The Understated Accessory Stylists Use to Make Their Outfits Look More Expensive

We talk a lot about handbagsshoes and jewellery here at Who What Wear, but there's another key accessory that we're guilty of overlooking: Belts.

My theory is that we tend to view this item as merely a practical addition to our outfits, used to cinch in too-loose jeans or give shape to a slouchy dress. But recently, I've had something of an epiphany, finally clocking on the aesthetic value of the humble belt. The truth is, this simple strip of leather can completely transform an ensemble. A statement buckle or intricately-embroidered strap might just take your look from drab to polished in seconds flat.

Best leather belts: @femmeblk: Lydia Tsegay wears Celine's bestselling Triomphe belt.



Lydia Tsegay wears Celine's bestselling Triomphe belt.

Because belts have an actual function (besides just looking good), they're worth investing in. Especially when there are so many beautiful and high-quality designer belts doing the rounds on Instagram—think Celine's Triomphe and Gucci's Marmont—proving their versatility in a wide spectrum of outfits.

That said, not everyone is willing to splurge on accessories, instead preferring to spend the bulk of their shopping budget on more substantial pieces like coats and knitwear. With this in mind, I've searched the web for well-made belts at three different price points. From playful western designs (hello, cow print!) to understated black-leather iterations, the belts below are well worth your attention.

Best leather belts: @femmeblk: Lydia Tsegay wears A TAN LEATHER BELT


Best leather belts: @smythsisters wears a black belt with jeans



1. Shop the Best High Street Belts

I've been seeing this exact belt all over Instagram. Warning: it keeps selling out.

Use this thick leather belt to really define your waist.

I love an equestrian-style belt, and this slim style nails the brief. 

Opt for tan if you're wearing whites or beige tones.

A classic black belt will serve you well.

This high street steal is the secret to turning day dresses into smart office attire.

2. Shop the Best Mid-Range Belts:

You could add this belt to literally any look and it would instantly elevate it.

This would be such a fun addition to a '70s-inspired outfit.

A white belt always adds a bit of polish to an otherwise causal look.

The buckle completely makes this belt.

If you can't bring yourself to splash out on the Gucci Marmont belt, this one has a similar effect.

A classic, timeless options that you'll be able to use for years.

3. Shop the Best Luxury Belts:

The combination of cream and gold here looks so gorgeous. 

True to form, Toteme's belts are just beautiful.

Another iconic Loewe style, this time in tan leather.

Simple yet effective, this is a useful belt to have in your collection.

I'm imagining this with an all-black look. So chic.

Adorned with the iconic YSL logo and gold-tone hardware, this belt will take a simple jeans and tee look to the next level.

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

Next Up: The 9 Most Expensive-Looking Pieces on the High Street This Week