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Styling with Women's Belts

Women's belts are versatile fashion accessories. They can be used to accent feminine curves, introduce a pop of colour, add a touch of glamour, or unite separates to create a polished look. Matching a body type with the most flattering style of belt is the key to making an outfit work.

Narrow, skinny belts are a good choice for women who are petite or short-waisted. Wide heavy belts swallow up women with small frames and further shorten the midriff area of short-waisted women. Belts that ride low on the hips, especially when worn with monotone outfits, have an elongating effect that creates a flattering silhouette. Tall women have the height to carry wide leather belts, corset-style belts and obi wrap belts.

Women with hourglass figures and women with very little shape benefit from waist-cinching belts that enhance existing curves or create the appearance of curves where they don't exist. A black pencil skirt worn with a cream-coloured silk blouse gets a style boost and a pop of colour when worn with a wide red belt at the waist.

Styles and Materials of Women's Belts

Women's belts come in wide and skinny widths, they buckle up, clasp, or wrap around and tie, and they are made of leather, fabric, metal, and a variety of synthetic materials. Sashes and wide obi belts made of fabric, suede, or leather are worn wrapped and tied. Skinny leather double belts wrap around and buckle. Waist belts, including the figure-shaping corset style, buckle up. Chain belts and stretch belts typically do up with clasps or hooks.

Leather is a natural choice of materials for womens belts because of its organic beauty and long-lasting durability. Leather can be tooled, plaited, stamped, or cut-out to create different looks and textures. Lots of women's belts are made from leather, and leather comes in numerous varieties. Burberry's belt collection includes designs made of crocodile, python and bridle leather. Belts made from Prada's signature Saffiano leather are durable and scratch-resistant, and they feature a beautiful cross-hatch texture.

Tooled leather belts with hammered silver buckles add a Western vibe to outfits. Soft, wide suede belts with tassel trims are perfect accessories for a Boho style. Or for a simple girl-next-door look, a medium-width plain brown belt worn with a pair of jeans does the trick. A brightly coloured fabric sash laced through belt loops and tied with loose ends creates a free-spirit look. Low-slung hip belts offer a modern take on a 60s style, and chain belts borrow their style from the disco days of the 70s.

Women's Belts for Special Occasions

The decorative value of women's belts is very clear to see when accessorising bridal and evening wear. A little black dress that is fabulous as a daywear piece can be glamourous as nightwear when accented with a glittering belt. Belts worn with full-length gowns enhance femininity and define the waistline. Fancy belts can be wide or narrow, they can be lightly or richly embellished with pearls and crystals, or they can be unadorned but made of naturally lustrous fabrics.

If a bride-to-be finds that her perfect minimalist gown is somehow too simple, the addition of a jewelled belt can transform the dress without overwhelming the bride's sensibilities. Just a little sparkle at the waistline draws the eye, enhances curves, and adds brightness to the gown.

If the bride wants a traditional white gown but craves some colour in her look, a satin sash can be used to brighten the gown and connect the bride to the colors of her bridal party. A simple sash tied at the back with a bow and long tails can beautifully accent a wedding dress. Or for a more subtle look, a pastel coloured sash can be wrapped and tied at the front in an offset bow without tails. A back-tied satin sash with a small jewelled feature at the center front adds a luxurious, romantic look.

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