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Can Thin People Wear Wide Belts?

by Larissa
(Melbourne, Australia)

Big Belt on Slim Woman

Big Belt on Slim Woman

Hi, I have purchased your Style ePortfolio software which I love just haven’t had much time recently to review it again, but I have a query about belts? I have read that thin people should wear thin and larger people large belts but the "trends" seem to have thin people wearing big belts as well???


Any light on this subject would be appreciated??

Jane’s answer...
Hi Larissa. Thank you for purchasing the Style ePortfolio and I’m pleased to hear you’re enjoying it.

And thank you for your great question. Your Style ePortfolio gives you personalized belt recommendations based on your body scale. However, I’ll also add the following...

Belts can complete an outfit by pulling together separates or by adding a finishing touch to a dress or suit. And of course belts can also have a practical function such as keeping up your trousers, shorts or skirts!

A belt often acts as a focal point, creating the illusion of a waist, or calling attention to a small waist. Of course a belt can also bring unwanted attention to a large tummy or a thick waist and make you look heavier than you need to look. So, it’s important to get it right!

A belt can add a horizontal design element to your outfit, which makes your torso appear shorter and therefore wider. It also shortens the perceived length between your waist and your bust.

The extent to which a belt is a focal point or horizontal design element will depend on its color, texture, embellishment and width and the level of contrast these create within your outfit. The higher the contrast between the belt and your outfit the more obvious it is as a design element and focal point and conversely the lower the contrast the less obvious. Using a belt as a focal point can be good or bad depending on your shape, proportions and scale.

The most important consideration for belts and other accessories is to choose them in proportion to your body scale. If you’re...

  • Small scale choose small to medium accessories

  • Medium scale any size accessory will work for you. However, if you're short stick with small to medium accessories since large ones will emphasize your lack of height

  • Large scale choose medium to large accessories (unless you're short, in which case stick with small to medium accessories)

  • Grand scale medium-sized accessories will work best for you. Small or large accessories will emphasize your
    size


However, for belts you also need to consider whether your torso is long or short, whether you are high waisted (also called short waisted) or low waisted (also called long waisted), how big your tummy is and how thick your waist.

So, to explicitly answer your question, you should AVOID wearing wide belts if one or more of the following applies to you...

  • A big tummy

  • A short torso or a high waist

  • You are short

  • You are heavy

  • A thick waist

  • A full, low bustline

  • A large bust


If you have a long torso or a low waist and are not short you can successfully wear wide belts in proportion to your body scale.

Whether a belt works or not will also depend on how you wear it. For example, wearing an open jacket over a belted outfit may work better than just the outfit. If the outfit is loose a belt may also work better than over a more fitted outfit.

can thin people wear wide belts


A wide belt is typically going to be a focal point. It’s a statement item. It’s meant to be noticed. The trick is to find a belt that’s right for your body scale and torso length. What is wide on one person will not look so wide on another.

Those are the "rules", experiment with them and note the effect on your look. As with any style rule, you may find a way to bend a rule to make a particular look work for you anyway.

I'm still looking for my ideal wide belt. I'd like it to be a stretchy belt with leather at the front and ideally 2 buckles in a tan color that isn't too wide or too tight (I want to be able to do it up on the 2nd or 3rd notch). Much like this one that was borrowed to put this outfit together when I was made over at the AICI Australia conference, only narrower, this one was too wide to be comfortable for too long. (See how it echoes and therefore emphasizes my hair color?)


If you’d like more help with belts and accessorizing in general I can recommend the Accessory Magic ebook by Diana Pemberton-Sikes by Diana Pemberton-Sikes.

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jane liddelow

"Your style makeover may require a few tweaks or a total re-think. Using a mix of science and art I show you how to discover your style and look great every day.

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