Belt loops are an ambiguous topic among suit aficionados. Many argue that a well-made suit, especially made-to-measure and bespoke suits, should not feature belt loops. Why? Because if your trousers fit properly, there is simply no need for a belt. Plus, braces are the much more traditional way of keeping suit trousers in place.
Looking at the history of belt loops on suits, King Edward VIII is an important figure. He regularly wore belted suit trousers and was not always praised for doing so. As mentioned above, a belt was (and still is to some) an indication that a suit is not tailored to the wearer. Nowadays, many tailors offer belted trousers because customers are so used to wearing belts and simply like the look.
Although belts are not needed to keep MTM or bespoke trousers in place, they can work as great accessories. This is probably the case for Edward VIII, because – unsurprisingly – all his suits were tailored. In 1998, his wardrobe came under the hammer at Sotheby’s: 15 evening suits, 55 lounge suits and three formal suits with two trousers for each. Interestingly, the trousers were not made by the same tailor. Edward VIII commissioned Hardy Amies to make a second pair of trousers (with belt loops) for most of his suits as he disliked the trousers Frederick Scholte – his original tailor – made for him.
If, like the royal style icon, you regard the belt as a decorative accessory, you should ask yourself: What accessories do I identify with and what do I feel comfortable with? In a business environment, we think you should avoid emblem belts, belts with wide buckles, belts wider than 3 cm and belts made of extremely thick leather. Instead, go for an understated look. I prefer slimmer belts with narrow, rounded, gold-coloured brass buckles – very classic and beautiful.
When it comes to less formal trousers, such as chinos or jeans, a belt is highly recommended – regardless of whether they are tailored or not. In fact, they can look a little lost to our imprinted eye without a belt. Chino trousers are a military garment and jeans are the epitome of workwear. Traditionally, they are not tailored and worn with a belt for practical reasons. Over the decades, belts have become so ingrained in our visual expectation of less formal looks that it would be unusual to see one without the other – even if the jeans or chinos are tailored and the belt’s practical raison d’être is neglectable. With jeans and chinos, sportier and more robust belts are great options.
For those who prefer to wear a belt, we are more than happy to equip lounge suit trousers, odd trousers, jeans and chinos with belt loops. In fact, multiple looks of our upcoming summer collection come with belt loops. YS/MM