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Types of Men’s Belts: Dress to Casual Options

Aside from a good pair of socks, the belt is one of the most important articles of clothing a man can own. Not only does it cinch up your pants and keep them from falling, but it also adds a touch of style to your outfit.

But when a belt doesn’t fit just right, it can cause all sorts of problems. For example, your pants might start to sag in the front, or you might get that annoying gap between your belt and your waistline. And if your belt is too tight, it can be downright uncomfortable.

There are a few different types of belts to choose from, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

This article will outline all of the different types of belts available, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Related: Best Belts for Men

Summary

Here’s an infographic that gives you a quick overview of the different types of belts available:

Types of Mens Belts

We even put together this nice table that allows you to compare and contrast the different types of belts side-by-side:

  • Belt Type: What type of belt we’re talking about
  • Occasion: Our recommendation on when this belt is best used
  • Key Features: What differs this particular belt from the others
  • Brands: These are a few noteworthy brands that men prefer.
Belt TypeOccasionKey FeaturesBrands
Braided BeltsSmart Casual to Semi-FormalIndividual Strips of Leather Woven TogetherAnderson’s, Dockers, Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, Bottega Veneta
Casual BeltsCasual to Smart CasualTypically Matte Leather, Frame BuckleHugo Boss, Hanks, Red Wing Shoes, Wrangler, Columbia Sportswear
D-Ring BeltsCasualD-Ring Buckle, Canvas Belt StrapMadewell, Maikun, Gelante, American Eagle
Dress BeltsSemi-Formal to FormalMid to High Polished Animal Hide Strap, Polishable Belt BuckleSalvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Allen Edmonds, Ralph Lauren
Military BeltsCasual, OutdoorRigid Nylon Construction. Tactical BuckleCondor, 5.11, JUKMO
Ratchet BeltsCasual to FormalAlways Perfect Fit. Streamline DesignSlideBelts, Anson, Mission Belt
Snap BeltsCasualStreamline Appearance. Long-LastingBC Belts, Gelante, NPET
Suede BeltsSmart CasualSmooth Texture, Several Colors AvailableTimberland, Allen Edmonds, Johnston & Murphy, Carhartt
Canvas BeltsCasual to Smart CasualBraided Appearance, Animal-Friendly, AffordableCole Haan, Vans, Gucci, Burberry, Dickies, Vineyard Vines

Braided Belts

Braided (Woven) Leather Belts

Nearly always made from leather, the braided belt is a classic style that can be dressed up or down. The most common type of braided belt features three leather strands, but there are also variants with two or four strands.

With a pin buckle or a simple loop, this type of belt is easy to put on and take off. And because the strands are braided together, you can fine-tune how snug the belt is around your waist.

How to Wear a Braided Belt

The braided belt is fairly versatile and can be worn with both casual to semi-formal outfits. For example, if you’re wearing jeans, chinos, or khakis, a braided belt is a great way to add a bit of visual interest. 

Pair a braided belt with slacks or chinos, a dress shirt, and a nice pair of monk strap shoes for a more formal look. This belt type can also be worn with a blazer or sports coat.

Brands

From affordable to luxury brands, there are plenty of great options for braided belts. A few noteworthy brands that men love include Anderson’s, Dockers, Perry Ellis, Tommy Hilfiger, and Bottega Veneta.

Canvas Belts

Canvas Belts

Got a summertime meeting at the boss’s house? How about a hot date? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’ll want to consider wearing a canvas belt.

Made from cotton or linen, these belts are perfect for warm weather as they are light and breathable. Additionally, these belts are typically very affordable, making them a great choice for guys on a budget.

How to Wear a Canvas Belt

Canvas belts work well with boat shoes, shorts, and a nice polo or button-down shirt. Of course, if you’re an animal-friendly guy, you could also wear a canvas belt as part of your daily outfit.

Brands

Many brands make great canvas belts. A few of our favorites include Cole Haan, Vans, Gucci, Burberry, Dickies, and Vineyard Vines.

Casual Belts

Casual Belts

Typically made from a single strip of leather (or fabric), the casual belt is a go-to choice for everyday wear. With a simple design and a straightforward buckle, this belt is easy to put on and take off.

The casual belt is a great choice for men who want a low-maintenance belt that will go with just about anything. In addition, nearly all casual belts will have a matte leather finish, which gives them a more relaxed look.

How to Wear a Casual Belt

As the name suggests, the casual belt is best suited for casual outfits. This type of belt works well with jeans, chinos, and khakis.

If you’re wearing a suit or sports coat, it’s best to go with a dressier belt. The casual belt can also be worn with a cardigan or sweater.

Brands

There are tons of brands that make great casual belts. From high-end designers to more affordable options, there’s something for everyone. A few popular brands include Hugo Boss, Hanks, Red Wing Shoes, Wrangler, and Columbia Sportswear.

D-Ring Belts

D-Ring Belts

The D-ring belt is a type of casual belt that gets its name from the “D” shaped ring that’s used to fasten the belt. This type of belt is easy to put on and take off, and it’s also very adjustable.

