Thursday, July 19, 2007

UPDATE – Considering Ribbon Belts

Variation on a theme

Unfortunately for me I have always found ribbon belts too wide for my size.
That is, until I found this belt at Brooks Brothers which is a typical ribbon (or actually woven tie silk) belt BUT it is unlined so I can scrunch it down a bit to make it much thinner.

It takes the effect of Fred Astaire and his tie-as-belt look.
I will probably remove the d-rings and tie the belt kinda like Astaire but I think it will read more sporty and not too precious.


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  1. a lady

    July 18, 2007 at 10:11 am

    an alternative to the tie is also a bandana…fred wore a red one pretty much all through Funny Face, and it looked great. plus: no bow. he just left the little bits at the end loose or tucked in, and it looked very trim.

  2. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 10:24 am

    that is THE summer belt

  3. Iheartfashion

    July 18, 2007 at 10:27 am

    My husband has a collection of ribbon belts. I love them for summer with a crisp white shirt and no tie.

  4. Blue Floppy Hat

    July 18, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Ribbon belts were hugely popular on women’s clothing three years ago, but they look wonderful on men. Makes them look a bit dapper.

  5. winst

    July 18, 2007 at 10:51 am

    However, ribbon belts put out by Gap, Old Navy, and Aeropostale (with signature striped colors) remind me of my sporty high school, where ‘preppy’ was our means of existence.

    It takes a keen eye not to cross the line between secondary-American-all-boys-school and ‘sophisticated style’ as there can be a world of difference between two ribbon belts with just one or two subtle changes.

  6. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Picture 1,3 and the last lone one are ok.Much depends on the guy and the event if the ribbon belt works.

  7. iopine

    July 18, 2007 at 11:05 am

    I just LOOOOOOOVE Mr. Canary Trousers. Fred Astaire ain’t bad, either.

  8. Jocke

    July 18, 2007 at 11:09 am

    I really love the ribbon belts, but unfortunatly I can rarely find anyone in my size. (Can’t really find any belts in my size) which is wierd because I’m a 38″ waist. I guess we swedes are supposed to be tiny.

  9. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 11:12 am

    I like the ribbon belts, but keep the d rings, tieing the belt would be precious

  10. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 11:27 am

    my opinion — leave the rings on… tied is too much like a tie — particularly with the one you bought.

  11. daniqueconijn

    July 18, 2007 at 11:29 am

    fred astaire great dancer but major trendsetter!!
    love it

  12. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Be precious and lose the rings. Why not?


  13. Liz

    July 18, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    LOVE a guy in a tie or ribbon belt!

  14. Laguna Beach Trad

    July 18, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    I love ribbon belts. They look great with white ducks or khakis. Ribbon belts, as I understand it, are not meant to be worn with a neck tie. I believe English public schoolboys and Oxbridge students sometimes wore their school tie as a belt during sporting events. I think it looks a bit rakish and cavalier. And I am surprised any stylish man today would emulate Astaire, who was much too fey and precious, IMO.

  15. Butch

    July 18, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Ah, ribbon belts. A preppy marker, for sure.

    Odd the ways in which WASP couture went for color–the very vulgarity of some of the stuff was used, somehow, to salute distance from the garish, the showy. Sort of like stooping to conquer.

  16. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    What a great picture of Fred! And I disagree with laguna beach: Fred never looked too fey. Even my hockey-playing, cargo-pants-and-sneakers husband admires Fred.

  17. jeff

    July 18, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    hi all!

    i can’t seem to find solid ribbon belts or interesting stripes.

    i found some great striped ones in ptown.

    any suggestions for stores that sell solid or striped ribbon belts (aside from bb) in nyc or online?


  18. Cut of cloth

    July 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    I have just discovered a company that makes silk tie rugs, I guess there is surfate of ties out there. Certainly the vogue for ties on men has been less popular than it was in their heyday in the 20th century, Although the sartorial amongst us wear them as they were meant to be, maybe this new er rethink of this very traditional garb will encourage more tie wearers younger than 60.

  19. JO

    July 18, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for posting this pic of Fred! It is a great one! I love it!

  20. gregory-fb

    July 18, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Ever tried to keep your pants up with one of those things?

    If I’m very lucky one day I may be as cool as the gent wearing the peach blazer in the first shot.

