It seems that wearing a belt or not has become one of the cardinal questions of dressing up a man - and the answer is not quite simple, or unequivocal.
So, the answer to the question “do I need a belt with my trousers, at all?” would be an exasperating “it depends”.
- on your personal preference.
Most of us have accepted the belt as an unimpeachable accessory. You don’t pay much attention to it, but cannot think of wearing a dress without a belt. On the other hand, a minority among us positively loathe the belt, shunning it consciously at every possible opportunity.
- the kind of trousers you are wearing.
If you are wearing a trouser without belt loops, do not wear a belt. In case this kind of trouser needs holding up, go for a suitable pair of suspenders, or get the adjusting tabs made in the band. And please, do not wear both a belt and a suspender!
If you are wearing a jeans, you should wear an appropriate belt.
If you are wearing a tuxedo, do NOT wear a belt.
Bespoke suits are made to measure, meaning that the trousers should not ideally need a belt. Indeed, for bespoke suits, always go for the beltless look.
- you overall ensemble.
If you are wearing a suit, you can safely go the beltless way. Indeed, ditching the belt can make for a slimmer, smoother profile if your suit is close-fitting.
If you are dressed casually, maybe in a pair of chinos topped with a t-shirt and squared off with a pair of chukka boots, you can ditch the belt.
If you are wearing a pair of shorts, you can do it without a belt.
But, if you are dressed in shirtsleeves and tie for business, you may want to wear a belt.
Wearing a Belt: Arguments Against
One more accessory to worry about when dressing up
One more stuff to gather back at airport security
Not really needed if your trouser really fit you well - as in bespoke.
Wearing a Belt: Arguments For
Wearing a belt provides a break in the overall silhouette, and creates a visual balance.
When matched well with your other accessories - shoes, watches, tie-bars - it adds aesthetic value, especially when you are not wearing a jacket.
It serves a very practical purpose if your trouser is anything less than a perfect fit.