Is there a rule to follow for wearing belts for jeans? I understand that casual belts can have bigger buckles and I am fond of a belt with a bigger buckle. Can anyone recommend any good belts for jeans? The belts I currently have are geared more for dress clothes. I was at TJ Maxx and saw some belts from LaCrosse and Ralph Polo for only $20. I was not sure if those belts were for dress pants specifically.
A plain brown/black leather belt isn't geared toward anything, in my opinion. My brown leather belt looks just as at home with jeans and a tee as it does with my school uniform. This is just my two cents, but I say stay with simple leather belts for any occasion; cloth belts make most people look like tools and I've only seen a few belts in my life that I actually thought looked better than a plain one.
Smooth and fine grained leather tends to be considered dressy. The more textured/patterned it is, the more casual it tends to appear.
Pebble grained leather is a classic and looks wonderful. Braided leather is another valid choice. "Western" belts, ranging from a simple tooled leather strap to something with the sophistication of inlaid horsehair braiding can also work.
I'm also a fan of non-leather products, like a coarse braided cotton or a woven/knotted paracord option, for very casual wear. Fashion is currently pointing to a grosgrain ribbon with a D-loop buckle, as a viable option at the moment, though this is certainly not a classic look.
And, speaking of the buckle, it's not just size, it's how interesting it is. Casual buckles can be far more interesting. Heavier gauge metals, different finishes and colors, different designs (like the double D-loops), etc are all viable options.
Just remember: if you're wearing a leather belt and leather shoes, make sure the belt (somewhat) matches the shoes. So: brown shoes-brown belt, black shoes-black belt. Then again, if you're wearing white leather trainers, don't get a white leather belt as a white leather belt is ridiculous.
Canvas belts are a good casual option, especially with shorts.
Unless you're into rodeo or skeet shooting, avoid the huge belt plate buckles.
OK, OK. Texans excepted. And the picture one isn't what I had in mind. I was visualizing the BIG belt plates my brother routinely wins at the Turkey Shoots. From personal observation, most guys just can't quite pull off wearing one of those super shiny engraved 3" x 5" or bigger belt plates.
The real ones are called trophy buckles, and are actually given as trophies in rodeo events. The bigger and shinier the buckle, the higher the ranking.
I nicknamed them "turkey platter" buckles.
Casual belts are typically wider, bigger buckle, plain, and usually have a flat or less glossy finish then their dress belt brethren. I'd suggest that you look for a belt that is "top-grain" or "full-grain" leather. Avoid belts labeled as "genuine" leather or "bonded" leather. They are the belt equivalent of particle board with veneer on top and will not last.
LL Bean has some nice looking belts that may work for you. Depending on your budget Saddleback Leather has some great belts, but they are much more expensive.
Just as you loosely match the colors, brown for brown, etc...you loosely match the metals as well.
Many casual belts will have snaps which allow you to easily change the buckle, so you can change the buckle's metal and design depending on your mood and outfit.
And, that Kenneth Cole belt is a bit dressy. It's a "dressy casual" rather than a simple casual belt. It's something I would picture with khakis, not with jeans.
Seriously, just go to your local western wear store and look at their belts. They'll run the gamut from extremely casual to dressy casual, but will all be rugged and appropriate for jeans. And, no, they won't all look like you just came in from the ranch.
As a leather worker I would advise you to avoid designer "fashion" belts which rapidly fall apart after a couple years. If you like the specs of the Saddleback leather belts but want something more budget friendly I make these: