Should my belt match my shoes or my trousers?

Ah, the age-old question of fashion - should I match my belt with my trousers or my shoes? It's a dilemma that has plagued fashion-conscious folk for decades, and the answer may surprise you.

It's important for some to put together the picture-perfect outfit. Many of us need to dress a certain way for our work, which can only be done by carefully planning our daily outfits. Whether to match your belt with your trousers or your shoes is one of the most frequently asked questions in the world of men's fashion. Some people say that matching your belt to your shoes is the only way to go. They argue that it creates a cohesive and polished look, and that it's a timeless rule of fashion. But is that really true?

Let's consider the alternatives (yes, there are in fact 3 options!).

Matching your belt to your pants may not be as popular, but it can be just as stylish - if not more so. Think about it, when you wear a belt that matches your pants, it creates a more subtle and understated look. It draws attention to your upper body and face, rather than your lower half and avoids the risk, particularly with a paler colour belt of ‘cutting yourself in half’.

Another possibility is to forget about matching your belt to either trousers or shoes and to go in another direction – using your belt as a fun way to highlight other elements of your outfit. You can instead choose a belt that complements your shirt, your watch strap, even a bracelet, scarf or tie.

The last option is to match your belt to nothing at all – especially with denim and casual shoes like trainers you can use the belt as a colour vehicle in its own right.


Matching your belt with your shoes...

Keep the colours identical when teaming your belt with your shoes as a general rule of thumb. You should choose a black belt if you're wearing black shoes (as Carl is doping below). Similarly, a brown belt goes well with a pair of brown shoes. As a result, your outfit will look harmonious and coherent because your accessories' colours will complement each other. When you want to elevate your outfit for a formal setting and wish to add a tinge of style, this rule works wonders. One note on this…Do be sure that the belt and shoe tones are a good match, they don’t need to be completely identical, but they need to be a similar tone. A different texture is absolutely fine.

The Classic - Black belt to match Black shoes

Matching your belt with your Trousers...

On the other hand, pairing your belt with your pants could create a subtle, sophisticated impression (The photo below shows Carl wearing a navy belt to go with his Navy suit). This is particularly true if your outfit is monochrome, like a suit or a set of suit trousers and a shirt. You can elongate your silhouette by creating a fluid impression by matching your belt to your pants. This look can be either casual or formal – it will work for either occasion. This is a look that is a little different and may seem more risky, but it really does pay off in the style stakes. Don’t worry if the belt/trouser match is not identical, just make sure it lives in the same colour palette.

A more contemporary view - Matching your belt with your trousers

Matching with something else...

You need to be a little more confident to try this – and it really is not for formal attire. But when you feel like branching out and doing things differently, this is a great way to go. As the colour you are matching up to already forms part of your outfit you know the tones work. The belt just notches it up a level. Think black jeans with a grey shirt and grey belt. Or the same black jeans with a purple shirt and then a purple belt. Don’t get bent out of shape trying to get a perfect colour match – in reality, you want the tones to work, being too ‘matchy matchy’ may look contrived. See how Carl has paired the denim insert in his belt with his shirt and how the Grey tone is a tonal match to his Dark grey jeans.

Matching your belt with Something else - Belt matching shirt in this case

Matching with nothing...

Again, for non-formal occasions this can be a great option. This generally works best with stronger colours where there is a point to doing this. Imagine white trainers, jeans and a blue polo shirt worn with a red or orange belt. This is a particularly good option in summer where colour comes to the fore. Equally works well for those who have the confidence to colour clash – using tones from a similar colour palette and throwing them all together…imaging a citrus mix of Green, yellow and orange for example. See the red belt contrasting sharply on the black/white outfit, or how Justin uses his belt to add to the plethora of blue tones he is wearing.


Using your belt as a contrast colour pop   Colour pop - lots of blues working together

In conclusion, of course, there are some situations where you'll want to stick to the traditional rule of matching your belt to your shoes, but I would say that the option of matching with trousers is equally attractive. If you're wearing a suit, for example, it's best to keep things classic and go with a belt that matches your shoes. The same goes for more formal occasions, like a wedding or job interview. But for everyday wear, don't be afraid to mix things up a bit. Experiment with different belt and pant combinations and see what works best for you. Who knows you may just discover a new favourite look.

In the end, the choice is yours. Whether you opt for the classic belt and shoe match, the more contemporary belt and pants match, or one of the other suggestons the most important thing is that you feel confident and comfortable in your outfit. So go ahead, break the rules a little - you might just be surprised by how great you look.

And don’t forget, at Elliot Rhodes this is what we do all day, so ask us for help and guidance – I guarantee we will find you the perfect belt!