Your Ultimate Guide to Men’s Belt Styles

Posted by Watch Warehouse Experts on Aug 25, 2021

Your Ultimate Guide to Men’s Belt Styles

All belts serve the same primary purpose, but not all men’s belt styles are the same. Belts are often overlooked as a fashion accessory, but the truth is that they do more than just hold your pants up.

There are so many different types of men’s belts out there. There are formal belts, casual belts, reversible belts, leather belts, canvas belts, and more, not to mention the many styles of buckles!

Every well-dressed gentleman should have at least two belts in his repertoire, ideally more. This men’s belt guide covers the ins and outs of belts so you can dress for success every time.

First Things First: The Anatomy of a Belt

Before learning about the various men’s belt styles, you should understand the components of a belt. Different variations of these parts play a major role in how belts are classified, as well as how they’re styled.

Main Parts:

  • Strap: The strap is the band of material that fits around your waist.
  • Buckle: The buckle is the metal clasp that connects the two ends of the strap together.

Strap Parts:

  • End Tip: The end of the strap that fits into the buckle. End tips may be covered in metal or other materials.
  • Belt Loop: The belt loop sits behind the buckle to hold the strap flush. Not all men’s belt styles have a belt loop.
  • Punch hole: The prong is pushed into the punch hole to keep the belt fastened.

Buckle Parts:

  • Frame: The frame is the perimeter of the buckle.
  • Prong: The prong is the horizontal part of the buckle that gets pushed into the prong hole.
  • Bar: The bar is the vertical part of the buckle that connects the buckle to the strap.

Buckle Up: Types of Belt Buckles

A brown leather belt with a frame-style buckle

There are quite a few different types of men’s belts, and their buckles are a primary differentiator. From Western buckles to minimalist frames, understanding the differences among buckles is essential to styling different men’s belt styles.

  • Frame-Style: The most ubiquitous of buckle styles, frame-style buckles are found on both casual and formal belts. A simple, rectangular, frame-shaped buckle.
  • Plate-Style: Plate-style buckles are used with straps that don’t have attached buckles. They’re removable, allowing you to customize your belt as desired.
  • Box-Frame: Box-frame buckles feature a clamping mechanism that holds the strap in place with no holes required. They’re typically used with canvas belts.
  • O-Ring/D-Ring: Instead of typical buckles, these are metal rings. Fabric straps are woven through the rings.
  • Micro-Adjustable: Micro-adjustable buckles feature a ratchet system that allows you to make minuscule adjustments with no holes required.
  • Box-Out: Box-out buckles aren’t usually found in men’s belt styles. They’re usually made of leather or synthetic materials, and they’re mainly for decoration. You may find them on some fashion-forward types of men’s belts.
  • Snap Buckles: Snap buckles connect similarly to seatbelts. They’re most commonly found on specialty belts designed for outdoor activities, so they’re not typically incorporated into the average gentleman’s wardrobe.

Material World: Types of Materials

Next in our men’s belt guide is the belt’s material — the other primary element that differentiates the various types of belts. While personal style is heavily based on personal preference, there are specific materials that should only be worn with casual or formal attire. Whether you choose to follow those rules when selecting men’s belt styles to pair with your ensemble is up to you!


Most belts are made from cowhide leather. However, it’s not quite as simple as that. Here are the different kinds of leather most commonly used:

  • Top-Grain: Top-grain leather is the highest quality option. There are two types of top-grain leather: full-grain and corrected-grain. Full-grain is most common and has a more natural, unprocessed look, while corrected-grain is processed to have textures — crocodile or snakeskin patterns are common with corrected-grain leather.
  • Braided: Commonly paired with frame-style buckles, braided leather is woven in braids, allowing you to customize the fit to your exact specifications, with no holes required. Braided men’s belt styles are on the casual side and shouldn’t be paired with a suit.
  • Tooled: Tooled leather belts refer to types of men’s belts that have been embossed with decorative patterns. They’re usually worn with casual outfits.
  • Suede: Suede is a high-quality leather that has a soft, supple texture. Suede belts can run the gamut from rustic to refined.
  • Exotic: Exotic leathers are made from the hide of animals besides cows, such as alligator, crocodile, or ostrich. Exotic leather is more expensive than traditional leather, but exotic belts are usually styled casually.

Non-Leather Materials:

  • Canvas: Usually paired with box-frame buckles, canvas straps are utilitarian and commonly found in military settings, although these men’s belt styles are also a popular casual option among civilians.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl belts often feature flashy designs, and are typically worn by younger guys who enjoy alternative fashion.
  • Webbing: Webbing is a durable woven fabric. Belts made from webbing are usually paired with o-rings or d-rings.
  • Faux Leather: Made from polyurethane and typically with a fabric backing, faux leather is designed to look like traditional leather. Quality faux leather can look very realistic, while low-grade faux leather does not.

Formal vs. Casual Belts

A close-up of a brown formal belt

It’s important to recognize the differences between formal and casual belts so you can select the right men’s belt styles for any outfit and occasion.

  • Formal: Formal belts are thin, usually between 1 and 1 ½ inches wide. They tend to be black or brown and are usually glossy with sleek, streamlined features. When styling formal types of men’s belts, make sure the color and sheen of the leather match your shoes. Any metal should also match other metal accessories, such as cufflinks, jewelry, or luxury watches.
  • Casual: If it’s not formal, it’s casual! While you can wear formal belts with casual attire (never vice-versa), it’s not preferred. 

Save on Authentic Luxury Belts at Watch Warehouse

Watch Warehouse carries a wide range of luxury accessories, including exquisite Montblanc belts in a variety of styles. Our products include free US shipping, and our 30-day return policy protects your purchase. Contact us if you have any questions. 

Now that you have in-depth knowledge of all the different types of men’s belts, it’s time to elevate your wardrobe. Shop sophisticated men’s belt styles at Watch Warehouse now, and be sure to follow our style blog for more tips.