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Q&A: When should I wear a belt (and when should I skip it)?

Q&A: When should I wear a belt (and when should I skip it)?

"Many guys reach for belts instinctively, but you'll usually look better without the bulk they add to outfits," says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. The short answer to whether you should wear one? Do if you need it to hold up your trousers (or if you want to make your outfit a bit more interesting)—but remember that it's almost always better to wear trousers that fit. 

Below, Freddie talks us through the specific scenarios when a belt can work wonders—and other times when you should go without. 

Wear a belt if …

You’re wearing all one colour

Photographed: Anderson's leather belt (£65)

Reasons why: "If you get dressed and realise you're wearing all one colour (navy's a usual culprit), a belt breaks it up and provides contrast. If you wore the clothes in the photo above without the belt, for instance, the shoes would seem a bit out of place. The belt brings the whole thing together." 

You want to make a basic outfit more interesting

Photographed: Anderson's navy-and-red belt (£65)

Reasons why: "One way to go from a regular outfit to something a bit more complex is to add a belt in a contrasting colour or texture: woven suede or colourful woven fabric belts are usually a good option. Both are easy to wear with casual, neutral-coloured clothes—and they won't rock the boat too much, either. Pretty foolproof."

Skip the belt if …

You're wearing a suit or formal separates

Reasons why: "Your smart clothes—anything from a suit to a blazer and formal trousers—should be tailored to fit, making the belt unnecessary. Unadorned, they look really classic and pared-back, whereas a belt can add a bit too much bulk to an otherwise sleek outfit." 

You’re wearing a slim shirt

Reasons why: "With a slim shirt you're going for a fitted, tailored look, and a belt would interrupt that. Going beltless also helps prevent the shirt from bunching at the back, so it's sharper this way."