Top: Ann Taylor LOFT
Jean shorts- KMart (Seriously!)
Ring and Necklace: Stella and Dot
Full disclosure: I stole this double-belt idea from Tiffany of A Reason to be Fabulous. She did a black and white version yesterday. I liked the idea, so I stole it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? That's what I've heard.
Anyway, the look is more than just a belt layered on another belt- it's all about twisting and buckling the two together. I love it!
As great as the twisted double belt look is, it's not the reason for posting this outfit. A while ago, Beth asked for a post on how to wear a belt- when to wear one, how to wear one, how to choose between skinny or wide, etc. It's about time I actually give her the post she asked for!
Over the decades, the purpose and function of belts has changed quite a bit. I don't know many women who wear a belt to hold their pants up anymore. These days, belts function more as an accessory to add a touch of style to an outfit. More importantly, though, they also function as a way of cinching in a garment and adding emphasis to the smallest part of your waist. I've preached over and over again about how to create an hourglass silhouette and how to create the illusion of a longer leg line. The best way to do both is to add emphasis at your waist- your natural waist.
In the outfit pictured above, the top and shorts are in high contrast to each other. Whether the shirt is tucked in or left out, the proportion of the outfit on my body would be unflattering without the belts. Look at the length of the shirt versus the length of the shorts and also how the shirt stops at the widest part of my hips. Neither of those things is good when trying to create a long leg line and an hourglass silhouette. By placing the belts (or even just one belt) at my high natural waist, I've forced the eye to be drawn upward and I've created a center for the hourglass that is far more defined.
Some other examples of outfits I've created over the last couple of years using the same concept:
I admit, there are times that I know I want to wear a belt, but figuring out whether it should be skinny or wide is a matter of trying both and seeing what I prefer with that outfit. There isn't necessarily a magic formula for figuring it out. I always try to select a belt that keeps the proportion of the outfit intact. If I'm adding a belt to a dress, I often choose a wide belt, since it breaks up the dress, into two large sections. If I'm adding a belt to a top I often choose a skinny belt for the same reason- the top is broken up into smaller sections that are more in proportion with a skinny belt. But again, there are exceptions to every rule- like the red dress above. In any case, I try to select the most flattering option. In the case of the black and white outfit above, the belt is treated as an extension of the skirt which is why a wide choice worked better. However, in the bottom picture with the purple cardigan, I used the belt to raise the waistline of the outfit to my natural waist.Without a belt at all, the eye would be drawn to where the purple cardigan meets the grey skirt. Also, a large belt would have overwhelmed the short cardigan, but a skinny belt did the trick just fine.
Admittedly, I could probably use a few more "in-between" belt widths to add variety to my options, but there is rarely a time when I can't find a belt or two that functions the way I want for any given outfit. If you have a decent variety of neutral belts in your closet- or even just one black wide belt and one black skinny belt- it's unlikely you won't have one that works whenever you want to wear one.
Beth, I hope this post was helpful to you, but please leave a comment or email me with any other belt-related questions!