When building your spring and summer wardrobes, don’t underestimate the braided belt. Though traditionally favored by preppy types, it’s one of the most versatile accessories men can wear and it never goes out of style.
“‘Classic’ is a word that is overtaking the menswear market, but it applies here,” says Roy Yun, a design director for Lands’ End. “People want pieces that look like old staples they’ve had in their closet for years. That’s what this is.”
Braided belts don’t change much from season to season, so invest in one or two and call it a day. While you might see bigger buckles and larger widths in stores this spring and summer, be wary of belt trends. Shiny buckles, colorful leathers, and extra-long belt ropes that hang low or tuck in can look over-styled. Instead, stick to a traditional size – about an inch wide – with a quietly distressed buckle.
According to Yun, Lands’ End keeps plaited belts in its rotation year after year because they’re ageless and easy to dress up or down. Bolder dressers can match a brighter, colored braid it to their socks for a “hint of style and sophistication” or wear a light rope-style belt for a nautical look. For an understated approach, stick with brown. Also, look for belts that have a little stretch in them if you plan on being active. Braids can tighten and loosen, which is great for sailors and golfers.
“Keep it simple,” says Yun. “The more distressed it looks, the better. So wear it in.” [$49; landsend.com]