Blog Post

Western Belts – “A Guide to Proper Fit and Appearance”

Let’s get you a proper fitting western belt

Have you ever purchased a beautifully embellished western belt based on the color and material, only to find that the intended appearance of the design and embellishments look totally crooked on your body?  For the price paid for a quality western belt it is very important that you take a lttle extra time to ensure you are buying the correct size belt to achieve a proper fit for the look you desire.  A properly fitting belt will compliment your wardrobe  for years to come.

The first step in choosing your belt, of course, will be a matter of personal taste based on the color and style you are looking for.  The second step will be to determine your proper size and fit.  Most people start with a tape measure and measure their own waist size and think this is their belt size.   A good Western Store however, will first ask you your pant waist measurement and begin from there.  If you are a man your local western store will advise you to go up an average of two (2) sizes from your pant waist measurement size to determine your belt size.  There are a few side bars to this rule however.  If your pant waist size measures to an even number; you will be advised to go up two (2) sizes for your belt size. If your pant waist size measures to an odd number; you will be advised to go up one (1) to two(2) sizes for your belt size.  (Example:  36 inch pants = 38 inch belt/ 31 inch pant = 32 – 34 inch belt).  If you are a woman, the rule is similar, however, the placement and rise of your jean waistline is a critical factor in selecting a belt size.   Low-rise, mid-rise, and high waisted jeans will all require a different size belt for women.

After you have determined your approximate belt size, it is time to examine the belt you are buying closely for the pattern used in embellishment and design.  Of course, you are going to want the design or pattern to appear balanced on your body.  For example:  if there are silver conchos on the rear facing portion of the belt – they should appear centered and balanced on the back of your body.  There is a very simple solution on how to achieve this balanced look.  Most belts are made with either five (5) or seven (7) holes for fastening the buckle.  If you are able to buckle the belt using the middle hole provided the pattern or design of a quality western belt will be balanced around your body.   If you need to buckle the belt using the first hole available – that belt is too small for you.  Conversely, if you need to use the last hole available to buckle the belt – that belt is too big for you.  You want to use the center hole when buckling your belt so you have an equal number of unused holes on either side of the hole you are using to fasten your buckle.  This also provides an allowance for tightening this belt for wearing with a higher waisted jean, and loosening for a lower waisted jean.   Taking the time to try on a few different size belts until you see that the design and pattern, as well as the buckle placement fit you well will achieve the look the manufacturer intended and you desire.

Don’t forget to check whether the western belt you are purchasing will accommodate the swivel of any interchangeable buckles. Most western belts unsnap to accommodate changing buckles.  The piece of the buckle that you loop the belt through is called the “swivel”.  The swivel size on the buckle of choice should be of similar size to the belt.  If you are going home to put your prize winning buckle on your new belt – you want to be sure they fit each other.   An average size for western belts is 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches in width.  A buckle with a 2 inch swivel will not sit well on a belt 1 inch in width.  Another thing that comes up often is size of belt loops.  Most quality name brand jeanssold by western wear stores have belt loops sized to fit quality western belts.  Once you step away from a basic leather and are selecting belts with large embellishments you may need to double check that loops will be adequately sized to accommodate the belt.  If you intend to wear your belt with pants other than jeans – than belt loop size may again need to be considered. JC Western in Jupiter and West Palm Beach Florida is an excellent store to fit you for a properly fitting western belt.  Once you apply the tips above from their 50+ years of belt fitting experience – you may have to reconsider many of the belts in your closet.  Come in to one of the JC Western stores today for a professional fitting and get that properly fitting western belt!

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