There are two types of dressers in the world: those who use belts to their advantage and those who simply haven’t learned how. Should you find yourself in the latter category, consider the slideshow above as your crash course to waist-cinching, hip-slinging, and creative knotting. We’ve filled it with 10 incredible street-style looks that wouldn’t be nearly as awesome without the help of a simple leather strap, and we’ve broken each one down to a fail-proof formula you can follow at home. Click through to become a black-belter (ha!).

1. Go for a Print

How To Wear a Belt: 10 Easy Ways A Belt Can Make Your Outfit Better

Are two contrasting motifs enough? Not if you can add a third with a skinny patterned belt. The key here is choosing a belt for styling outfits that doesn’t compete with the mix-and-match you already have going on. So, if your outfit already has two prints in the same color scheme, opt for a belt in a different and complementary hue. Keep the rest of your look cohesive by adding other accessories in the same family.

2. Forget Your Footwear

how to wear a belt for ladies

Let the record show that shoes and belts need not be color-coordinated—it often feels too buttoned-up and planned. Matching your outfit’s aesthetic is far more important. Take, for instance, the look to the left: While the accessories aren’t of the same hue, both fit the jumpsuit’s sturdy, no-nonsense appeal.

3. Embrace the Grommet

how to wear a belt left or right

Grommets are back! But—sorry 2003—we aren’t wearing them with ringer tees and flared jeans anymore. To make the style feel fresh, layer it into an ensemble with lots of texture and embellishment. All those extra add-ons balance the aggressive hardware.

4. Opt for a Crop

How to wear a belt with a crop top

Even if a belt’s main purpose is to hold up your pants, covering it often creates created unwanted bulk. Aim for a shorter top when you’d rather not tuck; the abbreviated fit eliminates bunching and highlights your midsection in a flattering way.

5. Size Up

How can I make my outfits better?

Having extra inches to work with offers the opportunity to play around with different knots. A super-long skinny style looks especially cool, threaded through belt loops, and tied with the ends hanging loose.

6. Create Curves

What makes a good dress belt?

Drawing attention to the smallest part of your torso gives the illusion of an hourglass shape—or, if you’ve already got one, takes it to the same level as Christina Hendricks, Marilyn Monroe, and Jessica Rabbit. This sweet spot hits everyone is a different place, so adjust in front of a mirror to see what works.

7. Add a Scarf

What can I use for a belt?

While a giant oversized wrap may be cozy, its proportions are often overwhelming. Securing it with a long strap, though, lets you stay warm and show off your figure. This trick is excellent for transitional weather (so, now) since it lets you skip out on wearing a coat without totally freezing.

8. Make a Statement

How to wear a belt with a loose dress

Wearing an eye-catching belt is a quick and easy way to turn up the volume on your basics—or even an equally bold piece. Either way, it’s going to tie whatever you’ve got going on into a cohesive, memorable look.

9. Cinch In the Slouch

How to wear a waist belt with a dress

Have you ever had a perfectly good outfit ruined by outerwear that overwhelmed it? That could’ve been avoided by cinching everything in the middle to give the top layer shape. You can use both thin and wide belts for this tip, so pick whichever feels most comfortable.

10. Keep It Classic

Belt over shirt fashion

A long, lean silhouette is the lynchpin of the classic combination of a button-down and trousers—the belt is the finishing touch. However you decide to switch up the separates—any color or fabric goes—the final effect is unfailingly cool.

The Final Takeaway

Belts come in all shapes, sizes, materials, colors, textures, buckle styles, and more. You can choose what appeals most to you. Belt Blanks offer a relatively free canvas to help you explore customization and personalization options that make the accessory something you can truly call your own. Belts are surprisingly cool accessories that can elevate your overall sense of style…

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