D-ring belts are typically made from a rigid fabric such as canvas. For the design, it can vary from a camo print to just a plain black or brown. The D-ring buckle is also usually made from metal.

How to Wear a D-Ring Belt

D-ring belts are best suited for casual outfits. This belt type works well with jeans and a t-shirt or casual button-down.

Brands

There are very few well-known brands that make D-ring belts. However, men prefer a few: Madewell, Maikun, Gelante, and American Eagle.

Dress Belts

Dress Belts

Often made from top-grain leather, although other animal hides can be found here, including alligator, the dress belt is a must-have for any well-dressed and dapper man. With a sleek design and a polished buckle, this type of belt is the epitome of class and sophistication.

Dress belts are available in a wide range of colors and widths. The most common width for a dress belt is 1.5 inches, but you can also find them 2 inches or wider. Since dress belts are thinner, and the belt strap is made from mid to polished leather, they should only be worn with dressier outfits.

How to Wear a Dress Belt

The dress belt is best suited for formal and semi-formal occasions. This belt type works well with a suit, slacks, and a dress shirt. Be sure that the belt matches your shoes when you wear a dress belt (i.e., a black belt with black shoes).

Brands

There are many high-end and luxury brands that make great dress belts. A few of our favorites include Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Allen Edmonds, and Ralph Lauren.

Military Belts

Military Belts

As the name infers, the military belt is a type of belt that members of the armed forces wear. These belts are typically made from a sturdy and durable fabric such as canvas. The belts also have a metal buckle that’s used to fasten the belt.

Military belts are available in various colors, including olive green, black, and tan. Many guys like military belts as they are more rigid for conceal carry and other such activities.

How to Wear a Military Belt

Military belts are best suited for casual and outdoor outfits. This type of belt works well with jeans and cargo pants. For the ultimate look, pair these with a nice Dr. Martens combat boots.

Brands

If you are in the market for a military belt, then check out the belts that Condor, 5.11, and JUKMO made. We think you’ll be impressed with their quality and selection.

Ratchet Belts

Ratchet Belts

A relatively new entrant to the world of belts, the ratchet belt is quickly becoming a popular choice among guys. These belts are made from various materials such as leather, nylon, and polyester. The belts also have a metal buckle used to fasten the belt.

What makes ratchet belts unique is the fact that they are adjustable. Rather than having holes like most belts, these belts have a ratcheting system that allows you to adjust the belt to your exact size.

However, one downside to these belts is that they can be a bit noisy, as we discussed in our review of SlideBelts.

How to Wear a Ratchet Belt

The material of the strap will determine how you can wear the belt. For example, a leather ratchet belt can be worn with dressier outfits, whereas a nylon strap would be better suited for casual wear. Again, use your judgment and experiment to see what looks best.

Brands

Many brands make great ratchet belts. A few of our favorites include SlideBelts, Anson, and Mission Belt.

Snap Belts

Snap Belts

A snap belt is a type of belt with a metal snap closure. These belts are typically made from leather and are a popular choice among guys who want a stylish and functional belt.

One advantage of snap belts is that they are very easy to put on and take off. These belts typically don’t wear down like a traditional belt with holes.

How to Wear a Snap Belt

These belts are strictly casual and should only be worn with jeans and casual pants.

Brands

Given the relative niche appeal of snap belts, there aren’t as many brands that make them. However, a few brands include BC Belts, Gelante, and NPET.

Suede Belts

Suede Belts

Perfect for smart-casual and casual outfits, the suede belt is a great choice for guys who want a stylish and versatile belt. Crafted from the underside of a cow, these belts are soft, comfortable, and look great with various pants.

When choosing the right suede belt, pay close attention to the color. The most popular and versatile colors include black, brown, and tan.

How to Wear a Suede Belt

The suede belt occupies a middle ground known as smart casual, not exactly casual or formal. This type of belt can be worn with chinos and dress pants. Just make sure that the color of the belt works well with the rest of your outfit.

Brands

If you are in the market for a suede belt, then check out the belts from Timberland, Allen Edmonds, Johnston & Murphy, and Carhartt.

Common Questions

How many belts should a guy own?

Ideally, every guy should have at least two belts in his wardrobe. This way, you’ll always have a suitable belt for the occasion. For example, you might want a more formal belt for work and a casual belt for weekends.

What’s the difference between a ratchet belt and a traditional belt?

A ratchet belt has a mechanism to adjust the belt to your exact size. This is in contrast to a traditional belt which has holes evenly spaced along the length of the belt.

What color belts should you have?

When choosing the right color belt, it’s important to consider the clothing you already have in your wardrobe. Black and brown are the two most popular and versatile colors. However, if you want to add a pop of color to your outfit, you might consider a belt in a brighter color such as red, blue, or green – especially for summertime outfits.

How do I store my belts?

The best way to store your belts is to hang them on a dedicated belt rack or hook. This will help to keep them from getting tangled or creased.

How often should I clean my belts?

You should wipe down your belts with a damp cloth every few weeks to remove any accumulated dirt or dust. You might also consider using a leather conditioner every few months to keep the leather from drying out for leather belts. This will allow the leather to develop a beautiful patina over time.

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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