The art of getting dressed is a bit like a group project: There’s usually one item of clothing that acts as Team Leader. There’s almost always a slacker (like your underwear — what does your underwear even do all day?), and if every piece, top-to-shoe, has some sort of issue, then the whole thing drags. But when each group member does its job perfectly, there’s more free time to get creative. Take your pants, for example: If your pants stay up on their own and sit exactly where they’re told, your belt, no longer required to babysit mischievous low rises, can crack its knuckles and earn some extra credit.
“Three ways to wear belts” was stylist Brie Welch’s idea. She found Fall 2017 inspiration in the wrapped sashes at Nehera and Each Other, Gucci’s two-for-one waist-cinching fanny pack, the long-tailed cats at Proenza and Ellery, and the matchy-matchy belts at Miu Miu and Simone Rocha. Every instance included proof of a garment so self-sufficient that belts were merely superfluous in that great fashion way.
Why not try one or all three? Your wardrobe staples had a great vacation this summer. I bet they’re eager and ready to do a little work. No button-down or skirt of yours will groan at the thought of a group project, I promise you. They want the A+ just as much as you want a new way to jooj up your August-through-September look.
For three extra points: The harness wrap
A lot of wrap dresses or trench-type coats come with an extra long sash belt. See if you already have one hanging in your closet — Brie Welch says it’s likely the perfect length for this look. “If you happen to take Karate,” she added, that belt is “also an ideal option.”
Brie’s how-to: Fold the belt in half, drape it over the back of your neck and then cross it in front of your throat like you’d tie a tie. Wrap both sides under your pits, cross again at your lower back, then come around once more and tie it in the front.
For two extra points: The shirt-as-a-skirt-and-belt
New rule: If it cinches near your waist and ties up in any way, it’s a belt. In this case, it’s also a shirt turned into a skirt, which you can wear over pants or shorts or nothing. (I don’t judge, I just grade.) Brie prefers to keep a full-tonal theme, or suggests doing a monochromatic option. “It makes the whole thing look more fluid.”
Brie’s how-to: Take an oversize button-down shirt and unbutton the top three-to-five buttons. Pull it on like a skirt and bring up to your natural waist, then tuck in the back of the collar and tie the sleeves in a knot. Make a sort of half-bow so that the arms hang like a loose belt.
For one extra point: Matchy-matchy
You barely have to do anything here except own a patterned skirt or dress that came with a matching belt. There you go: Easy A! But since this exercise is in the name of extra credit, Brie suggests breaking up all that coordination with a top in a color found in the belt’s pattern. “Something that pops.” Wrap the belt over it, and there you go. Gold star for the entire group! Nothing better than getting that GPA up while basking in the dog days of summer.