Well yes…but NO.
Sadly, the two stated sizes do not correlate – and this is nothing to do with belts being mis-sized but rather that Trousers and Jeans brands tend to be rather liberal with their use of measurements. The simple explanation for all of this is that Clothing brands like to flatter us and make us feel we are smaller than we are. So that pair of jeans you wear with the 34” size marked on them almost definitely does not have a waistband that measures 34”.
16 years of making belts and custom sizing customers tells us that we have all been misguided in the difference between a stated size and an actual measured size. I have served countless men for example (Ladies, you will be happy to know that Men are by far the least realistic about their size) who having chosen a belt are quick to tell me to ‘Size it to a 34” waist’ – as that is the trouser size they buy.
I can tell just by looking at the customer that if I did that the customer would find themselves in the embarrassing position of trying on the belt and it not getting close to fitting! Experience makes me suggest politely that a ‘custom fitting’ will be better and more accurate. Once done and a well sized belt provided I simply keep quiet on the actual size belt I have made. I am not here to make anyone feel bad after all – the only important thing is that the belt fits.
But…back to the subject, why do stated sizes and actual sizes diverge? The best thing is that I take myself as an example – I buy 32” waist trousers and jeans and have done so for several years. Pretty much across brands this works for me from Zara to Boss to Diesel. But what belt size do I wear? 89cm is the answer (total length 104cm) and that is without the buckle.
This means that I am wearing a 35” Waist belt (1" = 2.54cm, so 89cm = 35")
How can that be? Very simply put, if I put a tape measure around the inside of my trouser waistband the measurement comes out at almost exactly 35”. So that little tab telling me I am size 32 is lying to me and by definition you too.
So, what is the answer to buying a belt that is the correct size? As a rule of thumb with an Elliot Rhodes belt go at least one full size bigger than your stated trouser size. If you have a tape measure to hand then by all means measure the inside of your waistband for an accurate size and give that to us so that we can size accordingly. The best way however will always be to measure an existing belt that fits well and tell us what size this is!
Do be careful if buying other brands of belt as not everyone sizes in the same manner. Here at Elliot Rhodes we are aware of these sizing issues so by definition are generous with our sizes. When we give you a size 85cm belt this is the precise measurement of the leather from first hole to the end but does not include the buckle (in general this will add another 4cm or so). See this little sketch below:
Many brands include the buckle in their waist measurement, so you need to be careful with that too and for safety may need to buy a belt 2 sizes larger than your stated trouser size.
The size charts should also help you in your quest to find the correct belt size and you can also look here for further information: