My daily 30-minute commute out of the city into work is usually pretty standard: light to heavy traffic depending on the day, music blaring in my car to drown out the humming of other vehicles buzzing past me (and, to a lesser extent, for me to sing along to), and the ever-present feeling of road rage… road rage for the driver who insists on being 5-under the speed limit in the left lane (usually with a VA license plate, just sayin’…), road rage for the person driving alongside me who can’t seem to decide whether or not he will speed up a little to get past me OR slow down a little so I can pass him, or road rage for the woman who slows down on the left lane until she can cut through a solid line of traffic in the right lane. One thing is for sure, by the time I reach the office, my blood pressure is usually sky high.
But on rare occasions, it’s the “road rage” that sometimes leads me to bits of inspiration. It’s an odd correlation, I know. But there are definitely times when I somehow get distracted while I’m cursing at the driver in front of me simply because of the color of the offending car, or a number on a license plate, or even the stupid bumper stickers that tackily dot the back of cars. The other day, as I was – yet again – cursing the slow driver in front of me for not getting into the right lane, I noticed something hanging from her rear-view mirror. To this moment, I still am not sure what it actually was. It wasn’t anything standard like a rosary or some other decorative string of danglingness. But whatever it was, it had my attention, and somehow it calmed me down as I paced myself behind this car attempting to figure out what it exactly was.
I eventually passed the car and made it into the office. But the image kind of stuck with me for a while. It had me thinking about how belts, while a functional accessory, are also a style element that can make even the most basic-looking outfit pop. And with spring looks finally shedding all signs of shearling boots and chunky sweaters, it’s time to focus attention on the more subtle things.
Unlike it is for women, the list of accessories for men is pretty slim. You’re really only talking about a timepiece (if that’s your kind of thing), maybe a ring or bracelet (or two), and a belt. And when it comes to belts, you just can’t wear any type of belt with any type of outfit. For instance, a formal ensemble wouldn’t necessarily work well if the belt was chunky or worn, but that kind of belt might look great with a pair of rugged jeans and cowboy boots. Or you wouldn’t necessarily wear a thin leather classic black belt with a pair of colored trousers, which may look better with a more casual canvas belt. Whatever the case may be, choosing the right belt for the right outfit is a task nonetheless, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Belts, after all, have an ability to make or break an outfit.
Here are some options that have caught my eye this Spring:
CLASSIC & FORMAL
A classic belt is primarily not too thick; the slimness of its size offers a sleek look that is worn best with business and formal wear. This season, I’ve got my eye on Bottega Veneta’s leather woven-plaque belt. With the house’s signature leather weave featured only on the buckle, the streamlined silhouette of this belt works perfectly with a crisp suit, or can even add a little formality to a business casual outfit. If Bottega’s price point is out of the question, then Club Monaco’s Laird sueded leather belt is a perfect substitute. Shown here in burgundy, this can be nicely paired with a brown or navy suit, and can also be easily carried through a business casual look.
Leather Woven-Plaque Belt by Bottega Venetta, $440, neimanmarcus.com
Laird Sueded Leather Belt by Club Monaco, $69.50, clubmonaco.com
When you’re beachside, or running around town hopping from brunch to a casual meet-up of beers and brats, this spring you’ll most likely be doing so in a pair of cotton trousers or shorts. For the season, Tod’s canvas and leather belt in blue is easy yet stylish, and can go with a series of looks. For an option that’s more friendly to any wallet, J. Crew’s double-striped nylon belt makes for an easy option as well. Both are hip, casual, and fun.
Canvas and Leather Belt by Tod’s, $245, tods.com
Double-striped Nylon Belt by J. Crew, $39.50, jcrew.com
Very “in” this spring is the chunky, or “manly” belt. A lot thicker than its dressier counterparts, this option works perfectly with a pair of jeans or casual pants. But depending on how you work it out, this type of belt can work well for a day of activity, yet still be perfect for a night out on the town. The Archer leather embossed star belt from Jimmy Choo is not your average belt. It’s a fun piece accented with embossed stars along its length, and perfect with a pair of jeans and rugged boots. For a less-pricey option, Zara’s crackle-effect belt is extremely interesting with its texture adding a lot of character to any look. These options are definitely for those willing to step out of the box.
Archer Leather Embossed Star Belt by Jimmy Choo, $595 (Now $357), saksfifthavenue.com
Crackle-effect Belt by Zara, $49, zara.com