Truthfully, I’m slightly stressed about how to style a belt. As a fashion news director, I’m in support of designers using belts. As someone who loves to accentuate her waist in her daily style, I understand belts. And as a sometimes wearer of ill-fitting pants, I admit that I need the belt. But whenever I go shopping or get dressed and see that chunky or chain-y accessory, it causes me a moment’s pause.
For such a small piece of fabric, the belt can be very intimidating. When done right, you look rich. When done wrong, you look pretty wrecked. A slight tuck of fabric or rise of jeans can be the difference between looking like an effortlessly cool Rihanna or a Blair Waldorf wannabe. But what is fashion for, if not to be bold and take chances — or so was the school of thought on the runways as designers showed their spin on how to style spring’s belt trend. Chanel and Miu Miu were perhaps the designers with the most belt enthusiasm this season, with one taking inspiration from the nineties and the other from the aughts. And with 2010s fashion making a resurgence on TikTok, the accessory often associated with “business casual” has been given a Gen Z makeover.
For anyone wanting to zhuzh up their style and tackle this fashion without making a faux pas, we break down how to style a belt in 2022.
The Chain Belt
To embrace the chain belt, you must first embrace the nineties as they are one and the same. Just as a statement necklace or a pair of earrings can add some much-needed oomph to an outfit, the same can be said of this waist accessory. Follow in the footsteps of this influencer and pair a chain belt (like this one from Chanel) with a boxy cropped jacket and high-waisted pants or skirt. Just add a supermodel blowout, and your Cindy Crawford (or really any of the Supers) transformation is complete.
The Preppy Belt
Whether you dreamed of attending Constance Billard à la Gossip Girl or Chilton Prep like Rory Gilmore, the key to capturing this trend is channeling your inner school girl. Referred to as “light academia” on TikTok, make like this Miu Miu outfit, worn by Chiara Ferragni, and invest in a button-up and sweater vest. Depending on your comfort level, both low and high-rise trousers are sure to earn you an A+.
The Wide Belt
Perhaps the most anxiety-inducing of all the styles, the wide belt can quickly veer into costume territory if you’re not careful. Avoid doing a Pink Ladies from Grease impression by going for a streamlined silhouette with monochromatic colours — no A-line skirts allowed. As seen on this off-duty model, look for a structured dress or blazer to give the ensemble an edge and pair it with minimal accessories. Business casual has never looked so chic.