Whether you should wear a belt with a suit has long been debated, and there are several schools of thought. Some experts argue that a well-fitting tailored suit shouldn’t require a belt, while others believe it to be a matter of personal preference and style.

In this blog, our expert tailors will weigh both sides of the argument and give our opinion on the best approach. We’ll cover:

  • When you shouldn’t wear a belt
  • The pros of wearing a belt 
  • How to wear a belt with a suit
  • The pros of not wearing a belt 
  • Key takeaways 


When you shouldn’t wear a belt

Although wearing a belt does come down to personal preference, there are some circumstances where you definitely shouldn’t wear a belt with your suit:

  • Tailored suit trousers. If you’ve invested in bespoke tailored suit trousers, they should fit your body perfectly, and there should be no need for a belt. 
  • Tuxedo trousers. If you’re wearing a dinner jacket (or tuxedo), it should be paired with matching tuxedo trousers. Traditionally, tuxedo trousers are not worn with a belt but come with side adjusters instead. Suspenders can be worn as a belt alternative. 
  • Formal dress codes. A belt is not appropriate attire if you’re attending a formal event with a white-tie or black-tie dress code. 


Pros of wearing a belt

If you’re considering wearing a belt, here are some positives to consider:

  • A simple black or brown leather belt works with most outfits. However, you should ensure that your belt choice matches your shoes. 
  • Empty belt loops might look a little odd and unfinished. This is especially noticeable if you’re wearing a tucked-in shirt. 
  • A belt is necessary if your suit trousers are a little loose. However, you should also consider whether suspenders would be a more appropriate option. 


How to wear a suit with a belt

If you’ve decided to wear a belt with your suit, follow these guidelines from our master tailors:

  • Keep it classic with a leather belt. Leather is the most appropriate material for your belt as it will complement the material of your suit trousers. As a rule of thumb, a skinny belt will look most appropriate. 
  • Choose complementary colours. To ensure your belt doesn’t add too much of a visual break to your outfit, match it to the colour of your shoes. For example, pair a black belt with black shoes and a brown belt with brown shoes. Also, try to match the colour of your belt buckle to your other fashion accessories.
  • Don’t over-tighten your belt. Your belt shouldn’t be too tight or loose as this can affect the overall look of your suit trousers. Ideally, it should be fastened around the middle hole of the belt. 


Pros of not wearing a belt

There are several benefits to not adding a belt to your suit:

  • It looks more formal. Adding a belt to your suit can make your outfit look less polished and put together. Leaving the belt at home is the best way to create a formal and elegant appearance. 
  • It puts less emphasis on your waistline, creating a sleeker and more modern look.  
  • A tightly cinched belt can bunch up the fabric around your waistband, detracting from the fit of your trousers. 


Key takeaways

Ultimately, if adding a belt to your suit brings your whole outfit together, you should go for it. 

However, at Phillip Alexander, we believe that if you’re wearing a suit to a formal event, the belt is better off left at home. Belts are inherently informal; wearing one can detract from your sense of formal style and will likely look out of place on a formal occasion. Plus, if you’re wearing a pair of our tailored suit trousers, they’ll be guaranteed to fit you perfectly, so there’s no need for a belt!


Bespoke tailored suit trousers by Phillip Alexander

Wearing a belt is a definite no if you’re attending a formal event, especially one with a white or black tie dress code. Instead, you’ll need a beautifully tailored suit jacket and a pair of perfectly fitting trousers (and braces if you choose). 

At Philip Alexander Bespoke Tailors, we are experts at dressing gentlemen for formal events. We’ve been creating bespoke suit jackets and trousers since 1876. 

With locations in Cheshire and Savile Row, our world-class tailors will be on hand to offer you styling advice and guidance to ensure you look your very best at your upcoming formal event. Whether you require evening tails, a dinner jacket, or a formal three-piece suit, we’ll be happy to help. 

Bespoke formal suits

Our formal bespoke suits are the gold standard in British tailoring. If you want to look your very best at a formal wedding, event or special occasion, a bespoke suit is exactly what you need. 

Handcrafted by our master tailors, you can be sure your unique bespoke suit will fit you perfectly and look absolutely stunning wherever you plan to wear it!

Made-to-measure formal suits

If you’re looking for a quality, well-fitting suit in a shorter time frame, our made-to-measure suits are the perfect choice. We use a mixture of handcraft and machine work to create a gorgeous tailored suit at a lower price than our bespoke service. 

Luxury tailored formal suit hire

Our luxury tailored suit hire service is ideal if you’re not ready to invest in a tailored suit of your own. We offer several fitting sessions tailored to guarantee the best possible fit for your event.

If you’d like to learn more about our bespoke tailoring process or any of our tailoring services, contact us today to request an appointment.