How to Dress in Vintage │4 Reasons Why Vintage Belts Make the Outfit

A row of vintage leather belts
A few of my favorites
Belts are a long-forgotten accessory.

I suppose this isn't so much for men as it is for women. Guys wear belts all the time, partly because it's utilitarian, and partly because that is their go-to accessory.

But most women tend to shift their accessory choices to jewelry or perfume, handbags, or scarves. Belts are relegated to dark corners of their closet, only coming out when the "perfect" outfit is deemed right for it.

In my humble opinion, belts are part of the outfit that many ladies could benefit from. In fact, belts may be the best item of the outfit.

As a vintage clothing seller, I've heard all of the excuses: "I just don't look good in belts," "My waist would not look good with a belt," or "I haven't worn belts in decades."

Having worn belts as an accessory statement for the last 30 years, I can tell you that none of those excuses are valid or true. I can't tell you how many compliments I get on the belts I wear. It's constant.

Everyone looks good in belts, all waists can wear them, and just because you haven't worn them in decades, doesn't mean you shouldn't wear them now.

I'm sure my love for vintage belts began in my late teens. In fact, I remember several belts I owned then that I still wish I had. A part of me wonders if I'll find them again while I'm out hunting for vintage clothing. I'm sure I will.

As a vintage clothing seller, I also sell tons of accessories. Belts are an enormous part of my regular inventory. In fact, out of 600 items in my shop, at least 100 of them are belts. That's 20% of my regular inventory taken up as belts. 

This is because I wear belts, love belts, and think everyone should have several - or more - in their closet to accentuate their look. Belts complete you; they add a pizzazz and aura to an outfit that was minimal and simple before. It's like a little bit of hurrah in an otherwise humdrum outfit.

Here's why you should add vintage belts to your wardrobe.

They're all unique: The great thing about vintage is its intrinsic ability to make everyone look unique. It's partly why I'm so drawn to it: with vintage, you can bet no one will be wearing your outfit, anywhere in the world. There may be similar looks out there, but not the same. Vintage belts have a story to tell. From riveted, to made in Mexico in the '60s, to metallic, leather, or fabric, there an a plethora of options to choose from.

They're (usually) real leather: Small rant alert: I seeth over modern versus vintage belts. You can go to Target and spend $20 on a synthetic belt- a belt simulated to look like leather but is in fact made of plastic - that will wear and wane, and crash and burn in a short time. You'll get a year out of it if you're lucky. Why waste your money? 

Spend $40 on a quality leather belt that will last 40 years. Very few manufacturers sell items made of real leather anymore, particularly big box/ chain stores. Do yourself a favor: buy vintage leather belts and have something real and lasting to show for it. Slow living and slow fashion are about quality items. Remember, less is more, but make sure that less is made of quality, real, and incredible materials.

They complete each outfit: They really do. A flash of a brass buckle, or the gleam of a nicely faded leather belt, even if the whole belt isn't seen on your look, doesn't mean it shouldn't be there. That bit of your belt, as small as it is, says "Hey, they took the time to add a belt to their outfit. Wow."  All the details in your look reveal that you care about your appearance. That's a rarity these days. Be rare, complete your outfit, and wear a belt.

They're inexpensive assets to your wardrobe: If you're looking for real leather these days - good leather - expect to pay for it. Yes, it will last a long time. That's fantastic. And even places like Amazon sell belts that are real leather. But, quality is something to possess as well. Remember, the slow fashion rule: buy less, but buy quality. If you're budget-minded, Amazon is a great option. If you want haute couture, then I'd recommend you save up for a belt like that. Or you can do one better than both of those: buy vintage. Vintage belts are a fraction of the cost, and very inexpensive. 

The best part of vintage belts is that most of them have a worn-in look that aids in your outfit. Patina is a real thing. Patina says something was loved. Patina is your friend that makes your outfit stand out. So if you can't buy new leather belts, buy vintage ones.  They're inexpensive and the quality may be better than new. More often than not, vintage leather far surpasses modern leather.

A few years ago, I owned - in my personal collection - upwards of 60 belts. 

Did I wear all of them? No. But, I definitely tried to rotate through each belt, add them to my daily look, and make them work for me. 

As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I did eventually come to terms with my inability to wear them all.

I did my best, but 60+ belts were on the high side of items for a closet, even for a belt-lover. I've sold off many of them in my store. It's one reason why I have so many belts in my shop. I sell what I love, and belts are a huge love.

I'm happy to report I've diminished my collection to 20 of my most worn and favorite belts. Twenty belts make it easy to see what I have, and wear everyone every month, and some more than once. I don't own many collections these days. I find value in the few, but quality, items I own.

But, along with jackets and shoes, belts are one accessory that I won't give up to ultra minimalism. I love how they look, they make me feel great, and I can guarantee no one will be wearing what I am wearing. That's important to me.

Vintage goes against the norm; vintage doesn't worry about what's "on trend." And vintage is special because of that.

While I can't convince everyone to wear belts, take a moment to assess your belts, or lack thereof. Could you add one or more to your closet? I bet you could. Trust me, you'll love what they do for your wardrobe.

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