Remember those chunky waist-cinching “power” belts that everyone — most notably Kim Kardashian — was wearing back in 2008 (usually with some sort of “work dress” or tragically billowy blouse)? Yeah. 2018’s statement belts are nothing like those.
Fashion has (kind of) embraced body-positivity. We’ve accepted our bodies for what they are. Belts are no longer marketed as devices to “nip in” waists to give wearers that elusive “hourglass” shape.
On top of that, tailoring is in. We wear pants that hold their own, stay up on their own and sit where they’re told, leaving belts free to just be what they are: accessories. Finishing touches that bring an ensemble to the next level. Fun, experimental, superfluous-but-welcome add-ons. The cherries on top of your outfit sundaes.
Look to the Spring 2018 runways and you’ll see what we mean. At Kenzo, a long-tailed, minimalist white belt complemented a striped, midriff-baring set. At Koché, a thick, black belt with an ornate, quasi-colonial buckle wrapped around an equally noisy color-blocked, poodle-skirted frock. At Céline, a matchy-matchy hardware-heavy number sat between a skirt adorned with classical figures and a blouse that read more Pollock than Plato. All of these get-ups would have been good on their own, but a belt made them great.
The Pre-Fall collections gave rise to more bold belts, many of them logo-engraved, because the style set loves a subtle brag. Altuzarra paired a #branded orange leather belt with ruffled, semi-sheer olive knits for cool contrast. Erdem accessorized its square-shouldered, asymmetric-hem midi dresses with pulled-high socks and brown leather obi belts (we like to think they’re named for the Jedi master who used just one such belt to carry his lightsaber). The latter gave the otherwise demure looks a cool Westworld edge. And at Missoni — makers of the unapologetic gold lettered logo belts we loved in the 90s, early aughts and today — a fuzzy red belt pepped up (and dressed down) a gray wool suit and knit chartreuse top. (Although, to be fair, it had help from a couple of low-hanging patchwork scarves).
These are but a few belt styling ideas. Other popular looks include pairing a two-for-one waist-accentuating, stuff-carrying fanny pack with a printed midi dress. Or teaming an XL sash belt with a trench coat or wrap dress. Or giving shape to knit cardigans and sweaters with a colorful, printed or textured belt. Or using a slinky chain belt to embellish slip dresses, T-shirts and just about anything it can’t catch on. And we mustn’t forget the clashy-cool studded belt/floral dress combo that Sarah Jessica Parker modeled in the first Sex and the City movie.
Suffice it to say, the styling possibilities are infinite, as is the internet’s statement belt selection. Here, we’ve narrowed it down for you.