  21. Fitzroy Davis

    July 18, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I do enjoy a good ribbon belt or silk tie belt myself. J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren I find make the best in terms of quality, color, and design. I’ve worn mine with my uniform (the school has quite a lax policy full of odd traditions) to add some color or interest, and always the comments have been positive, at the very least interested. I reserve the repp striped belts for more casual occassions where I pair them with a white polo, crisp khaki shorts, and Sperry Topsiders, whereas the more traditional crest embroidered belts work better with a blazer and tie (these can even contrast each other to some degree for more interest).

  22. jennine

    July 18, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    thank you so much for posting this, i have heard that fred astaire wore a tie as a belt, but i’ve never seen any proof of it.

    thanks love!

  23. Alice Olive

    July 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    I agree with Winst, there’s a fine line between highschool and ‘sophisticated style’. But the shots here and Mr Astaire carry it off well! A great way to individualise your outfit. I also think it’s more male than female. Perhaps the masculine version of a scarf? Go for it, gentlemen!

  24. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    these belts are far too saccharine. who can take a man seriously who sports a ribbon belt…A very boyish piece of flair…

  25. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I’m in love with the first picture…I just love men that can look good in pink!and he has that bill carradine bad look going on which really rocks!

  26. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    It’s nice to see Fred Astaire here, if everyone dressed like him the world would be a prettier place.
    And if they danced like him…well!!

  27. platinum blonde

    July 18, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    it looks rather striking on photo number 1 & I like the detail shot with the 3 different solid shades

  28. Iheartfashion

    July 18, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Ralph Lauren makes a nice necktie belt version and Paul & Shark makes a thin striped one that’s cool if a bit pricey…

  29. hannah

    July 18, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    sart, can we see more of the gentleman second from the top? i am intrigued by all that color!

  30. Vanessa

    July 18, 2007 at 4:59 pm great ribbon belts!

  31. Kriis

    July 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    what a wonderful blog…

  32. Candid Cool

    July 18, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    you just might be on to something here

  33. Gudl

    July 18, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    I love all the colors. That is really nice in summer!

  34. positively the same dame

    July 18, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    lovely photo of mr. astaire and his son. his daughter, ava, is a very good friend, and i know that she loves this site. i met her father only once, and he was one of the nicest, most self-effacing people you’d ever want to know. he was also one of the most elegant — a style icon if there ever was one.

    jennine–i could be wrong, but i believe you will see him sporting a tie as a belt in “royal wedding” in the famous number where he dances with a coat rack.

    laguna beach trad–sorry, but it’s impossible to imagine any stylish man — today, or at any time — who would not be thrilled to be compared to fred astaire. or women, for that matter. audrey hepburn often talked about how much she admired his taste in clothes, and then proved it in that incredible photo of her wearing his raincoat from “funny face”.

  35. positively the same dame

    July 18, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    on another note — it’s funny that this fred astaire reference should come up now because the gladiator sandal trend has so strongly reminded me of the barrie chase, fred’s dancing partner in his brilliant television specials.

  36. Anonymous

    July 18, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    I love ribbon belts. I’ve got one that’s brown with a blue stripe, which i wear with a blck suit and white shirt in the office. It sharpens the look. I’m totally preppy, so maybe that’s why I like it. (ps, I’m a girl).
    Love the bracelets on that man – brilliant. Takes a special guy to pull off soemthing like that.

  37. Blaise

    July 18, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    That’s a really nice belt, Sart.. I love the color orange..

  38. pat_bright

    July 18, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Yet another brilliant post; detailing how you would wear a certain look. I love it Sart!

    I have a few ribbon belts which I have bought, yet never wear. However, this post has inspired me.

    I also toyed with the idea a few years ago of making a ribbon belt by taking the rings off of a less expensive and wanted ribbon belt (ie, a $3 one from the Gap), and tailoring a tie to the right size, and attaching the rings.

  39. Maria Paz

    July 19, 2007 at 1:20 am

    The only genuine ribbon belt comes from the Andover Shop.

    I went to school down the street. If I were male and preppy I would shop nowhere else; it makes Brooks Brothers look like Tommy Hilfiger. My father says all his business friends go to Boston to get their suits tailored by the legendary Virgil, and we’re from New York.

    I don’t know if the belts are available on the website but if you go there, they have them in a million widths and with different buckles and they’ll cut them down for you.

