Welcome to the first installment of our new series, The Essentials. It is exactly what it sounds like, a list of the must halves for any adult male’s wardrobe. It is not meant to include every item that is useful but cover the most basic, mandatory items that you should have in your closet at all times. For any item on the list there are countless versions, many more fashion forward and stylish. The Essentials represent the most basic, classic versions that will stand the test of time and will anchor any more current looks or trends that you pursue. Over time we will cover more stylish versions of essential items and you will no doubt want to include them in your wardrobe but The Essentials will hold up no matter what your age or how trends are changing.
For our first edition of The Essentials we are covering an item that is often an afterthought, the belt. The most utilitarian of items, the belt is usually the last thing that guys worry about but if you need one and don’t have it, it’s the most important item ever. While a good fitting pair of pants should be able to stay up on its own, when it won’t nothing is more important than your belt. Now you will find some sites recommending that shorter men skip the belt because of the horizontal line that it creates. Our thought on that notion? It’s nonsense. Unless your pants are made without belt loops feel free to slide on a belt, just be sure its the right one.
Belts are usually broken down into two categories, formal and casual. Formal belts are meant to be worn with suits, business and office apparel and dressier casual outfits. The should match your shoes in color and may be on the shinier side. Buckles should be on the smaller, more understated side and in gold or even better, a silver tone. Formal belts should also be thinner and the length should allow you to go through the first belt loop after the buckle but not much farther and absolutely lay flat. Most men will be fine with one quality belt in black and one in brown if they have shoes of a similar tone.
Casual belts can be worn with jeans, slacks or even the right pair of shorts if they fit loosely. Belts can be slightly wider and while you should still have an understated buckle, you may add a small touch of individuality though we strongly recommend you begin with a basic black version and a brown version with simple buckles that will go with the majority of your casual wardrobe. Again it is best to match your shoes to your belt though you have a little more flexibility. That said, while taller men can get away making more of a statement with their belts and buckles, shorter men aren’t trying to draw viewers eyes further downward and over-emphasize elements away from their faces. If you do want to utilize a belt to express your individual style save that for later on after you have built your foundation and added basic black and brown, simple buckle formal and casual belts. For now, leave the wild colors and flashy buckles to the clowns and rodeo champs.