Back in a big way.
A combination of the 2014 Tumblr-grunge aesthetic and the Y2K trend, belts in all shapes and forms are shaping up to be the ‘it’ accessory of the season. The Diesel belt skirt is having a major moment, along with equally cool – but less controversial – larger belt styles.
Think chunky leather belts with huge buckles, metallic versions with circular hole detailing, chains, braids and styles that layer all of the above. A highly-functional accessory, the belt design was initially intended to (obviously) keep pants up. Although still commonly styled this way through belt loops, there are now a number of different, and slightly less practical, ways to wear a belt.
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Over a dress, as a top or even slung low over the hips, the untapped potential of the accessory is being currently explored in creative ways. Belts are large and in charge from here on out, so I asked some of my favourite creatives to show me how they style theirs.
Annie Enoka, she/her, fashion designer
I love accessories, especially belts. I am always on the hunt for a unique studded belt. I have been a big fan of B.B. Simon and [the brand’s] belts for a while now. That’s where the OG rhinestone belts come from. What’s unique about these belts is that they’re made with Swarovski crystals.
I was lucky enough to purchase one of these belts in Los Angeles earlier this year. It’s a piece I’ll have forever! I feel like accessories make an outfit special. It’s either a cute bag, jewellery or a fun belt for me.
Jaz Carver, she/her, fashion design student and social media manager
Photography by Matthew Krueger
Without a doubt, big belts have made a comeback into most of us fashion lovers’ wardrobes and accessory rotations. Whether it’s wearing them as miniskirts, tops, layering options or their intended purpose, I’m excited to… evolve on the idea of how [belts] can be interpreted.
In my recent shoot with photographer Matthew Krueger, I wanted to dress this big belt as a bandeau top while keeping it sophisticated with a grey pleated midi skirt and ‘grape’ lace-up mules… as a fashion design student, I’m always looking for unique ways to challenge everyday pieces and look towards new and interesting connections that haven’t been made before.
Kitiibwa Mutebi (Baschoe), she/they, DJ, model and radio producer
I personally love a fun big belt moment, they’re a nice statement piece for when your outfit is feeling a little flat. In this photo, I’m styling this gorgeous vintage western belt with a ’70s-inspired outfit. I’ve paired the belt with dark blue, denim high-waisted flares… a vintage Rootswear t-shirt… a secondhand blazer with a scarf worn as a necktie to bring in some colour and lastly, some plain black loafers. I wanted to keep the outfit quite plain to really compliment the belt but still keep it fun.
Cheyenne Birch, she/her, model agent
First and foremost, I’m a comfy gal. I like being comfortable and feeling comfortable, which is why baggy pants and a big belt are my go-to fit… [with a] statement belt to tie it all together. I travelled to Melbourne recently and stumbled upon the most ‘chef’s kiss’ leather bedazzled western belt I’ve ever seen. Shout out to Swop in Melbourne for bringing me so much joy [in] purchasing this beauty.
It goes without saying you can style a fit with a big belt in so many different ways – through the loops, loose around the waist/hips, around the bust (if you’re feeling creative), [or] with a maxi or mini skirt. With this much versatility, you can wear a big belt however you please. Go big and stay comfy.
Ashleigh Hobbs, she/her, musician and multi-disciplinary artist
As somebody with a long torso for my body, I’ve always found thick belts [to be] a revelation. I also like to… [wear my] garments as belts. You can repurpose different items in your wardrobe and convert them into accessories, as I have done here.
I’ve used a Sorrentino Studios crop made from deadstock fabric and converted it into a belt for this outfit. I’m currently on holiday, so my outfit remains true to that. The set is from a beautiful Balinese lady that I got from her shop in Ubud, and the necklace is Loki Patera.
Cat Forsyth, she/they, stylist and writer
Photography by Maggie Zhou
I’ve never been much of a pants-wearer (more of a skirts girlie), so belts are fairly new to me. They’re an accessory I’ve just unlocked, and I can’t believe what I was missing out on. But if you think I’m using belts to simply hold my pants up, you’d be wrong. I realised how cool they could be as the last piece of an outfit puzzle — the icing on top of the cake, if you will.
My favourite addition to any outfit that needs a little spice is a couple of mismatched belts layered on top. I love using this silver ring chain to add a little glam, and here, I also added a black grommet belt. I picked up three more belts — wood, beaded and metal — at the op shop recently, and can’t wait to wear them out! ’Tis the summer of belts, as I noted on my Instagram story last weekend.
For more on styling belts, head here.