before i discovered style blogs, i used to think of belts as only a mechanism to keep my pants in place or a must-wear with a blouse or dress that had an accompanying belt. not so, my friends. they are powerful (beltacular, if you will) remixing tools.

when putting together an outfit, i first choose the basic pieces, then consider if a belt would look good at one of these three levels:

  • a belt at the garment line adds visual interest and provides a break between your top and bottom fabrics. it can match your shoes or compliment them- you choose!
  • a belt at the natural waist shows off the smallest part of you. it’s best to use an elastic belt at this level for two reasons. one, this part of your body generally has a lot of movement so you’ll be more comfortable, and two, it will hug your waist better than a stiffer fabric.
  • empire waistlines are timeless and classy. they’re also the best for days you aren’t feeling your thinnest. they still define your shape, but allow for more give in the stomach area. sushi envy anyone?

if i’m wearing a skirt, i consider the width of the belt.

  • my personal preference with belting skirts is to use a thin belt an inch or so below the top of the fabric band. this allows a small strip of fabric to show above the belt and “grounds” the look.
  • a medium belt can be used in the same way or to serve as a distinct line between the top and bottom pieces.
  • i almost always use thick belts to create a distinct line between my top and bottom pieces. it creates a more streamlined look since a larger belt grabs a larger amount of fabric.

belts also look great over layering pieces such as cardigans (original source via boden) and blazers (original source via levi’s).

even though i’ve highlighted pants and skirts, these general rules also apply to dresses.

finally, the way you tie your belt can create multiple options. this recent post by audrey at putting me together is so helpful. she shows you how to tuck, loop, double knot, and knot your belt (scroll to the bottom of the post). she’s brilliant, i tell you.

when it comes down to it, there are no hard and fast rules for belting- if there’s anything i hope you get out of this post, it’s to experiment with belts and try combinations you haven’t before. if all else fails, find some pictures of outfits you like and try to recreate them with items from your own closet. you’ll be belting like a fiend in no time!

ps found an adorable blog this week that does wednesday outfit link ups. i found a few new ladies to follow and lots of spring inspiration. click here to check it out for yourself!

pps is anyone a code whiz? i want to use the pretty buttons when i link up to fun new sites, but when i copy and paste the code into my draft, it always previews as a bunch of mumbo jumbo. help!

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  • laura holker March 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    yay, glad you found the pleated poppy! I wondered if you had seen her blog.

    Another one to check out is my friend Anna’s blog. She hosts a modest link-up.

    • Caitlin March 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Thanks for letting me know, Laura! I’m definitely going to check out her blog. Have a great night!

  • Tiffany March 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Style blogs are amazing to help with wardrobe blocks! Thanks for the belt styling tips!

    • Caitlin March 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Agreed! If it weren’t for style blogs, I’m not sure how I’d get dressed :) And I’m glad you liked them!

  • Audrey @ Putting Me Together March 14, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Yep! I agree about belts! Great job, Caitlin. :)

  • Kelsey Coghill March 14, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    you look fabulous! and this post about the belts is great information for someone who hasn’t discovered the other uses of belts yet.
    thanks so much for sharing!! :)

    • Caitlin March 15, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      Thank you, Kelsey! And I’m so glad you found it helpful. Have a great evening!

  • aprilgia March 14, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Cute post! You really know your belts! They look perfect in all the outfits.

    • Caitlin March 15, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Thank you- you’re too sweet!

      PS I bookmarked your site for future reference! You were an absolutely adorable pregnant woman.

  • Sherri @ Design2Shine March 15, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Great info! Love the outfit. Skirt is thrifted? Awesomeness!

    • Caitlin March 15, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Thanks, Sherri! Yes- I think I actually squealed when I found it. And then again when I saw the price tag for $1. Quite arguably the best dollar I’ve ever spent. :)

  • Aubree March 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    This is a great post. I will be linking to it tomorrow in my “Be Inspired|Get Creative series.”

    Does the code publish as the mumbo jumbo? I use blogger so I am not exactly sure how to help but when I push publish or preview it shows the button. Good luck!

    • Caitlin March 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Thanks Aubree. I’m honored!

      It does for me, so I’ve never actually published it. I think I figured out a way, though, so fingers crossed it works next time! :)

    • Caitlin March 18, 2012 at 6:59 AM

      Aubree, thanks so much for the compliment in your post a few days ago! I tried to comment there but apparently I’m a robot and can’t get the security letters typed in correctly. :/ Hope you’re having a great weekend and thanks again!

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