+ Work Wednesdays

Styling Belts for the Office, with FAQs


Left, WHBM Knot Belt ($48) // Furla Top Handle Satchel ($319) //Korkscrew Pumps ($50) // Theory Silk Blouse ($172) // Iris & Ink Lucia Skirt ($175)

Right, Iris & Ink Shirtdress ($198) // Stella & Dot Hoops ($39) // WHBM Leather Loop Belt ($48) // Liz Claiborne Peep Toe Pumps ($49)

Today, we’re talking about how to style belts.  First let’s talk about these gorgeous outfits, and then, after the jump, we’ll answer some frequently asked, belt-related questions.

For the Office.  This look is a modern take on a classic.  It’s black and ivory with a glamorous feel to it.

The blouse is from Theory, and I like the idea of a silky button-up for this.  It has just a hint of sex appeal.  This peasant top with a subtle animal print is another great option.  You could also go with an ivory shirt.

Add the ivory skirt for a sleek look.  You can also choose a simple black skirt or a color, like this green skirt from Mystic.

A chic, feminine shoe and a pop-of-color satchel complete the look.  In the fall, try black tights and a high-heeled black boot.

For Casual Friday.  This look is relaxed, but still professional.  The shirt dress is a great alternative to a sheath or shift.  And the cognac belt replaces that flimsy tie belt with something of substance.  (Always lose the flimsy cloth belt.)

Want a wider belt?  This Ralph Lauren belt is absolutely gorgeous.

These beige wedges are a great alternative to sandals.  For something more casual, try a pair of huaraches.

I love these detailed hoop earrings.  They’re fun and feminine.  If they’re a bit too much for your office, try these reversed Melissa Joy Manning hoops or these super cute Gorjana Paige earrings.

Looking for a few tips on how to buy and wear belts?  See you after the jump.

Belt FAQs.  There are some fashion questions that perplex the masses.  Why do women lie and say Manolo Blahnik heels are comfortable?  Why do grown women wear ‘Frozen’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh’ sweatshirts?  Some of these questions relate to the choosing and wearing of belts.  Let’s see if I can decode the conundrum.

Unless you’re wearing it with pants, a belt should always be worn around the natural waist.  See here, and here.  Wearing it around the thinnest part of your body makes you look taller, shapelier, and pulled together.

Never cinch up a belt worn with pants to be worn around the waist.  If you’ve worn the belt a few times, it will be grooved and won’t lay properly.

You can belt over a jacket/cardigan or under a jacket/cardigan.  Try it both ways, see which one you like best.

Is your belt not laying exactly flat?  If your waist falls in between two sizes on your belt, buy a leather hole punch and size your belt to fit.  Alterations Needed has a how-to.

Your belt no longer needs to match your shoes or bag.  This is the 21st century, we don’t play matchy-matchy with our accessories anymore.  Fly; be free!

Does the end of your belt hang down?  Tie it up.  Pinterest shows some great ways to knot it and cinch it.  You can also have a tailor or cobbler shorten it for you.

Wide or skinny is a matter of personal preference.  If you don’t have much of a waist, a skinny belt may get lost on you.  A wide belt will give you more definition.

Don’t buy belts made out of cheap material.  There is a vast difference between a $30 belt and a $10 belt.  Buy a nicer belt with structure and a good feel/look to it, and you’ll wear it more often.

Lastly, who sells the best belts: White House Black Market, BCBG, and Lord & Taylor.  Plus-size, try Eloquii.



  1. Meghan says:

    Whenever I try to wear a belt with a pencil skirt and blouse, it never stays where the two meet, no matter how thick my belt is. Any advice?

    August 5, 2015/Reply
    • Meaghan says:

      Without something keeping it in place, my belts always slide toward the narrowest part of my waist. If it’s a skinny belt, I use two large safety pins on the side seams of the skirt or dress (but fastened inside so there is just a sliver of the pin on the outside) to function as belt loops. With a skirt, that keeps it with just a bit of the skirt’s waistband showing above the belt.

      Belts with elastic in the back (like this: https://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/accessories-belts/36558773.jsp#/) typically stay put for me pretty well. But, it’s got to be at the narrowest part of my waist, or it definitely starts to move.

      August 5, 2015/Reply
      • CL says:

        I have the same problem, thanks for sharing.

        August 6, 2015/Reply
  2. Laura says:

    Belle apologies if this is a dumb question but when I’m shopping online for belts I have a hard time telling which ones are intended to be worn at the hips vs. at the waist. Often the description doesn’t make it clear. Is there any clear way to tell? I’d like more belts to wear at the waist but they always end up being way too long. Is buying hip length belts and shortening them the only option?

    August 5, 2015/Reply
    • Womentor says:

      Never, ever apologize for asking a question.

      August 6, 2015/Reply
  3. Jo says:

    Love the casual Friday outfit! it’s perfect. Shirt dresses with wedges are my go to Friday look. Cute for after work drinks which usually happen on Fridays!

    August 6, 2015/Reply