One of the base tests of fashion is wearing a belt. If you know how to choose and right belt and do it rightly then you have established yourself as someone who knows his clothes. And a mismatch however will also show that you still need to learn about dressing well.
When you come to think of it, the basics of good belts are not fundamentally hard to learn since you mostly only need more common sense than the science behind it, and familiarity of what your personal taste is.
Length is one of the things to consider when choosing a belt. Men who dress well choose a belt with a few inches of leather to the left of the buckle when it is fastened. A good rule of thumb or using your common sense, the length should be enough to tuck under the first belt loop if it has one. But nonetheless, it is better to err on the side of wearing one with a shorter slack than wrapping yourself with a long tail of leather around your hip. With casual belts it is somehow different because it allows room for flexibility. But then again it should not have a very long tail that will dangle and make you look awkward.
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You measure dress belts with a range of pant sizes. So when you go to buy one, pick up your belt that is two or three sizes larger than your pants to get a good fit. This means that if you wear a thirty four inch trouser waist, a belt labeled thirty six to thirty eight will definitely be the right one for you. But if you want a really quick way to tell if it is the right size then simply try it on or at least wrap it around your waist over your pants. Wearing a belt properly will sit a bit tightly around your waist. If you plan to buy a belt online then you should be ready with your trouser size and this guide.
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You will notice that some casual belts have a brass cap or some metal on the tip of the belt and this is just some sort of a remedial thing or to ease up the feeding of the tip to the buckle mechanism. Once these are fastened there is no spare belt beyond the buckle when it is fastened and these are worn traditionally. So since the belt itself is made of a certain fabric, you can just simply remove the buckle and trim it to the right size until it is the right length for you.
It is a code that the bigger your belt buckle the less formal it is. You can tell a dress belt by its narrow leather and a very small, flat buckle. What is common on more casual styles are large buckles with rounded shapes.