The Five Belts Every Guy Should Own

As GQ Style Guy Glenn O’Brien notes, “a classic buckle and fine leather band in black or brown, between one inch and one and one-eighth inches in width, works with almost any belted trousers.” It’s relatively simple finding a belt that works for every occasion. Just follow the rules: the shade should match your shoes, and the thinner the band and the smaller the buckle, the more formal the belt. The real challenge (and pay off) comes with thinking of your belt collection like your tie collection—more than a utilitarian piece, a belt is both a choice and a statement. Here are five essentials to kickstart your collection.

  • The Brown Workhorse Filson

    Your belt collection needs an anchor—a waistline warrior that can bear the brunt of daily wear and jive with any outfit. A 1 ¼” bridle leather belt from Filson will last a lifetime. Pair it with everything from khakis and a cardigan to jeans and an untucked t-shirt. ($52; Filson.com)

  • The Colorful Flair Piece Brooks Brothers

    As the Wall Street Journal notes, the colorful ribbon belt has been a staple of Nantucket and New York dwellers alike since the mid-1960s, when preppy East Coasters began threading narrow colorful fabrics through their belt loops. Don’t worry about matching this model from Brooks Brothers to your shoes. The point is for it to stick out. ($48; Brooksbrothers.com)

  • The Woven Summer Staple Men In Cities

    A one-size-fits-all woven belt is both waistline-friendly and warm-weather appropriate. This two-tone model from Men In Cities encapsulates summer. You can wear it with shorts, jeans, corduroys—you name it. Perfect for weekend travel when you want to look sharp—but not fit in with the crowd. ($50; Birchbox.com)

  • The Formal Black Belt J. Crew

    No ifs ands or buts—every guy, martial arts master or not, needs a black belt. It pairs well with anything, except brown shoes. ($50; Jcrew.com)

  • The Equatorial Wildcard Wildcard

    Every guy should have at least one unexpected sleeper belt in his closet. It could be something he scored at a thrift shop, on ebay, or from a family member. Think oversized buckle in the shape of one’s home state, a slim gold-buckled alligator skin band, or something vintage with the patterned initials of a venerable house of fashion. Just make it your own.

Want more five-piece essentials lists? Find out which 5 Ties Every Guy Should Own.

Photo Credit: Filson, Brook Brothers, Men in Cities, J. Crew, Thinkstock

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