When our customers come in store they are often surprised at the number of different widths of belts we offer. The fact is that we start at thin 15mm width belts and go all the way upto 60mm width belts, most of the time in 5mm increments with each width having its own specific purpose.
Luckily for men life is not as complex as it is for women - there are really just 3 widths to focus on and each have their own raison d'etre. I'll give you a brief guide to what I think works best and hope that this will help you in the process of choosing your next belt.
For me the 30mm width belt has two purposes - first and foremost it falls into the category of formal. For those occasions when you really want something slim and discreet this is the width for you. Most of the men's belts in this width as a result are fairly simple in style with a focus on elegant leather and occasionally some subtle detail.
In the past a lot of men considered this the default width to go to for a formal belt, irrespective of their waist size and build. I would beg to differ as I often feel that it looks a little too thin on anyone of a certain size and stature. In reality a belt of this width on a larger man, let's say 34" waist or above, just tends to look a little mean. If you are perhaps a few pounds heavier than your perfect weight this can also exacerbate things, with the belt looking like it is cutting into your stomach. In which case head for the 35mm width.
Which brings me to the second category - the 30mm belt as a more trendy item. This for me is really all about the stature and clothing style of the person wearing it. If you are on the slim side, like slimmer cut trousers and suits, then this width will look good on you. This could either be in a formal capacity or a more trendy capacity with the use of colour and texture.
The 35mm width is one which I believe to be the default width to turn to for men's classic or casual wear. This width works very nicely with formal wear and the buckle collection that goes with it has plenty of discreet options to choose from. My preference for this width is predominantly guided by most men's size and stature. The average man is a 34-36" waist size and I just like the way this width of belt looks on a man. It looks substantial without being chunky, it has the nice feeling when worn of properly supporting your trousers and filling the belt loops and also, because of its width means the belt buckle is just that little wider which I feel suits most men better.
In terms of detailing, if you are looking for something a little more contemporary then this width is also a suitably sized canvas to show off some subtle style - perforations, shoe inspired detailing, brush off leathers....
Which leads me onto the more casual nature of this width and its versatility. Although I would not advocate this width as the perfect width for jeans, it is a width that can easily cross the boundary between formal and casual. The width is substantial enough to not look out of place on denim or heavier fabric trousers (e.g. corduroy), and looks great on chino style trousers, so your belt can cross nicely from work to play. I particularly like this width for smart denim, especially of the more fitted nature.
The 40mm width is one that many people are just not aware of. In truth if you go shopping you will not find any particular choice in this width other than perhaps the odd simple jeans belt. The reality is that this is the perfect width for wearing with your jeans and with nearly all casual trousers. Worn with denim not only does it nicely fill the deep belt loops but also most importantly the width both looks and feels in keeping with the style and weight of the fabric. The same applies for almost all casual trousers as nowadays these also tend to have fairly deep loops. Above all we just like the way a 40mm width belt feels around the waist - it is substantial without being chunky, really shows off the texture of the leather and any specific style detailing and gives you scope to wear either a classic or more substantial buckle style.
Obviously the type of leather in this width will define how smart or casual the belt is - a chunky unlined leather inherently is for more informal wear whereas perhaps a finer grain leather would be more suitable for smarter occasions.
Personally, and subject to my comment above on the type of leather, I use this width for almost all but the most formal of occasions - it is really versatile, a great canvas for all sorts of buckles and also importantly gives that really nice feeling of a belt that is properly holding up your trousers.
As the sage of the natural world Sir David Attenborough gets ready to celebrate his 90th birthday we here at Elliot Rhodes are taking a step back in time to rediscover the world of the Megalodon - regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history and the presumed forebear of the great white shark (although there are those that argue that the prehistoric Mako was closer). Megalodon existed some 5-25 million years ago during the Miocene and Pliocene era, grew to some 18 metres long (double a great white) and had teeth that grew to some 7 inches long with a jaw that opened some 2m high. I have been fascinated by this monumental beast for some time and started collecting some fossilized teeth 6 or 7 years ago with the view to one day turning them into rather unique buckles. I love the idea of mixing the prehistoric with the modern and the opportunity to turn history into both fashion and art. For this buckle with its 2" sized tooth we have experimented with a new dimpled texture of sterling silver that closely mimics the surface of the tooth and given it substantial bulk to counterbalance the scale of the tooth itself. Truly I look at this and marvel at it both for its raw beauty and for the somewhat mythical story that it tells...owning and wearing it would be something truly special. It can currently be found on display in our Chelsea store.
Colour, energy and the fun of Latin culture was all over the SS16 catwalks and is in full force in Elliot Rhodes selection of carved metal buckles and straps in textured leather and suedes.
Texture, print, layers…the change of seasons brings in a new colour palette and richer, bolder fabrics. Elliot Rhodes Offers the perfect addition with neutral printed and textured leather straps and bolder prong buckle styles.
Colour clashing and artistic interpretation offer a fresh new approach to tailoring. Pair this with Elliot Rhodes fantastic dip-dye leather straps and wallets.
Molten metals and fabrics with shine were a huge trend for SS16. Elliot Rhodes is the go-to specialist for metallic belts and buckles in every possible finish.
Go wild for the new printed and coloured snake any pony skin printed and textured belt straps. Funk it up with western plates or geometric buckle shapes exclusive to Elliot Rhodes.
Our guest blogger, Salman Dean identifies the key trends from LCM AW16
Photography by Emmanuel Prodano
London Collections: Men was such a whirlwind and not always as glamorous as you may think. There is much frantic rushing across town from one show to the next and snatching a few tiny canapés here and there to keep you fuelled! Nonetheless the shows were fantastic and here is a summary of some of the key trends that really stood out.
Although shearling has been massive this season it is here to stay for AW16 too. Gieves & Hawkes gave us the kind of timeless, classic shearling jackets we already know and love. However brands such as Belstaff and Cottweiler have a new take on it by reversing shearling which takes this trend into a new territory.
ER Style suggestions: go for unlined styles that just keep getting better with age
Patchwork is going to be massive for AW16 and was prominently displayed across a variety of shows including Agi & Sam, Christopher Ræburn and Oliver Spencer. The trend almost feels like borrowing from the senior generations wardrobes but putting your spin on it! If you are fashion forward then this is a trend you can totally jump on now and be ahead of the game.
ER Style suggestions: No rules apply, use colour, texture or both
3. Earth Tones
A common choice of colour pallet this year at LCM was earth tones. Some of these colours have already been big this season such as camel and khaki. However for AW16 shades like rust, ochre and sienna are going to be bursting onto the scene. Particular brands that have featured these colours are Baartmans and Siegel, CMMN SWDN and Barbour.
ER Style suggestions: keep it muted but let the buckle make a statement
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It's the start of a New Year - that time of year to reflect on the year just gone, make resolutions and analyse last year's best dressed! Here at Elliot Rhodes, not only do we admire an individual for their own personal style, but we are equally passionate about the quality of clothing that comes with it, which evidently comes across in our belts and accessories. Let's take a look back on the year and discuss the most inspiring, best dressed men and women of 2015.
After Ralph wore Elliot Rhodes in the latest James Bond Spectre movie, how could we not include him in our Best Dressed?! Ralph's stylist reveals his love for Japanese fabrics and iconic work wear garments, which we admire about Ralph. He feels it's important to look good, and we couldn't agree more! So for that, Ralph makes one of our best dressed men of 2015! Let's hope we spot him wearing more Elliot Rhodes in the next Bond movie, eh!
David Gandy is the UK's most successful male model, having worked with the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Marks & Spencer. He is effortlessly stylish with his gentlemanly persona. Conde Nast Asia's Fashion Director says, "I admire Gandy's classic style as he knows what suits him and he doesn't bow to obvious fashion trends. He gives a new meaning to modern elegance." We are always finding inspiration from David's looks, making him one of our best dressed of 2015.
The award-winning actor, Eddie Redmayne has been all over our screens this year. After impressing the country with his role in Theory of Everything, Eddie has since been working hard on other roles and meanwhile dressing very well. The actor's fashion potential was spotted early on when he appeared in Burberry campaigns. Eddie is a very inspiring man of today, in more ways than one, making him one of our best dressed men of 2015.
The Duchess of Cambridge always looks immaculate, whether she's wearing an elegant tea dress or sporting a classic pencil skirt and blouse. Kate is the perfect example of a classic, British woman with style and women will forever aspire to look like her. The fact that Kate mixes high end with high street is something that women admire her for, and she often recycles old outfits too! Her favourite British designers include Alice Temperley, Sarah Burton and Alexander McQueen.
The multi-talented FKA Twigs certainly makes a statement when it comes to fashion. The award-winning singer, dancer and fashionista is known for her "out-there" stage costumes but always maintains her unique style on the street too. Whilst her style wouldn't appeal to every lady, we admire her confidence and ability to be herself without a care in the world!
Having been in the spotlight since the age of 11, the beautiful actress and feminist, Emma Watson has been inspiring us for years! Her outfits are always flawless and feminine with a classic touch. Whether she's wearing a suit, gown or LBD - she's inspiring women all around the country! Emma was an easy choice for our best dressed of 2015 and we look forward to seeing her in 2016!
The new season brings us new trends, and a whole heap of exciting new belts and buckles to choose from. To make your search for the perfect AW15 combinations easier we’ve put together our very own style guide to inspire your wardrobe. From shiny metallics to colourful brights and of course our very own Elliot Rhodes trends – rock ‘n’ roll and pony skin. Take a look and be inspired by our interpretation of the trends...and remember that a new belt is always a great way to reinvigorate an old style and bring it back up to date!