Friday, July 24, 2009

The Belt Bible


EMBELLISHED (from top to bottom): studded, Burberry; lizard and semi-precious stones, Fendi; fabric and metal, Lela Rose

EXOTICS/EXOTIC-EMBOSSED: metal, YSL; crocodile, vintage Chanel; snakeskin, vintage

EXOTICS CONTINUED: snakeskin-embossed leather, vintage; crocodile, Barneys New York; stingray, Luca Luca

NOT-SO-BASIC BLACK: leather and fabric, 3.1 Philip Lim; leather, YSL; wool, Luca Luca; patent leather, Viktor & Rolf; leather, YSL
*Oops: I forgot to add this one: leather and metal, Max Azria

OTHER COLORS: linen, 3.1 Philip Lim; leather, Fendi; leather, Fendi; fabric, vintage

OTHER COLORS: leather, vintage; fabric, Tracy Reese; fabric, Viktor & Rolf; fabric, vintage
Although this may be surprising, I rarely wore belts ten years ago. For some reason, belts perplexed me until I realized that high-waisted ones suddenly improved nearly every outfit I wore. It's been true love ever since. I hope that these tips help you rethink the power of a good belt.

1. Belts cinch you in and instantly make you look thinner.
2. Embellished belts are like jewelry for your clothes and add interest to a plain outfit.
3. Belts draw attention to a woman's waist, which is usually the smallest part of a woman's body (in comparison to the shoulders and hips); they instantly create a sexy, chic hourglass figure.
4. Belts work on nearly every frame (exception: women who are apple-shaped: widest in the middle).
5. Belts create a sense of proportion. According to Tim Gunn, every woman should adhere to the rule of 3: one should break up an outfit into three parts (head to waist, waist to knee, and knee to foot), rather than into two parts.
6. Belts help to disguise problem areas. For women with short torsos, a low-slung belt creates the illusion of a longer waist; for women with long torsos, a high-waisted belt creates the illusion of a better-proportioned body.
1. First, figure out which type of belt works best for your body type. As I mentioned before, wear a high-waisted belt if your torso is long or proportionate; wear a low-slung belt if you're short-waisted. Consider whether a wide belt or a thin belt works better for you. In my opinion, larger women should avoid thin belts.
2. Don't be afraid to experiment with belt types: exotic, embellished, metal, or fabric. Studded accessories are particularly popular for fall. Although belts with more details and better materials can be expensive, consider them just as much the investment as a good bag or a pair of shoes.
3. Some clothing ideas:
A. Choose one in a different color to break up a monochromatic or patterned dress, like Anna dello Russo does here.
Photo Credit: Jak&Jil
B. Wear one over a long tunic or vest.
C. A wide belt looks great with a tucked-in top and skirt, especially a bubble or A-line one.
D. Use one to cinch in a voluminous dress or tunic, as Hanh is demonstrating here:

E. Play with textures, as Lynn (from All Things NYC) does here. I love her combination of a colored tweed shift with a playful, metallic animal belt.

F. Be creative! Lynn also found an obi belt made out of two men's silk ties.

The complete outfit:

Doesn't she look magnificent?

This man boldly chose a colored sash to decorate a simple outfit:

Photo Credit: Jak&Jil

Urban Outfitters Deena & Ozzy Heavy Metal Belt, $34: Very on-trend for an inexpensive price!

Valentino Glam Signature Belt, $595: Reminds me a little of Supergirl :)

Chloe Leather Chainlink Belt, $1,490: Pricey, but an investment piece

W. Kleinberg Wide Square Buckle Belt, $115: A colorful skin belt for a reasonable price

Valentino Iris Crystal Leaf Bow Belt, $695: Such a gorgeous, girly gem!

Oscar de la Renta Embroidered Gold Lame Belt, $590 (also in pewter): This investment piece will work as a neutral in your closet.

Etro Armadillo Belt, $625: One of a kind, this piece will be a conversation starter.
Have a wonderful weekend!


Anonymous said...

these belts are amazing! Especially the Valentino Iris Crystal! And thank you so much for the tips, I have always had a thing against belts, this really helps!

Kat said...

Wow! What a magnificent belt collection! I especially love your YSL cage belt and all your embellished belts!

Belts really do have practical and beautifying purposes. For me, a belt usually gives me a waist!

Lynn's Christopher Ross belt is a dream, too!

Enjoy your weekend!

Anonymous said...

what an impressive posting is!
I am also a belt lover and know belt power. Great collection & great tips. In love with Obi belt.

Lynn said...

hi thumbelina! thanks for the mention! i love belts too. it emphasizes a woman's figure :).

i adore all your belts, specially the YSL cage ones. if the belt is thin enough you can even use it as a bracelet! :)

Anonymous said...

Wish I have more determination to wear belts! I have a couple of chanel, ysl and fendi but they're collecting dust! I reaaally need to take them out to make good use of them!

Love your collection!

xx Adeliet

TLT said...

Gorgeous!! Love your belt collection. I can't even decide which one is my favorite. I only have about 1-2 belts but you've definitely opened my eyes to the world of belts... will keep them open for more!!

-h said...

i like belts too. they are also a relatively inexpensive way to update one's wardrobe. my lazy day outfit consists of black trench, black trousers, and a fabulous belt.

Nini's Style said...

This is a great post. Thank you so much for sharing with us on the belt 101 tips :). You have a very nice collection of belt. The YSL cage is still my favorite.

The Little Fashion Treasury said...

Holy Moly ;)
... this is such a beautiful "Belt Bible" and you care so much to show them in so many different sections!
Your lizard/ semi-precious stones Fendi belt looks stunning... and of course, your beloved, YSL cage belt ;)
Because of "Atlantis Home" I´m also addicted to vintage Christopher Ross belts!
And for upcoming winter: not sure about the huge corsetry Ann Demeulemeester "belt".

But I learned from this post:
When I have a "belt question" .... ask Thumbelina ;)

Have a wonderful relaxing sunday!

Hanh, Life-in-Travel said...

this is a great post!!! I love all reasons why we should wear a belt an how..

you have the best belt collection, serious!!! there are many belts that i love and want from yours!!

happy sunday!

jill said...

What a great, comprehensive, well thought out post. It's more than a post: it's almost the basis of a great illustrated book ('the beautiful belt').

I don't have anywhere near a nice collection of belts, but I do have a bunch and I hardly ever wear them. You're right: i really do need to re-think the Power of Belts! I love the way you used Lynn's shots, too: I've only recently discovered her blog, and it's great.

Marian said...

i adore a great belt and think every woman should have a few different ones. i love your collection,you have some yummy ones!

Brigadeiro said...

What a fabulous post & belt collection! I LOVE belts too! Especially with an interesting embellishment or in patent or bright colour, it completely changes an outfit! :)