Gillian’s non-fugly beauty challenge: belt me up, baby!

140218 carolyn belt 2Dear Champagne Gillian, I have no effing idea how to wear a belt, unless it is with pants with pre-existing belt loops, and the belt actually came with the pants. How do I decide what belt to wear with which dress/skirt/pants? And where the heck on my body do I wear it? Does this look right?
Please help!

Ooooh, great question, Champagne Carolyn! I bloody love belts. You can create a really refined look with a good belt.

Here are my do’s and don’ts of belt wearing:

  • Do coordinate the belt buckle to your jewellery, i.e. gold with gold
  • Do match your tan belt to your tan shoes
  • Don’t team a tan belt and black shoes
  • Do make sure your belt suits your shape
  • Do look at your belted visage from behind, things can go bad back there if you’re not careful!

I actually look fairly unsightly in most belts, but a well-chosen belt on the right outfit can do wonders for my curvy frame.

Today I’m showing you how to wear four different types of belt: skinny, hip, tan leather and scarf/rope. Hopefully there should be something for everyone here!

Right, so our model Carolyn is one of those annoying moles that is perfectly slender and a little curvy in all the right places. She can wear basically any kind of belt in pretty much any kind of way.


The skinny belt is probably the most versatile. It suits all shapes and sizes and almost any outfit. Curvy girls race out now and get yourself some skinny belts, they are your friend!!! Looks terrific teamed with something vintage, classic or fitted. Perfect with a pencil skirt and mohair cardi for the sexy Mad Men look. The wonderful thing about a skinny belt is you can dress it up or down and if you buy them in a range of colours you’ll be accessorized to the nines. Go for a black patent leather, a metallic and a seasonal colour like fluoro pink or leopard print and you’ve pretty much got things covered.

1. Team with Sacha Drake pencil skirt or a work dress for a tailored look. 2. Dress up a cute vintage frock from ModCloth 3. ‘Get Smart’ on a night out with ASOS sequin top and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.


I adore a belt on the hip but it’s definitely not for everyone. Best for slim types or hourglass shapes. I’d probably avoid if you are straight up and down or thick-waisted as it won’t do you any favours and will make you look a bit top heavy. It’s actually a belt that can look great on a pear shape to emphasise your small waist and show off your booty (in a good way!).

I prefer it worn boho style with flowy maxi dresses, kaftans or skirts, and draped tops – basically, make sure your outfit is long and loose fitting. Throw on your vintage-look black felt hat and you’re good to go for a trip to the markets or a few cocktail sundowners in the park.

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                                                                         Fabulous with this simple Seduce maxi dress


God, I love this belt! Another versatile one, super classic. Buy a really good quality one and wear it forever. You’ll be at home in the Hamptons or with other shiny-haired-Chelsea girls. Very cool with jeans and blouses. Wear it with your khaki shorts and a white tank top or a flanno for winter. Or team up with a loose summery dress and a pair of matching tan vintage cowboy or ankle boots.

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1. WOW, I love demin on demin! What’s your verdict? 2. Inspirational denim on demin, courtesy of The Londoner  3. Cute with a silk blouse, this one is from Target


If you can master this you’ll add a whole new dimension to your wardrobe. It will now be like a tardis, with a million new options available! Probably best to do lots of trial and error and show some friends before you go out. It can really cut you half and look pretty shit. Best on those slimmer or hourglass girls. I would say stick with a frock if you’re going to try a scarf belt and wear it on the waist. You could look a bit pirately otherwise. Fine line there.

The scarf/rope belt can be worn a bit like a cummerbund or tied loosely on the waist. Try it on a fitted tube dress, a skater dress, or a party frock with a big skirt. Let the ends hang down or tie them in a bow. If you’re daring, try some pattern clashing; i.e. a paisley scarf with a floral dress. Just pick a colour in the dress and then find a scarf with the matching colour in it. Easy!

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                      1. Cute as cute can be with this ballerina party dress 2. Give a Sacha Drake ‘little black dress’ a new look


The belt start-up guide

Ready to dive into the world of belts? Here’s what you need to establish the belt as your new fave go-to accessory for stylin’ up your wardrobe:

  • A couple of skinny belts: black and another colour. Try ASOS or Witchery.
  • A tan leather belt – perhaps vintage – braided or just plain. Etsy and Anthropologie have some great options.
  • A couple of cheeky scarves from a charity shop or market, or something new like this one from Modcloth.

Are you a belle of the belts already? What are your tips for carrying them off? If you’re as clueless as Carolyn, which of these looks do you want to try?

Game to try a good belt-up for yourself? Take a shot and show us on Instagram or Twitter @champagnecartel and add #nonfugly. Show us your belts, chicas!


Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


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