How to wear... the wide belt
This season all eyes are on the waist as the classic accessory makes a comeback, writes Meadhbh McGrath
Belts are big news at the moment, and have been for the past few seasons. In the last year we've seen a huge boom in statement buckles - you can't move these days for a Gucci double-G logo belt (or, more likely, a high street knock-off). Last year saw some wackier iterations, most memorably the corset styles, but this season has welcomed the return of the classic wide belt.
On the autumn/winter catwalks, Marni wrapped belts in contrasting shades over outerwear, from high-shine trenches to bold patterned coats, and topped off vintage-inspired printed dresses with broad bands and buckles.
Saint Laurent used thick velvet belts to give moody all-black outfits a luxurious finish, while Gareth Pugh's slick black belts cinched in super-sized leopard coats and dresses, which have since been spotted on Lady Gaga. At Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller put them to similar use, defining the waists of everything from enormous furry coats to a classic white blouse, repurposed for evening with floor-length fringe detailing.
The wide belt has become a hallmark for Carolina Herrera, and her final collection for the eponymous brand features an array of striking belted evening skirts with crisp white shirts - the American designer's signature look.
It's also one Meghan Markle has proven to be a fan of. She opted for an indigo Herrera dress with the trademark wide belt at a polo match earlier this year, and sported one on her visit to Ireland this summer as part of the beautiful black Emilia Wickstead dress she wore for a party at the British ambassador's residence in Dublin.
It will come as a relief to those of us who remember wide belts from their last moment in the style spotlight. These are not the waist-belt-and-chunky-beads looks that proliferated in the early 2000s, but a simpler, cleaner iteration.
Steer clear of braided or western styles, and give the lace-up versions a miss too. Kate Moss can just about get away with it, but we'd recommend a pared-back belt to cinch a glitzy frock. The dress and belt is a tried-and-true combination, especially when paired with knee boots in this season's snakeskin.
Colour-wise, black is the most accessible and versatile but & Other Stories' brown one will go a long way with autumn's new neutrals. Whistles' burgundy cord trousers with matching belt also nod to the 70s, just tuck in a lavender knit, throw on some sharp ankle boots and you're good to go.
If you're looking for a belt with a bit of character, try a checked version or one with a contrasting buckle. It's an easy way of updating your trusty winter coat or bringing a touch of the heritage trend to a simple shirt or dress.
The wide belt can refresh the pleated midi, as seen in Victoria Beckham's camel skirt, or elevate a pair of wide leg trousers, such as River Island's black pair.
For evening, the cardigan-and-a-cocktail-dress look can come across as a little unresolved, but a wide belt really pulls the look together for dialled-down night-time glamour.
Or take inspiration from Carolina Herrera's floor-sweeping drama with Coast's full skirt and shirt.
As the cooler weather draws in, a belt can help to counteract the bulk of autumn layers. Supersized wraps and blanket scarves were popular on the catwalks; a cosy yet tricky trend to pull off, until you add definition with a belt - like at Giorgio Armani - where it instantly tied the look together.
It's still a dramatic silhouette, but immediately more flattering.