In order to make the best of your belts, you need to know exactly what works for your proportions, from width and color to placement. Stop being afraid of belting dresses or cardigans, because you’ll do fine as long as you follow these simple style tips.

Find out how to pick the best belts for your body type and wear them for a truly flattering look. From the size of your waist to your breasts, here’s how you can determine for yourself which type of belt looks best on you.

Belts for a Short Waist

When you have a short waist, you need to be extra careful to your choice and placement of your belts in order to avoid making your waist look even shorter. Thinner belts in a color that’s similar to your top can help you achieve a flattering effect. 

Wear them a bit lower than your natural waistline in order to elongate it. Avoid wide belts or embellished belts in contrasting colors.

Medium Sized Belt Over Coatphoto: Outi Toivola

Belts for a Long Waist

The best belts for your body type should be contrasting in color to your top and you should wear them a bit higher than your waistline. You can go skinny if you emphasize your waist, but you can also wear wider belts successfully. For a balanced look, pick a belt that matches your bottom or shoes, but still stands out on your top or dress.

Belts for the Rectangle Body Shape

When you’re missing out on hourglass curves, belts can be the perfect way to create more flattering proportions. Thicker belts, worn under your waistline, right over your hips can help create the illusion of curves. Belt tops and dresses are a little loose, so they create volume in the hip area. The same tips apply if you have an Inverted Triangle body shape.

Wearing Belt Over Scarf

photo: M.K.

Belts for the Apple Body Shape

Wide belts can help define your waist, but don’t stick to simple horizontal ones. Going for a V shaped belt can do wonders for your proportions, and belts with a little stretch are a good idea. Even if you choose the best belts for your body type, the placement is just as important. Go either under the bustline or over your hips. Asymmetrical belts can also be flattering, but when it comes to color you should stick to darker shades that are slimming.

See also: How to Wear Ankle Boots this Season

Belts for the Pear Body Shape

When you have large hips, skinny belts are your best bet. The right placement is usually the thinnest part of your waist. Feel free to go crazy with colors and embellishments. If you plan on wearing anything below the waist, stick to V shaped belts or chain belts. The worst choice you can make for your figure is a simple wide belt worn under the waistline.

Oversized Belt Style Tipsphoto: A.E.

Belts for the Hourglass Body Shape

The best belts for your body type will definitely emphasize your waist and skinny belts can do that in the most flattering way. You can try skinny belts or wide belts that cover your entire waistline. When you’re wearing pants, the belt should go right over your bellybutton, and if you’re top heavy, you could go a bit below your waistline with a V shaped belt.

Plus Size Belt Tipsphoto: Sakina B. 

Belts for Plus Size Figures

Don’t be fooled into thinking belts don’t work for you if you’re plus size. Asymmetrical or V shaped belts can help make your tummy looks smaller, and belts worn on hips that work to your advantage. Avoid super skinny belts and go a little wider to flatter your proportions.

Leopard Belt Style Tipsphoto: My Showroom P.

Belts for Petite Women

Wide belts are definitely off the table if you’re petite. You can go as skinny as thin chain belts. Go for a belt with little to no color contrast to your top or dress. The best belts for your body type included the delicate knotted variety, worn low on your hips.

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Belts for Your Bra Size

Don’t forget to keep the belt in proportion to your breasts. Avoid wide belts if you wear a small bra size, and go for a big belt with a decorative buckle if you’re endowed. You might also want to go lower than your waist with your belt if you have big breasts.

Accent Belt Style Tipsphoto: Marilyn N.

Belts for Dresses with Built-In Waistlines

Once you’ve figured out how to wear best belts for your body type, you should also know how to wear them with dresses with built-in waistlines, including empire waist dresses. Remember that the belt should always cover the built-in waistline completely.