Photo:Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli; Imaxtree/Rokh; Imaxtree/Blumarine
Fashion always walks the fine line between utilitarian and decorative. On the one hand, we all need to wear clothing (unless you're into the naked look). But on the other hand, we don't necessarily "need" the It item of the season. But despite lack of necessity, style for many plays a pivotal role in how they express themselves, how they cultivate joy, and even how they support communities of color. Frivolity may seem like a significant part of fashion, but in all honesty, what you choose to buy and how much you're buying is the easiest way you can, as a consumer, show off your values (quite literally).
So, it's imperative to shop intentionally and discern which trends are worth your time. And while the choice lies with you, I'd be remiss if I didn't share at least one recent trend that's worthwhile: "extra" belts. While belts have always been an essential part of any wardrobe, fall/winter 2022 runways took them from pragmatic to idealistic and back again. It wasn't just about wearing them to hold up a pair of low-rise trousers—it was all about using styling to elevate this staple.
Belts were able to fasten together function and fashion in a way no other basic has been able to do. And to prove that point, I've scoured the runway to show five ways belts were styled this season. Whether you're looking for inspiration on how to wear your belt in new ways or want to give your basics a little something extra, by the end of this story, I can guarantee you'll be fully buckled into this trend.
1. Built-In Belts
Any preconceived notions you may have about belts should be left at the door now because fall/winter 2022 runways were all about using this accessory in unexpected ways. We saw that through how built-in belts became a standout trend on the runway.
While most may think of adding a belt after a look is created, many designers incorporated this accessory directly into their garments to play with silhouettes, tailoring, and embellishments. Just look at how Coperani took cropped blazers and added belts at the ribcage. Or how pleated skirts and blazers were adorned with multiple micro belts as embellishments at Rokh. And you can even look at how designers like Calvin Luo played with waistlines using built-in belts at the chest.
Photo:Imaxtree; Calvin Luo
No matter the designer or how garments incorporated built-in belts, this "unnecessary" element took each look to the next level. It made it clear that belts don't have just to be worn around the waist—they're meant to be worn everywhere.
2. Unorthodox Styling
Photo:Courtesy of Roberto Cavalli
If adding built-in belts is seen as unnecessary, then the second prevalent styling trend on the runway leans even further into the theme. The fall/winter 2022 runways didn't just make belts a thing again—they made wearing them in unorthodox ways appealing.
From Milan to Seoul to New York City, there was no shortage of belts on the runway. But instead of a focus on functionality, these belts served no purpose other than ornamental value. Belts were placed over bare stomaches (see Roberto Cavalli and BonBom) or multiple belts layered together (look at Miu Miu or Peter Do's collections). It was a departure from the old way of wearing belts to help with sizing and silhouette to really focus on the styling itself.
Photo:Courtesy of Peter Do
And while these belts may not be serving a function per se, they're still serving a look nonetheless. Proving that belts don't have to be worn one way to do their job.
3. Hip Huggers
Photo:Courtesy of Blumarine
While fall/winter 2022 collections championed interesting ways of styling belts, there were also more approachable takes too. See, for example, the return of low-slung belts that hug the hips.
While other belt styles may seem more challenging to adopt, this style is arguably the easiest to embrace this fall. In part, that's because this accessory is more relaxed in fit compared to other styles. But really, it all comes down to the fact that a hip-hugging belt is a perfect accessory to pair with the season's trendiest separates, and proof of that fact lies on the runway.
You can look at how low-slung belts adorned miniskirts at Blumarine and Diesel or how Tod's styled a leather maxi skirt with a belt too. Every instance this belt showed up on the runway reminded us that adding a belt can make the pieces we love most even better.
4. Corset Belts
Anyone that's been following trends for the past few seasons is probably already aware of how corsets have managed to take over the runway and the street style scene. So it's only a natural progression that we'd begin to see corset belts make a comeback too.
From built-in corset belts at Dior and Christian Siriano to waist corset belts at Altuzarra and Tory Burch, this style was a prevalent part of fall/winter 2022 collections. And frankly, I'm not mad about it.
Photo:Courtesy of Christian Siriano
There's no better accessory in my mind regarding fall fashion than this belt. It's not only the perfect evolution of the corset trend, but for anyone that's hoping to show off their figure this fall without actually showing skin, this accessory is the move.
5. Back to The Basics
Photo:Courtesy of Stella McCartney
You've made it to the end of this story, and by now, it should be abundantly clear that belts are back and bigger than ever this fall. And while there are so many ways to embrace this accessory, possibly the easiest way is to revert back to the basics and embrace a high-waisted belt.
Of course, the high-waisted belt is a staple, but that doesn't mean it has to be stale. If fall/winter 2022 runways tried to teach us anything, it's that the key to making belts feel fresh is to be unafraid to pair them with unexpected pieces. For example, you can take a cue from Stella McCartney and pair a belt with a head-to-toe denim look, or pair a thin statement belt with a printed button-down similar to how Y/Project did. Or you can draw inspiration from ACNE Studios and play with proportions by styling a pair of baggy high-waisted pants with a belt.
Photo:Courtesy of Acne Studios
Ultimately, it's all about leaning into exploration when it comes to embracing belts. If you're able to give yourself the freedom to play, you'll find that this accessory could become a necessary part of your fall wardrobe.