Belt it out
We all remember that scene when Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada fame grabs a red ballerina dress off the rack and asks: “where are the belts?” Her frantic assistant scurries and pulls out two cerulean belts that look almost identical to an eye untrained to detect arcane shades of blue. That is the mistake Andy Sachs makes, snickering at the belt’s similarity, and then subsequently provoking one of the iciest, patronising and cutting rejoinders on significant screen history from her silver-haired boss. Andy was virtually annihilated for her ignorance of fashion and style, a mistake we shall avoid when it comes to belts.
Belts not only serve a functional purpose by holding up a pair of oversized pants, but are the very detail that can elevate an entire look. Everything from their variation of width, texture, length, colour, buckle, clasp to how they are worn can change the mood, silhouette, proportions and style of your outfit. So, it’s something – as Miranda has taught us – that we must give careful consideration to when selecting.
The ubiquitous belt for all seasons, for any occasion, for any outfit has to be Gucci’s GG Monogram. All the influencers and celebs own some variation of it because it gives that sense of effortless luxury. The GG Monogram is to fashion what butter is to food; it just makes everything look better. Wear it with a pair of dad jeans or impeccably tailored trousers, and immediately your look is elevated. This season Gucci offers a thin belt with shiny, mirrored, monogram ‘G’s as the clasp. Style it with a pair of wide length pants to balance the proportion. Another critical accessory is their gothic black and gold belt with an oversized lion’s head clasp, which takes notes from Versace. Felines are having a moment in fashion again, so grab this to add some ferocity to your look.
Belt bags are in full force yet again. Their utilitarian appeal matched with sumptuous materials and lux hardware makes them a coveted item. Fendi presents a vibrant red brocade version with a floral motif. The sharp colour and silky feel would complement a formal evening dress for all those fancy autumn and winter parties. For something a bit more day-to-night, Dior offers a corset-like wide saddle belt made from shiny lambskin. Here the iconic saddle bag is made in a miniature version to hold only your essentials with a dangling ‘D’ monogram. Wear it with a simple T-shirt or sleeveless top and billowy skirt for an effortless and chic appeal.
Speaking of nighttime, you cannot have glitz and glamour without a bit of glimmer, sparkle and shine. That has always been Versace’s philosophy anyway. This season we see a more youthful collection for coming-of-age women, who are ready to hit all the trendy spots in their tight minis, cocktail dresses and long blazers. Versace offers a quilted leather belt bag with a large ornamental ‘V’ monogram, which goes over a trench coat. That is preferred styling with belt bags this season. No matter how bulky your outwear or jacket, the belt bag is here to cinch your waist and give you that 80s mall-trawling teen look.
More prominent and broader is generally better when it comes to FW19 belts. Versace has a few selections finished with an eyecatching buckle adorned with crystals. The adorable bow-shaped one represents innocence and playfulness lost in adulthood. It’s also the running motif with the rest of this season’s collection of accessories. Joining Versace is Emporio Armani with its bald eagle belt also bedazzled with crystals. The American West and cowboy trend has taken hold in the past few years and is growing stronger by the day. Over at Saint Laurent, you can always see a form of old Western, Clint Eastwood influences. Most apparent is the line of silver-buckled belts with cowboy engravings. Saint Laurent is also offering wide black belts with a thin, matt gold square clasps that hold together high-waist shorts and trousers that bubble out at the thigh for a relaxed, boho-chic look mixed with 80s club vibes.
Continuing the party narrative, Anthony Vaccarello introduced a fluorescent finish at Saint Laurent’s FW show with models in feathery glowing dresses cinched by a slight glow-in-the-dark belt. Fashion is consumed by sight. So it makes sense that we have an accessory that illuminates even the darkest corners of our fun time or evening debauchery.
Lighting up the dance floor are also the glimmering, metallic belts at Michael Kors. But this party is more about a 1970s Cher disco while at Kenzo, their concept of a good time is dabbling with psychedelics. We see models wearing oversized fleece jumpers with hallucinogenic prints, cinched by a double wrapping belt, which is tied together loosely at the end.
Now that you know this season’s big belt trends, you have all the knowledge to avoid a verbal takedown. Instead, you’ll probably get a nod from some hard-to-please fashion editors.