which is crafted using polyurethane on fabric. This low maintenance alternative also ranks high in terms of durability.
Belt and Shoes Matching Guide for Men
Want to strike the perfect match between the color and fabric of your belt and shoes? Simply take a look at our color co-ordination guide. While black oxford shoes look premium when worn with black leather belts, a multi-color sneaker goes well with both print fabric and grey canvas belts.
Belt and Accessories Matching Guide
Earn brownie points from the fashion police by matching the shade of your belt with other accessories. Casual and jeans belts do not have any specific rules for accessories. But it always pays to match belts having metal buckles with accessories falling under the same shade card.
Recommended Casual Belts For You
Belt Size & Fitting Guide
Confused about choosing a new belt size? Let your old belt size come to your rescue! Or measure your waist size with a measuring tape. Match your belt and trouser size by choosing a belt which is 2” more than your pant size. Ideally, the belt needs to have a middle hole fitting for a seamless look.
Formal Vs Jeans Vs Casual Belt Guide
Belts can be categorized according to strap color, material, texture, thickness, width, as well as, buckle shape and type. Be it a casual or formal look, you can turn heads in both cases by following these guidelines.
Never Be Unsure About The Perfect Belt Width
Your belt width should ideally vary according to the occasion you are gracing. The less formal ones have a width ranging from 3–3.7cm, formal ones have a width ranging from 3.81-4cm and the casual ones usually sport a width of 4.45cm.
Follow Gig Line Rule every time you wear a Belt
Getting yourself the right pair of belts is no rocket science. You just need to align your purchase with your specific set of requirements and you can easily add glamour to your overall look.
Recommended Everyday Belts For You