In my old (“old”) age, I’ve stopped entertaining certain stylistic compulsions that have no reason for existing. These are things like not wearing black with blue, not wearing socks with shorts, and always cuffing your shorts or rolling up long sleeves. I realize that these are habits formed from years of thinking this one thing looks best: you often forget that you can wear clothes differently than you usually do.
I have one of these things with belts. For a long time, I could not not wear a belt. I had to obsessively match the color of my leather belt with my leather shoes and I had very specific ways of wearing belts, i.e. with certain types of shirts and with certain pants or shorts. But belts aren’t necessary. Like buttoning up your shirt all the way without a tie, not wearing a belt is an equally important visual and stylistic decision to spruce up an outfit.
But is there anything to know about not wearing a belt? While old school dudes may advocate against it, I say you should give it a try. Let this be a new way to have fun with your look—and let these pieces of advice help you go beltless.
Try For Hook And Bar Closures.
Pants with a hook and bar closure do a good job of creating a belted effect. These pants intentionally strap you in and gift you an interesting something at your waist, creating the illusion of belting without belting. They make you seem more proper than you actually are. But, a warning: you need to make sure these pants or shorts sit at the right point at your hips: if you wear hook and bar pants too low or too high, you’ll look short, making your legs look half-size or your torso look tiny.
Don’t Show A Big Button.
If your shorts or pants are closed with a big button, wear a belt or untuck. The big button looks like you’ve made another belly button for yourself. Buttons that stand out too much are distracting and most definitely make it seem like you forgot to wear a belt. You don’t want that.
Go For The Half-Tuck.
The only way to negate a big button is to go for the half tuck. Start around where the button begins and go left to right or right to left, ending at the 7 o’clock or the 5 o’clock point on your waist, respectively, therefore tucking a third of your waistline in. Another option: tuck half of the your shirt, otherwise known as the front half or the back half of your shirt.
Never Do The Crotch Tuck.
This was big for kids that I went to high school with: they did this frontal crotch tuck thing where their shirts were tucked in only where the belt buckle would go. You should not do this with or without a belt because you will always look like a sloppy prep asshole who is trying to attract attention to his pubes.
Go For The Sweater Belt.
Sure, this can be grungey—but grunge can be great: tie a sweater or shirt around your waist. This creates a belting illusion and will also keep you tied in, for those who wear looser pants.
Know When Suspenders Fit…
Suspenders are a great way to non-belt. (And, no, you should never fucking wear a fucking belt and fucking suspenders, you idiot. You look like you are strapping yourself into an invisible jet.) Yet, you need to know if your body is cool with suspenders. If you wear your clothing too tight, you’ll look ridiculous and as if everything is painted on to you. If you wear your clothing too lose, you will look like your pants are a barrel hanging around you. I don’t think suspenders are very good for anyone else than bigger dudes. Be it muscular men or big fat bears, suspenders look good. They will also turn you instantly adorable, too.
…And Know How To Wear Suspenders.
Your suspenders should always be buttoned in. The clasped suspender look is cheap and too Hot Topic, Avril Lavigne. You can always go to a tailor to ask for buttons to be added to your pants. If you want to take it a step further, ask them to take out your belt loops, too.
If You Fully Tuck, Wear A Jacket.
Don’t tuck in your shirt without a belt just to tuck it: wear a jacket or blazer with it. The effect of this dresses you up some and cuts the casual. Without it, you will also look childish in a not-good way.
If Your Fit Is Too Tight, Untuck.
If your pants are too tight and you don’t have a belt on, it will look like your dick is a giant knuckle in your crotch: untuck. People will stare and you will feel weird. If your shirt is too tight, you have on no belt, and the shirt is tucked in, you will look like you are going to burst out of your clothing: untuck. Sure, you might be into the exhibitionism but, generally, this is not a good look.
When In Doubt, Pull.
To test if you should or shouldn’t go beltless, pull out your pants. If you pull them out and there is a lot of room, you need a belt for practical reasons—and because you will be pulling up your pants all night. Not a good look. On the other hand, if you pull and there is no room and it feels like your pants will break, your pants are too tight and you will give yourself a muffin top. Seriously! You don’t want that.