You may think that shopping for the best belts for men isn’t nearly as exciting as throwing down on a new jacket, a fall suit, or even some aggressively tinted sunglasses. After all, those other items have main-character energy and the belt, the belt is almost always playing a supporting role in your outfit. Which is precisely why, though it may seem tedious, we would argue that your belt collection very much deserves your attention, consideration, and financial investment. If you’ve ever inadvertently ruined an outfit with the wrong belt, or seen the movie Moonlight, you know that both supporting belts and supporting actors are essential to any creative masterpiece.
Here’s how to make belt-shopping more fun. First, stop thinking about the whole thing in black and brown. Start thinking about color, texture, and leopard-print pony hair. Next, consider not only the dress codes you want to cover with your belt collection, but also the style archetypes; Western, preppy, and Moondog, for starters. Finally, start teaching yourself how to use a belt to not only keep your pants on, but to transform the essence of your outfit. Try on three belts with one white tee and jeans and observe the way the energy in the room shifts. Once you see the humble men’s belt for the style secret sauce that it truly is, the prospect of acquiring a new one won’t bore you, but thrill you. Here, to get you started on your journey toward belt enlightenment, 16 of the best belts for men out there.
The Best Every-Single-Day Brown Belt
Named after its founder, Cecilia Bringheli, and country of manufacture, CB Made in Italy is a decade-old accessories brand that makes our hands-down favorite basic genuine leather belt on the market: the aptly named semplice belt. Available in some 15 suede and leather hides and a variety of sizes, you can customize it to fit your wardrobe, your mood, your shape, your personal belt philosophy. We’re partial to the rich brown leather option, which is an appropriately casual complement to the belt’s buckle—simple, square brass—and looks just fantastic with jeans, chinos, and any manner of flowy trouser.
The Best Freak-It Belt
When you think of high-quality men’s belts, Stussy probably isn’t the first brand that comes to mind (in fact, if you grew up in the early 2000s you know that skateboarders only wear shoelaces as belts), but keep an eye on the brand’s new arrivals section and you’ll find a unexpected and wonderful belt in the mix with every new delivery. This “dress belt” is a perfect example; you can imagine this slick pony hair option just as easily coming from Tom Ford or Saint Laurent, and yet here it is, in two sizes and three colorways, yours for a mere $65. For good reason, these sorts of Stussy items usually sell out so you’ll want to jump on them the first chance you get (like right now).
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Standard Belt
If you want a black leather belt, something on the dressier side, that’ll keep your pants up without making you look too proper in the process—and of course you want that—Saint Laurent is your best option. The storied French brand, which specializes in sleek, skinny-fit everything, turns out a suite of options every season, each with their own individual Sid Vicious-esque charm. We especially like this particular belt, which is just under an inch wide (skinny but not too skinny) and features a cracked, textured finish and rounded rectangular buckle, all of which keep it from looking like a parody of a rock ‘n’ roll belt, but still undeniably cool.
The Best Casual Belt for Weekends
Brooklyn-based belt purveyor Maximum Henry isn’t here to give you a few veg tanned, brass-buckle belts and call it a day. Yes, they craft everything in a painstakingly manual way. Yes, technically speaking, you can acquire a belt from them that’s raw and ready for 24/7 selvedge denim. But you can just as easily get something in pastel pink with a dog collar (for your neck) to match. Or cherry red, teal, purple, you name it. In addition to a wide range of colors, the brand also lets you pick your width and buckle-shape poison. Our favorite combination is wide, yellow, with a shiny gold buckle. But you do you.
The Holy Cowboy Belt
Anderson’s is THE Italian belt brand; they’ve been perfecting their craft since the ’60s right in Parma. In fact, according to the brand, each belt takes over 100 steps to make and every single one of those steps happens by hand. Which is to say, you will buy an Anderson’s belt and you will keep it for years, maybe even for a lifetime. While Anderson’s specializes in classic, Italian suede and leather belts—very handsome stuff—we must say, they make an especially mean Western belt. It’s refined and not at all costume-y, so you can wear it with more than just some double denim and boots. Nothing against a full Western look, but that’s a freedom worth investing in.
The Best Woven Belt
Guanabana is a Spanish-Columbian brand known for its woven, colorful accessories and y’all, do they do a very nice belt. Maybe not the variety of belt you’ll wear to work or your wedding (although, more power to you if that’s your thing), but the kind that completes every outfit outside of formal occasions, from oversized cargo pants and an open-collar shirt to linen suit and a knit polo. When you look at the patterns on offer, you’re probably going to want buy more than one, which could be OK considering they retail for a reasonable $80 a pop.
Plus, 11 More Belts We Love