Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Debate - Round 10 Belt vs. No Belt

 “When and when is it not acceptable to wear a belt with smart trousers or suits? Also, what is the correct length for a pair of trousers? And should the belt sit on the waist or on the hips? The reason I ask is because I recently purchased a pair from Gieves & Hawkes and the length was adjusted to sit just above the heel of my shoe. They feel perfect sitting on my hips without a belt. If I must wear a belt, should the colour match my shoes?”
Chris Green

I have had a few qusetions of late on the subject of belts. Personally, I used to feel naked if I wasn’t wearing a belt so I never gave the "to wear or not to wear" debate any thought until we started to work with Richard James, it seems that a number of you are lying awake at night agonising over it. So when it comes to suits and trousers I would use the simple rule of thumb - if you don’t have belt loops, don’t wear a belt.
But just to make sure we weren't committing some serious sartorial faux pas we turned to Richard James for his opinion and luckily we are singing from the same hymn sheet. “A belt sort of cuts a man in half so we don't do belt loops." Of course, if buying made to measure, disregard the rule above. "The whole thing about having a Savile Row suit made for is that the customer gets what he wants, you know?”

If you can't live with the NO belt rule... bear in mind your local tailor (cough cough) should be able to offer you a belt-loop service (the excess fabric from your hems can be used to recreate belt loops in: ensuring there is no mis-match in fabric or colour).

If this is the case the best advice we can give is a belt looks best sitting just above your hips: just below your waist, with this slightly higher crotch you give the impression of a longer leg.(remember it's half a suit not a pair of solo trousers) As for the length of the trouser, this is a matter of taste, but the norm is exactly as Chris describes, with the back of the trouser coming down to just above the heel, giving a neat break in the front. It seems to me that Chris thinks of a belt as something that should be pulled in so tight it constricts your breathing. Relax - trousers should stay up without a belt, the latter merely making sure the trousers don't get pulled down too far during the course of the day. It might be OK to catch a flash of your Sunspel boxers when you're wearing your Hiut Denims but believe me, it isn't a good look with a suit.


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