Accessory update: belts are no longer just belts. They have been replaced with, if you will, an abstraction of the belt (insert thinking face emoji here). Enter alt-belting, a twist on belt-wearing that requires anything other than your classic leather cinched-in number, and flips the idea of a belt as a way to accentuate your waist to something far more high-minded. Here are four ways to wear a belt now, or the concept of one anyway. Let the meta-trends commence.
The paper bag belt
This is familiar territory to alt-belters – rather than waist-cinching, in that slightly twee 50s-frock look a la Lily Allen in 2006, they wilfully add fabric. The paper bag belt – where a fabric belt is knotted over gathered fabric – has been seen on the catwalk from brands including Tibi and Philip Lim and on Kendall Jenner, Victoria Beckham and Rihanna. The message? “I am far too interesting to concern myself with any waist-trimming devices but – would you look at that? – slim enough to not have to care.”
The jumper belt
A classic of alt-belting and one that has a DIY appeal for lazy people who don’t want to carry a bag but might get cold later. It’s also a bit sporty, or the kind of thing that implies you’re on the go and need clothes that might, on their job description, be required to multitask and think outside the box. The Jenners favour this, as people there to walk around having their picture taken, but the ultimate box tick for the jumper belt is Phoebe Philo. The Celine designer is watched like a hawk for what she wears for her post-show bow and, for spring/summer, this was an outfit with a grey jumper tied around her waist. Just like that, the jumper – seemingly the easiest version of the alt-belter – became the alpha choice.
The tail belt
Vetements’ Demna Gvasalia likes things awkward – any student of fashion right now knows that. His use of belts in the spring men’s collection is a case in point. Fairly unremarkable on paper, they were designed to really bug any neatnik, with the excess trailing happily at the model’s side rather than being tucked into a belt loop. As such, this is the alt-belt way to rebel, and drop out of the conventions of getting dressed. Basically, do this to channel your inner stroppy teenager. It’s the sartorial equivalent of an eyeroll and, yes, it is supposed to look like that.
The corset belt
You wouldn’t imagine that Miuccia Prada takes much inspo from Kim Kardashian, but her autumn collection suggested otherwise. Most of the models on the catwalk wore corsets as belts, clearly referencing the waist trainer that Kim Kfamously wears for up to eight hours a day, often posting selfies of herself in. But, if Kardashian’s habit is designed to make her waist slimmer, Prada has a different take on things. For her, the corset is “a symbol of a woman and of a woman’s life … the woman has been happy or unhappy, who has had love and no love.” Like we said, there’s a hell of a lot more to alt-belting than belts, guys.