Chic Summer Belts for Grown Women

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A belt is a fantastic summer accessory for creating big style from a smaller closet. Elevate those denim cutoffs, cinch that caftan, transform that loose shirtdress, take that swim coverup from beach to beachside bar… a chic summer belt takes up hardly any space in your luggage and hardly any space in your wardrobe so you can keep it for years, pulling it out when your mood or the trends fit it.

chic summer belts for grown womenv
The belt in this graphic is the Claire from B-Low the Belt

Chic Summer Belts for Grown Women

Belts are back. After years (and years and years) of empty belt loops and shapeless shifts, they're back to being used to define waists and hips, elevate casual pieces, and keep your pants and shorts from sliding down. Embrace the practicality and style of a belt this summer and you'll find your current wardrobe will feel elevated and more complete. My picks for chic summer belts for grown women:

The Coastal Prep Belt

Braided leather, striped webbing, braided rope… classic belts in nautical-inspired colors and textiles are a great option for hiking up your shorts and jeans, but also switching out the self-belt on your favorite shirtdress or covering the plastic waistband on a knit frock.

a collage of 12 coastal prep belts for summer

Shop the Collage: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

The Cinch Belt

Wrap belts, “obi” belts, and belts with O-rings and loops to cinch over the clothing instead of belt loops are transformative to wardrobes. I love these belts for adding a bit of interest and subtle shape to knit tank dresses, t-shirt dresses, and loose shirtdresses and linen shifts. Wear at the waist or on the hips to play with proportions and put your own spin on your look.

collage of 12 cinch belts for summer

Shop the Collage: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

The Light Leather Belt

Summer is about light fabrics and colors. Elevate your workwear or night-out look with a sleek leather belt in a summery color and/or textile. Come fall and winter, continue to wear this belt in contrast with darker-colored pants and heavyweight fabrics.

a collage of 13 light leather belts for summer

Shop the Collage: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve | thirteen

The Western Belt

As I mentioned in my post about 2024 fashion trends, the Western vibe is hot this year. A Western-inspired belt can take a simple tank and jeans and turn it into a look, can add interest in place of the self-belt for your cotton dress, and looks great balancing chambray, cotton, linen, gauze and other lightweight summery fabrics. You will see a lot of contradiction in the next few seasons; lightweight fabrics with heavy belts, delicate dresses with boots, and a Western belt is a great piece to get this contradiction vibe without looking like you dressed in the dark.

a collage of 12 chic western belts for summer 2024

Shop the Collage: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve

Tips for Shopping Belts

A few of my tips for shopping belts this season:

  • For sizing belts, measure your waist where you want the belt to rest and add two inches.
  • Don't be afraid to shop the men's department; rope, webbing, and leather belts are pretty unisex and men's departments may have simpler classic styles and longer lengths.
  • Thrifting is a fantastic way to find belts for less; this season classic styles and Y2K concepts are en vogue and they can easily be found from previous season styles being resold for less.
  • For storing belts, I use one of these hangers. Out of season, I roll my belts and store in an old shoe box. Belts benefit from breathability; leather and vinyl can get damaged if stored in airtight containers like vacuum bags.
  • For extended size belts, check out my list of where to shop for plus size belts.
A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Thanks for the list! Though I’m chuckling at the sixth ‘western’ belt (dark chocolate brown overlapping discs with brass hardware), because I owned one *exactly* like that back in the noughties. Along with a suede pull-through belt that I could never get to stay tied up properly lol – anyone else? (I do wish belts with ropes/ ties etc came with tying tutorials)!

    1. I did chuckle at that belt as well and it’s why I shared it. Fashion is cyclical! And I’ve been known to use a bit of fashion tape to hold belts closed!

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