Keeping in shape above and below the belt

When I was in college doing my graduate studies, we had to attend classes for half a day on Saturdays. Since Saturday is the start of a weekend, most of the lecturers donned informal wear, such as jeans and a top, much to the admiration of fashionable students. Many of the lecturers were plump and out of shape and hardly had figures to die for, yet there was one lecturer who was proportionately built and wanted the students also to notice it.

So, on one Saturday, she donned white corduroy jeans and wore a thick black shiny belt to accentuate her narrow waist to make sure that everyone noticed it and they certainly did for she was the talk of the college for that day. Yes, it worked, for even now, more than 30 years later, I still have images of that perfect lecturer who had made the belt a fashionable style statement.

Indeed, the saying `Clothes maketh a man/woman’ has a great deal of truth in it and one should be concerned and cautious of one’s clothes as they are the first thing that one notices in a person, and generally first impressions are the lasting impressions. So, one should not only take care to be presentable in one’s main outfit, but also see that the accessories match, which include one’s accompanying jewellery, bag, shoes, scarves and last but certainly not least, one’s belt. This article intends to give you some points I gleaned on this all-important accessory, which is not only decorative but also functional.

True, some belts, particularly those for women are only decorative and do not serve any function. For example, there are several beautiful delicate white lacy satiny belts that adorn many a Christian bride on her white wedding gown, which is purely aesthetic and serves no function. However, in everyday life, most of the belts worn by men are very functional as the belts help in keeping the trousers, pants and jeans in place otherwise they would be slouching downwards.

Also, to digress a wee bit, in karate, the belts worn are of different colours, which serve the function of indicating to the lay person what level of taekwondo they are at. For example, a white belt means the person is a beginner, and the black belt indicates that the practitioner is at the highest level. Intermediate belt colours, like yellow, orange, purple, green, blue and brown, all have their own reasons for ascertaining the level of the taekwondo practitioner in this martial art.

Women use belts not so much for functionality but more for beauty, delicacy and a well dressed look to make the woman in question stand out in a crowd. Women tend to go for belts which are thin, delicate, and may be made up of beads, tassels, lace, embedded with stones and crystals. Women, being feminine, prefer subtler pastel hues, like white, silver, light blue, lavender belts than black and brown belts, which are a trifle masculine.

Women wear belts with pants but they are also known to wear them with dresses where the function is purely decorative. Women who love donning the little black party dress (as it is called) could do well to team it up with a silver belt or a purple dress could look mind blowing with a white shiny belt. One doesn’t need a huge wardrobe of clothes and accessories, one just needs the knack of mixing and matching different outfits with different accessories (in this case, belts) to get a different yet co-ordinated, well orchestrated look.

Women who wear belts on dresses can look truly spectacular as their waists are accentuated, giving the woman in question a curvy silhouette – something which most women unequivocally want! Skinny belts look great slung low on the hips, especially over stretchy jersey dresses or tightly wrapped around the natural waist. For a retro look, there is nothing like a ball gown with a black skinny belt worn around the waist. The corset belt, as the name suggests, helps to emphasize one’s curves, as it is ultra wide and has a tight fit which keeps the stomach in and makes one appear flat stomached.

Indeed, this brings me to the end of the article with a few important pointers on how to go about buying the perfect belt. First, the buyer must have an idea of his/her complete wardrobe, what types of pants and trousers there are and then keep in mind when buying a belt what colour, belt width, size, texture and type of buckle that one wants. A cursory look at, an online store, shows when shopping for belts, one can indeed be spoilt for choice. There is an eclectic range of belts in so many colours, sizes, models and brands that one would find it difficult to discern which one is the best `value for money’.

One should buy belts taking into consideration their warranty, longevity, appearance, beauty and price. No point in buying a flashy bold belt which makes one stand out in a crowd but which become frayed and worn out after a year or two of use. One should also take into account the occasion for which one wants the belt, like whether it is for a party, casual wear or traditional wear. If it is for a wedding, one can go ahead and splurge at this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, for indeed it is this simple accessory that can make or mar one’s overall persona and appearance and make one either the star or the scar of the function!

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