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Jeans and trousers

How to match your belt and trousers

How to match your belt and trousers

Photographed (l-r): GANT trousers (£175); Reiss smart belt (£45)H&M Edition jeans (£49.99); Barbour woven belt (£29);  H&M Edition chinos (£49.99); Oliver Sweeney casual belt (£69)


In style, it’s often the little things that count. You can nail an entire outfit, but if you get the final detail wrong, it never quite looks right. Accessories that do a job, like belts, are particularly tricky. Since most guys don’t have a different option for every outfit, they often just rotate one style through every pair of trousers. “But like your clothes, belts can either be smart or casual,” says Thread stylist Millie Rich. “Pair the wrong things and it doesn’t look good.”

Around four belts should cover any wardrobe. “You should have black and brown formal belts,” says Millie, “although you can get reversible versions, with a colour on each side. It’s also good to have a casual leather belt and a casual woven belt.” Each should be in decent nick – a battered belt with a suit looks messy – and, most importantly, they should actually fit. “You want it to buckle around the third hole so you’ve got leeway either side. Then when it’s fastened, it should extend neatly a few inches past the first belt loop. Too long or too short throws your shape out of proportion.”

Smart trousers

Belt: “Narrow and leather, with a small buckle,” says Millie. “It should be as unobtrusive as possible to avoid breaking up the lines of your suit. Around 3cm wide works.”

Stylist tip: “Always try to match your leathers. That means that if you’re wearing a black belt, your shoes, bag – and even your watch strap – should also be black. It really pulls a look together.”


Belt: “Chinos are more relaxed so look good with a more casual belt,” says Millie. “A thicker leather belt works well with trousers, whereas a woven belt is a nice pop of colour with shorts in summer.”

Stylist tip: “Don’t try to make a statement with your belt. Let your clothes do the talking. Your belt is there to be functional.”


The belt: “Like chinos, jeans can look good with a leather or woven belt,” says Millie. “But it needs to be quite chunky. Utilitarian looks – think boots and canvas jackets – are best with leather.”

Stylist tip: “If you’re wearing a belt with a colour, make sure it matches the rest of your outfit. Try echoing it in an accessory like your socks.”