Waist Management: A Guide to the Season’s New Belts

Nothing says “nice stylistic try but no cigar” like a pair of $300 Japanese selvedge jeans falling off your ass or a pair of crisp, custom-looking khakis held up by a belt that is so battered and ill-fitting that it is obvious that you’ve been wearing it since middle school. Guys have no problem updating their shoes and neckties every couple of seasons yet belts–those underappreciated accessories that actually serve a function–often seem to be relegated to “I will wear you every day and for a lifetime” status, which is really loyal of you and all, but doesn’t do much for your overall appearance.

(And, classic as they are, belts needn’t be just either black or brown leather, by the way.)

So perhaps it’s time to update that strip above your hips the next time you go shopping.

Here are some of the latest eye-catching belt options, from a wide variety of brands, and spanning a broad range of prices. Thin woven models are currently the most popular belt styles but if they are not your speed there are plenty of others to choose from….

Askov Finlayson

This Minnesota-based specialty retailer and brand collaborated with Smathers & Branson to create a snakeskin-looking fabric belt with leather and brass buckle in four colors (black, red, green, blue) that uses the outline of Minnesota as its pattern. ($165). It also sells a multi-color woven stretch belt by Anderson’s that is made in Italy and doesn’t need holes as the buckle slips right through the fabric ($135).

Beltology

This direct-to-consumer brand creates belts only and stretch woven styles are its signature. This season’s key styles include the rayon Monkey Run, the gray wool Cookie Duster and the bright red Big Burn with a nickel buckle (all $75 each).

Billy Reid

For those who are willing to spend $495 for the ultimate luxury, the award-winning designer has created this classic black belt out of alligator skin. It’s one style we actually do recommend wearing for a lifetime.

Camp Hero

This Brooklyn-based belt company offers some fun 1970s throwback with its hand-beaded models, some of which celebrate specific places such as Maine, Rockaway or Austin. They retail for $165 each.

Filson

The heritage company has created this American made Bridle leather classic, which is certain to be timeless ($88).

Levi’s

The jeanswear brand offers a slew of belt options that are as easy to wear (and look as good) as its denim. Prices range from about $38 to $54.

Patagonia

This web Friction Belt model comes in a wide variety of colors and is as suitable to the great outdoors as it is to the inner city ($29).

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