It is easy to view belts as being simply practical—something to keep your pants in place and not much else. But over the past few seasons, designers have been rethinking the utilitarian staple, introducing collections that elevate the belt from a boring basic to a serious personal style statement. Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo were some of the first to champion the trend, incorporating demi-bespoke and customizable styles into their accessories lineup. And while neither are MMA-winner flashy, a belt from either brand is sure to kick your outfit up another stylish notch.
Launched last fall, Louis Vuitton’s My LV Belt program lets you play designer and put your personalized spin on the brand’s classic leather goods. Available at the maison’s boutiques across the country, the service allows you to choose from any combination of 14 leather straps and 12 buckles (from $800). Design options range from demure—think rich Cognac calf leather paired with a palladium LV-logo buckle—to daring—think a navy ostrich-skin strap and buckle inlaid with olive wood. Most of the standard leather styles can also be made reversible, allowing a single style to be both simple and statement-making. Initials can also be hot-stamped on the inside of the belt, ensuring that your piece is one-of-a-kind.
Salvatore Ferragamo’s newly introduced Switch Belt ($595) takes a similar approach to customization. But, unlike Louis Vuitton’s program, the brand has put all of the statement-making emphasis on the buckle. Each style comes with the iconic dual buckle (available in gold, silver, or gunmetal) and a reversible strap in smooth and grained calfskin leather. The real sartorial magic happens, however, when you clip off the more basic buckle and slip on one of the brand’s many bolder options, instantly creating an elevated new look. We’re particularly partial to dressing down a deep black leather strap with a rich wood-grained or tortoiseshell resin buckle ($95 each), or play up its elegant lines with a diamond-effect palladium style ($225).