If you ask this question to a slightly older gentleman, in my experience they will always say yes. A belt is a key accessory for them when putting a tailored outfit together.
But the question posed is if you really need a belt at all. These days there is less reliance from men on wearing belts as fashion seems to dictate that it isn’t necessary. If its main job is to stop your trousers from falling down then buying shrewdly will have solved this, right?
Wrong! Yes, a belt is made in theory with the job of keeping your trousers up. But it offers much more for men when piecing together an outfit. It can enhance fit, as well as giving balance to colour choices you might have made. Using it wisely can help to break up ensembles so that one colour or a series of patterns don’t become overwhelming in the overall look.
From a styling perspective, if a gentleman is wearing a waistcoat or cardigan the bottom button is never done up. So by wearing a belt, the buckle will sit nicely in the gap of the open button and help hold and outfit together.
The argument against wearing a belt is typically that a lot of men are in-between holes and therefore the belt either is too tight or too loose. If you find a local tailors or dry cleaners then they should have the tools to punch you a new hole to solve this problem.
Despite how it might seem, I am not adverse to going without a belt. In fairness during the warmer months I actually prefer it. The key to styling during the heat is fluidity through your clothes. Removing a belt will lose an element of rigidity that would have typically lead to making you hotter. But there is an important rule that men should follow when going beltless, and you should remember:
If your formal trousers come with belt loops, then yes, you should be wearing a belt with them.
So the answer is to look for trousers without loops or to have the ones you have removed by a tailor. Below is some inspiration for men interested in trousers without loops.
If you have the correct trousers then by all means go without a belt. But if your trousers still have belt loops then either get them removed or by keeping your jacket on you can hide any exposed belt loops. Style has evolved so that men don’t need to have the formality of a belt, tie and jacket all being worn at the same time. We are more acceptable of exceptions to the fashion rules than previous generations were and that should be embraced not scorned. Just be sure to not overstep the mark too much with your sartorial flair.
Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.