There's a bag under my bed the sole purpose of which is to hold together many tangled, pre-loved and new, decadent and plain belts. Most I've had since childhood; elementary chain-mail belts like those worn by noughties icons Britney and Christina (see below). With each passing year, though, my collection has grown to include oversized leather beauties from Sandro and fun XXL buckles from Topshop. Women see belts as having super powers. They create an optical illusion and are pieces of sorcery that cinch in our waistlines and exaggerate our silhouettes. They are a tool to "celebrate your curves", so to speak. But in today's media-saturated, health-obsessed, BoPo-fighting world, women don't particularly care about accentuating their curves and elongating lines: we just want to look good and feel great.
Belts have evolved ten-fold since the chain-link days of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears circa 1998. As dramatic and unforgettable as this look is, I don't think belts were ever intended to cling to the nothingness of a bare stomach (does it even qualify as a belt? Where are the belt police?).
As a whole, and as resonated by journalist and HighLow presenter Dolly Alderton, "magic tricks are a wa(ist!) of time". It's time we took back the belt for what it is: an elegant, fresh and savvy accessory. Let the humble belt bring you joy again, rather than just serving as a body-cinching device. Adorn your jeans with contrasting buckles at Zara (above), streamline hemlines with PVC at The Loeil (also above), tailor your beloved boyfriend or dad blazer with vintage leather, add a flavour of the Orient to a hand-me-down kimono at Uterque, go minimal at Sandro, go OTT with shimmering rhinestones, or go slim and elegant.
Use your XL belt to your advantage and let excess material hang as seen at NY fashion week 2018
Let your belt sit gently around an oversized smock. Or go longer-length with your belt allowing it to hang like a decoration from your waist. Equally, the simplest of leather belts can take your average, everyday jeans to a new, exciting place and can be a stunning finishing touch. Much like the humble sock, a belt is no longer an after-thought. Go ahead and marvel at the curated selection of belts, handpicked just for you.