Should you wear a belt with your Suit? When can you skip the belt?

In the 2004 movie, “Collateral”, you can see superstar Tom Cruise flaunting his suit, but without a belt:

tom_cruise

Now the question is, should you wear a belt? Is it appropriate not to wear one? If so, when is an appropriate occasion for the belt-less look?

If you’ve taken a look at any of the photoshoots that we’ve done at SuitUpp, you would see that we’ve never shown a model without a belt. Take a look at the following Calvin Klein Light Grey suit to see an example:

The reason for why we’ve never done so has primarily been due to functional reasons. A belt, of course, like suspenders, serves a purpose: it keeps your pants from dropping. When we conduct a photoshoot, we do try to find the best fit for our models – but we tag on a belt almost as a default action. Now, if you think about why belts exist, you’ll realize why almost everyone wears them. People wear belts so popularly that it seems like it is a requirement – i.e. even if your pants do fit perfectly, you’ll still put on a belt. The belt in itself can be a major part of your look and most consider it to be an “essential” part of your look.

The fact is that if you survey most people in the suit business, they’ll tell you that a belt is a must. The idea that we’d like to leave you with is that most people think this way because since childhood, they’ve grown up seeing everyone around them wearing a belt. When something becomes so commonplace, it is almost blasphemy to suggest that it is not necessary.

The reality is that if your pants are a perfect fit (made to measure – bespoke) and you have the right slim fit to go with it, then you CAN skip the belt. Avoiding the belt will give you a more seamless and continuous look. The most important factor, though, in pulling off this look is that you must be confident in what you’re wearing. If you’re afraid of drawing attention, then do not do it as you will definitely be drawing attention by choosing this style.

As a side note, many people do also suggest that the only time that you can skip the belt is if you have loopless trousers or side-straps. Take for example Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11:

brad_pitt_suit

You’ll notice that Brad’s trousers don’t have belt loops. This, however, is not a requirement for ditching the belt :) At the end of the day, one should wear what they feel will express themselves best. If you have a photo of yourself pulling off the belt-less look, please do send it to us and we’ll post it!

4 Comments

  1. 1

    vthai

    May 31, 2010

    12:06 am

    agreed, i don’t wear belt most of the time, and people keep asking me why i don’t wear one, and hey do we need one? don’t just see things as that it exist then it is a must

  2. 2

    Claes

    January 6, 2011

    1:55 am

    Maybe you always shows the models WITH belt – that does not make it correct. I can se on the photo above, that you also show the model WITH the factorymark on the sleeve. That is VERY bad style, and a little stupid to show it like that. Some viewers cold be fooled to make this BIG mistake to wear the suit like that.

    I only wear a belt if the suit has beltloops. The past long time I only wear suits tailored for me – and they fit perfect, and with sideadjusters, and i don’t need a belt.

    But – please remove the factorymark on the photos – it looks cheap and retarded with the mark on!

    Best regards

    Claes

  3. 3

    Tom

    May 22, 2011

    7:06 pm

    I’ve struggled with this question since I got a well-tailored grey Ted Baker suit not unlike the one you show Cruise wearing. Brown shoes look great but for some reason the matching brown belt just looks, I don’t know, somehow wrong with it. So I’ve abandoned the belt and just focus on rocking the look.

  4. 4

    Mikko

    November 16, 2011

    9:25 am

    The model photo with the belt on has so many mistakes that it alone speaks for ditching the belt. The factory mark, sleeves too short, baggy fit in the back (see the crease), and those ridiculous overlong and baggy trousers. Sorry – no way to suit up, unless you are a junior real estate flogger trying to close your first lease on a donut shop in a strip mall.

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