The Best Belt for Your Body Type

There are two types of people in this world: You have carefree women who throw on any belt and run out the door. And then there’s the rest of us, frowning in front of our full-length mirrors and wondering which belt (if any) actually looks good on us. Lucky for you, we did the legwork to tell you what belt to wear and how. Happy buckling.

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1. If You’re Petite: Thin And Monochrome

Breaking news: A belt can elongate your vertically challenged figure instead of chopping it in two. The secret? Make sure it’s skinny and it matches the color of your dress, jumpsuit or high-waisted pants. One more note: Belt it at your natural waist to make the best use of its slimming properties. Hello, streamlined silhouette.

Get the look: Madewell belt ($45); Anthropologie belt ($58); Isabel Marant belt ($160)

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2. If You’re Tall: Wide

Belts with more surface area look most proportional on your stunning frame. And while this rule applies to cinchers worn both at the waist and on the hips, you should opt for a slightly thinner belt (think an inch and a half to two inches) if you plan to wear it low-slung.

Get the look: Topshop belt ($38); Black & Brown belt ($110); Brave Leather belt ($128)

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3. If You’re An Hourglass: High And Wide

When balancing a curvy figure, pay close attention to the placement of your medium to wide belt. The most flattering positioning will be slightly north of your natural waist, which will emphasize your curves without digging into your hips, whether you rock it with a suit or a flirty dress. The one look to avoid? Hip belts, which will make you look unfortunately bottom-heavy.

Get the look: ASOS belt ($24); Halogen belt ($59); Lizzie Fortunato belt ($240)

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4. If You’re Boyish/straight: Super Slim

No curves? No problem, because a belt can help create the illusion of hips for days. Seek out the narrowest style of them all (a leather rope or chain belt will also do) and buckle it over a billowy blouse or drapey dress. Place the belt at your belly button and blouse the fabric up and over to create even more volume. Voilà, man-made curves (no plastic surgery necessary).

Get the look: Lands’ End belt ($35; $25); Michael Kors belt ($58); Off-White belt ($295)

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5. If You’re Curvy/plus: Loose Fit And Contrasting Colors

If you thought your curves relegated you to stretchy belts that hide your belly, you thought wrong. A slim belt can actually do wonders to highlight your figure, especially if you opt for a bold pairing like this gal here. Just make sure your belt isn’t too tight; it should rest lightly on your waist for the most comfortable fit.

Get the look: ASOS belt ($16 for set of three); Frye belt ($68; $31); Eloquii belt ($45)

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6. If You’ve Got A Short Waist: V Shape Or Chain

In order to create the illusion of a longer upper body, you’ll have to draw the eye downward. So sling a belt around your hips and opt for a style that creates a V shape (or naturally drapes down, like the double chain above). This trick will make your body look like a svelte, long line, especially when you’re wearing a midi-length frock.

Get the look: Gap belt ($40; $20) B-Low The Belt belt ($158); Iro belt ($192)

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7. If You’ve Got A Long Waist: Big Buckle

Your frame can handle a loud, funky belt buckle, so embrace the opportunity. Whether you’re wearing a blazer and a skirt or a simple dress, just remember to place your belt higher up on your body so it doesn’t add any additional (unwanted) length.

Get the look: Topshop belt ($35); B-Low The Belt belt ($185); Gabriela Hearst belt ($420)

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Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.