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Do You Have To Wear A Belt With A Suit | Expert Opinion

by Miguel 29 Jun 2023


You know what they say, "You can take on the world in a good suit". And geez, do we agree?

But what makes a suit truly exceptional?

A perfect fit, great color selection, and matching wardrobe accessories all contribute to the most modern look.

That being said, fashion additions such as a belt require quite a bit of effort to give your suit a polished look. With all the war of words over whether belts are a sine qua non for suits or not, we are here to share our opinion on the matter.

Do You Have to Wear a Belt with a Suit?

Wearing a Belt with Suit: Is it Necessary?

More often than ever, we notice an ever-changing selection in men's fashion accessory. Especially when it comes to wearing a belt with a suit, the debate is quite intense.

To keep your trousers at waist level when men used to wear looser-fitting pants, you needed to wear a belt. Nowadays, more and more men prefer slimmer, well-fitting pants, which largely eliminates the need for a belt as a practical accessory.

So, back to the real question, is a belt still appropriate to wear with a suit?

Wearing a Belt with Suit: Is it Necessary?

The most measured response would be in the affirmative, however, with a little catch to it.

You see, if you purchase suit trousers in your proper size and with the best fit for your body, almost all fashion gurus will advise you that a belt is quite unnecessary. In fact, wearing a belt might actually have the opposite effect and change the shape of your appearance, with a visual break in coherence.

Nevertheless, our style advice says otherwise- to decide as you go, depending on whether it's for formal occasions or just a casual wear. The most popular options are a black belt, brown belt/brown leather belt, or you may try a casual belt.

Know When to Wear a Belt with Suits

Know When to Wear a Belt with Suits

Many people hold the opinion that a belt should never be worn with a suit, but when worn correctly, it can add a hint of modern vibes to a two-piece.

We've gathered a bunch of scenarios where you might want to grab a belt to pair up with your formal wear.

Pants too Loose

Pants too Loose

Dress belts are a basic requirement unless your pants are perfectly tailored at the waist.

A belt makes your suit pants stay in place if and when they become slightly baggy.

Even so, you shouldn't use a belt as a crutch for pants that are simply far too loose.  The fabric will be affected by the cinching, and it also looks sloppy and careless. The best fix is to put the pants aside so a tailor can work on them instead.

Dress Pants with Belt Loops

Dress Pants with Belt Loops

Frankly, we favor the "no belt" look for suits. Having said that, if your suit has belt loops, we'd surely suggest you wear a belt and not stick to empty belt loops.

If you wear dress pants with belt loops but no belt, it gives off the vibe that you lack fashion sense. Or that you're too lazy to put one on, or even that you forgot to include your belt as a statement piece. And trust us, this can be a major turnoff to your overall appearance.

A quick solution would be to wear a belt or simply have your belt loops stripped away if you enjoy not having to wear a belt. That way, the suit trousers looks more natural and offers a much cleaner look.

Shirt is Tucked In

Shirt is Tucked In

Dress shirts should commonly be tucked in, especially if you're wearing a suit and/or tie, as per the rule of thumb.

A belt is crucial if your slacks have belt loops and you're tucking. Otherwise, the outfit will look shabby, the belt loops will bend outward as the waistband rolls, and it will just look terrible overall. Additionally, the belt's added tension will help keep things tucked in.

When to Avoid Wearing a Belt with Suit Trousers

When to Avoid Wearing a Belt with Suit Trousers

Due to the belt's sleek line interfering with the overall vertical look you are trying to achieve, you may want to skip the dress belt.

By omitting the belt, you can also wear more daring footwear, such as sharp sneakers with a casual outfit or fancy loafers in tinted suede. It is much simpler to let your shoes speak for themselves, as there is no requirement that they match each other.

Slim-Fit Shirts

Belts have a history of ruining the tailored appearance and occasionally causing slim-fit shirts to cluster up at the back. For these reasons, whenever deciding to go with slimline shirts and a suit, we always advise choosing a no-belt look.

3 Piece Suits

3 Piece Suits

Without any hard and fast rules applied, you can always wear a belt with a 3-piece suit, that is, with a vest included.

This is one of those fashion faux pas that everyone commits, so it's simple to get away with. But if you want to adhere to the authentic style experts, they advise against doing this. Instead, their styling guidelines suggest to pick one of the two.

Leaving the belt when wearing a vest is advised as a belt will always cause your vest to protrude from the waistband of your pants, making them appear crowded and bulky.

As an alternative, we recommend suspenders with a vest, never a belt, when it comes to menswear. Similarly, if you wear braces or adjustable tabs, you can get the job done impressively as well.


Tuxedoes- Without Belt

Generally speaking, a belt must be skipped when wearing tux pants.

In fact, most tux pants look more stylish when worn with suspenders or braces or when the pants are personally tailored with side adjusters. Given that your tuxedo pants do include belt loops, we advise you to have them taken out by a tailor. Thus, creating a classic and more formal look instead.

Styling Your Belt with Suit Pants: The Right Way

Styling Your Belt with Suit Pants: The Right Way

Choose Good Quality Leather

Finding the right belt can be quite troublesome. Along with the appearance, quality and durability must be guaranteed.

Remember to ensure these factors when purchasing a leather belt:

  • Full-grain leather is incredibly robust and long-lasting, making it an ideal belt.
  • An alternative to full-grain leather belts is corrected-grain leather. This also guarantees pretty good quality and durability.
  • Split grain leather, genuine leather as well as bonded leather belts are a BIG NO!

Go for a Small Buckle

When selecting belt styles, you should keep the following things in mind in order to achieve the ideal suited-up look:

  • The belt buckle should be smaller, and the only style appropriate for use with a suit is a frame buckle.
  • Go for a thicker belt instead of skinny belts to embellish your suit. Nonetheless, your belt choice should have a width of between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 inches to fit like a glove on the belt loop.
  • Avoid any "fancy" belts, such as a braided belt with a suit, as it will only look terrible and archaic.

Use the Middle Hole

Most men make this fashion mistake- Not wear a belt in the right size. As unfortunate as it might be, picking the correct belt size can often be confusing. Here's a little guideline to help you with the process:

  • Measure your pants' size and go for one size bigger than the waist dimensions. That is, if you're a size 36, go for a 38 sized belt.
  • Ground rule suggests that the middle hole of a belt should be used to buckle up.
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