  40. Laguna Beach Trad

    July 19, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Yes, Astaire may have been a nice guy. But when it comes to classic, masculine style, I don’t look to a puny male dancer for sartorial guidance. I find him uninspiring. The Duke of Windsor, Cary Grant, Gianni Agnelli, Luciano Barbera, among others, are more my style.

  41. E.

    July 19, 2007 at 2:33 am

    the guy in the top pic looks really good…

    and I quite like ribbon belts..

  42. Pargolo

    July 19, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Loved the photos!
    I wore boyfriends/brother’s stolen ties as belts through boarding school and college and grad school. Actually ran into someone last week who remembered me as: “Hey! you’re the intern who worked on the {redacted} case who always used to wear ties as belts!”

    I think using a tie as a belt isn’t precious – it’s doing what you document – people having their own individual style and expressing it.

  43. Anna

    July 19, 2007 at 8:01 am

    It looks ok some guys but I cant help but think of abercrombie in middle school when I see ribbon belts.

  44. william d. anderson

    July 19, 2007 at 8:32 am

    i’ve been looking at ribbon belts this summer too, and i cant get away from the notion that they are just too preppy, which to me translates too much toward elitist and exclusive, which in my mind rarely never seems attractive. if i could just find a simple black, mattish belt, i think i would prefer that with chinos and tshirts, but most of what i find is (like someone mentioned) signature stripes or dandy silk. when i find a good one, i’ll buy it. thanks for this post, its really the kind of thing i come here for.

  45. positively the same dame

    July 19, 2007 at 11:36 am


    style isn’t just about clothing and decor — being truly comfortable in one’s own skin has as much to do with it as anything.

    i met cary grant several times (i worked in the film industry and he was a good friend of my employer) and he was extremely charming and still very handsome, even at a somewhat advanced age. did he have style? no, not at all. he was beautifully dressed, to be sure, but that was all. mr. astaire, on the other hand — a great athlete, by the way — had it in spades.

    the day i met him he was wearing very casual clothing and had a cast on his arm, which he had broken skateboarding with some neighborhood kids — i believe he was around 80 at the time.

    what is it they say about talent? those who have it make great art; those who don’t become critics. i suppose the same could be said about style.

  46. Mr. December

    July 19, 2007 at 11:58 am

    I’m so glad you featured this, as I just got a wonderful pink/lime green/white ribbon belt from J.Press.

  47. Laguna Beach Trad

    July 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Positively the Same Dame – Thanks for your input, but again, I simply don’t find Astaire inspiring. I find him unmasculine. Perhaps it’s because of his small, fragile-looking physique, or the fact that he was a male dancer, I don’t know. But that’s the bottom line.

  48. Anonymous

    July 19, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    this is a comment about the pants and shorts issue of last week. The second ribbon belt photo prompts me to say, its not the length of the shorts but the width in the hip that makes it work or not. Your second image under ribbon belts today reminds me of the old jodhpur wearing Indians and British polo players and horsey people. The top of the pant or short is baggier and the shin is tight or removed for a short pant. I think its the width around the thigh that makes or breaks a summer pant, short or long

  49. positively the same dame

    July 19, 2007 at 4:49 pm


    you’re very welcome. it’s true — not everyone can be as virile as edward, the former prince of wales. if only!

  50. Anonymous

    July 22, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    50 comments and all of them about ribbon belts !
    Well, nothing wrong with the belts
    I guess they are African ???

  51. jeff

    July 23, 2007 at 10:34 am

    regarding the bracelets… i don’t know, but would love to get a bunch.

    are they available via street vendors? does anyone know where we can find these?

  52. senandung

    August 9, 2007 at 4:37 am

    ribbon belts makes u look younger, perhaps. & less stressful.

  53. biglakestyle

    February 1, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Ribbon about your waist size; the eye gravitates to the belt immediately no matter what else you are wearing; and if the waist has some know the rest

  54. Serpentine Belts

    September 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    have you heard of Applina? She specializes in handmade belts. The ribbons she uses to make these belts are fabulous! Fun! Fun!there may be no more universally recognized ‘preppy accessory’ than the grosgrain ribbon belt. I love them.

    Great post!


  55. goldpreise 2010

    December 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    An interesting dialogue is worth comment. I think that you must write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject however typically people are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  56. Alex Roy

    April 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Whatever the type of belt, when worn the right way it lends an unmatchable charm to the outfit of a woman. Ribbon belts are hugely popular and have started replacing leather belts in some fashion circuits. I found an amazing collection on Fascinators.

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