Casual & Formal Belts: What’s the Difference?

By June 8, 2022 Uncategorized

Aside from being a functional item, a good belt can often put the finishing touch on an outfit.

You might think that discerning a casual belt from a formal one would be straight forward, but the differences can be more nuanced than you might expect.

Here, we explain what casual and formal belts are, and how to tell the difference.

What is a Formal Belt?

Simply put, a formal belt is a belt worn on formal occasions. Think events such as:

  • weddings,
  • corporate gatherings,
  • job interviews, and
  • funerals.

Formal belts are usually made from leather and have more of a paired down, classic style to them.

Usually worn with suits, formal belts generally come in a colour of either black, dark brown, or tan.

What is a Casual Belt?

A casual belt is for more informal scenarios, for example:

  • birthday parties,
  • holidays, and
  • evening activities like dinner and drinks with friends.

Casual belts often allow for a little more expression and creativity, and can be worn with jeans, chinos or even shorts.

While casual belts can also be leather, they are also made from materials such as canvas and other woven materials.

How Can I Tell the Difference?

Although it can sometimes be obvious, there are some instances where the lines are blurred.

When trying to figure out if a belt is casual or formal, there are 3 things to consider:

  • Size – Formal belts tend to be thinner, width wise, than casual belts. A good general tip to spot a formal belt is to use your thumb. If the width of a belt measures the same as the tip of your thumb to the first knuckle, it is likely a formal belt.

  • Material – Formal belts are almost always made of leather. While casual belts can also be made of leather, they are also made up of other materials, such as vinyl, rope, or faux leather.

  • Buckle – To fit with the understated style, the buckles of formal belts are usually flatter and more discreet than casual belts. Buckles on casual belts are often chunkier and have more character, making more of a statement.

If you still can’t figure out if a belt is casual or formal, a good rule of thumb to follow is to match your belt to your shoes. This will not only help you choose the right style of belt, but also the right colour.

Belts at Oxford Leathercraft

At Oxford Leathercraft, we have been crafting quality leather goods for almost 5 decades.

Working only with Sedex and ISO approved factories, we manufacture an extensive range of high-quality belts, both formal and casual.

Through our made-to-order service, we help design and manufacture belts and other leather goods to the exact specifications a client requires, in the most flexible and affordable method possible.

If you’d like to find out more about our services, you can call our friendly team today on 01865 407100, contact us at, or fill in our contact form by clicking here.


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