The search for the perfect figure and silhouette are two of the most important issues designers struggle with when creating pieces. Whether in menswear or womenswear, designers want to make garments which will flatter the body shape of their clients, through the use of outstanding cut and fit. One of the techniques they resort to is emphasizing certain body parts to draw attention towards them. This can be accomplished by playing with the visual aspect of the piece through the use of effects such as texture, color or pattern, or by adding shape altering elements to the item such as carefully thought seams, pleats, draping or even a belt.
The last is the one I want to focus on: not your usual belt but the so called waist belt often seen in trenches, jackets or cardigans and whose purpose is to cinch the waistline, thus enhacing a slim silhouette. This is something associated with women’s fashion, usually as an accessory for oversized dresses or shirts as a means to provide the much sought hourglass figure. However, as fashion continues to push forward, we’ve witnessed the merging of boundaries between menswear and womenswear to a point where items that were once staples of a gender are being widespreadly used by the other. Recently, I’ve come across pictures of men sporting the waist belt in several occasions and I’ve got to say I loved the look. This type of belt has been used in the classic trench for ages, but is now spreading its influence to cardigans, overcoats and even vests: it works wonders on cardigans, especially heavy knit ones removing the often saggy look and making it more sophisticated and fitted. I’m on the look for one but I have to say they don’t come around that often; if you want to sport this look but are not able to find one, just take your favourite cardigan to the tailor and ask him to alter it by stitching on belt loops and making you a custom knit belt. Then all you have to do is buckle up and enjoy!
Travis Gumbs from Street Etiquette sporting a belted safari vest. Photos from Street Etiquette.
The classic trench by Sir Paul Smith. Photos from Por Vocação.
One of the jackets I’m looking for at the moment: Barbour’s Ursula Jacket. Photo from LInda Clifford.