Belts for Apple Shaped Figures

Belts. Should you or shouldn’t you? And if so, HOW? Belts are a common feature for casual and dressy outfits alike, but for apple shaped women, there are some additional considerations.

Here, we’ll plunge into when and how to wear a belt, and when it skip it.

What is a belt?

We all know this, but let’s think about it. A belt is usually a strap, made from fabric or leather, that cinches around our waists or hips.

Belts can be both decorative and functional. Decorative, by the designs embroidered, embossed, painted, or studded into them, or decorative by what they do for the silhouette of your outfit. Or, they can be functional – hitchin’ up the drawers, or a place from which to hang our tools or guns.


Who Should Wear Belts?

Obviously, everyone has occasion to wear a belt at some point in her life. Even if that occasion is your Halloween costume, or that one dress in your closet: it’s gonna come up.

Generally speaking, pear shaped and hourglass women wear belts the best, and the most often. For women with extreme difference between hip and waist measurements, it’s usually necessary to buy clothes that are too big for their waists, but fit everywhere else. They literally wear belts to keep their pants up, or to minimize the look of their dresses “tenting” around their waists.

More to the point, pear and hourglass shapes look GOOD by drawing attention to their midsection, and should do so whenever possible. Easiest, quickest way to do that is with a stunning, fitted belt.

But what about those of us not so keen on drawing attention to our waists? Is it still possible to wear a belt and look good?

Size Matters

There are big belts, medium belts, and skinny belts.

Avoid skinny belts at all costs. These are NOT for us. This means skinny leather belts, rope belts, and usually any metal-based belts are OFF the table.

Skinny belts will almost always have a “cutting” effect on your midsection and fail to do you any favors.

Medium and large belts can be appropriate for apple shapes. Under the right circumstances, they can even be slimming and flattering.

Each body is different and of course you will need to experiment to find your own sweet spot.

Generally speaking, a dark-colored medium or wide belt made from stretchy material (to minimize the “cutting into” effect) will give you more shape and illusion of a waist. This is especially true for apple shaped women of average and slim sizes.

For plus size apple shapes, we have to weigh and balance whether the belt draws MORE attention to our waists, or supplies more of an illusion that we have one.

Placement Matters

Not gonna lie, Apple sister. Belts that lie around our hips are generally a poor idea.

Women with long, thin torsos can get away with this look. Sure, it’s a little co-ed, a little youthful, but it can work well in some settings.

And for some shapes, particularly for women with long, thin torsos and slim hips, they can even benefit from this look because of the added dimension and balance the hip belt gives them.

But apples in hip-placed belts will just look boxy, boated, or worst of all: pregnant.


Good Belts for Apple Shaped Women

Here are a few belts that will work on most of us.

This is a leather belt with an elastic backing, and it’s wide enough for most apple shapes. It also comes in wine and black. This would look great over a boho dress, for example.

Here’s another that’s both wide enough and elastic, with a different design. The double clasp makes the belt look even more “cinching”, but the elastic will help you breathe without looking too corseted in and stuffed.

This would be suitable around your favorite tunic, or on your next safari. Who said rugged couldn’t be fun? the skinny belt overlay on this wider belt is not a problem, in a darker colored leather. Apple shapes should not, under any circumstances, wear a light-colored version of this belt over a dark or black dress: that would be the equivalent of wearing a neon flashing sign that says “FOCUS HERE’ around your tummy.

Thoughts on belts? Any positive or negative experiences with them? Please do leave your feedback, and I look forward to your insights.



33 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great information. I used to wear belts a long time ago, but I didn’t realize that they’re coming back into fashion. I like the looks of the wide belts. I appreciated the education on the type of belt would look best with either a dress or a tunic. This was helpful. I’m going to find a new outfit, which I can wear a belt with it. I like the look. Thanks for the excellent post.

  2. Great insight into belts. I used to love using belts years ago. After three kids the thought of having belts again as part of my fashion collection never crossed my minds. But it’s great to have a read on just belts and the types of belts to stay away from…Thanks for the insight.

  3. I love, love, love belts and when people started not wearing them, I thought I was in the Twilight Zone. I do not have an apple shape, but I am small and my pants hang a bit so I’ve never gone a day without a belt.

    I am a huge fan of buckles. They speak to the cowgirl in me. This was an awesome post and wide belt with the skinny belt overlay is really nice!!!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, belt buckles definitely make a statement, I like them too. glad you are into belts for functional AND decorative reasons!

  4. Hmm, I had given up on belts years ago. I figured I’d probably never wear one again. Once I became more of an apple, I felt like they made me look too chopped in half, or as you say, like I was wearing a neon sign. You have definitely made me rethink that. It’ll be good to have another accessory to play with, I tend to stay in my comfort zone and never try anything new.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback, Susie. The great thing about belts is that it’s easy to experiment: they’re inexpensive ad-ons that you can pair with items you already have. Hope you find some new inspiration!

  5. Really enjoyed your post on belts. What a fantastic idea to educate us on. To many times we as women don’t wear what is flattering to us and our body shape. If we only knew how good we could look by just complementing our body type. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kim! Yes, it’s astonishing how average or stunning we can look based ONLY on minor tweaks to our outfits. Gone are the days of tailors custom-making us our outfits head to toe, but with some thought and effort, we can get it right regardless of our shape!

  6. Thanks for this in-depth advice. It’s very practical. I used to wear belts but I found that they looked terrible on me but that’s because I didn’t wear any that actually suited my body shape like you say in your post! And yeah the pregnant look is not a good look unless you really are pregnant. Next time I go shoppping I’ll keep your tips in mind!

  7. I am absolutely loving that high-waisted jeans are coming back into fashion. The low waisted jeans look terrible on me and I couldn’t escape the ‘muffin top’ look. High-waisted jeans with a medium leather belt makes me look more balanced creating a more hour-glass shape. Certainly a lot more flattering!

    1. Very cool, glad that you’ve found a look that works for you! For many women (usually not apple shapes, though) high waisted pants are a godsend 🙂

  8. Penelope you are always so thorough with your posts and I feel confident that I can master things once you teach it to me! I am one who feels a little afraid of belts because I do not know how to work them right. I think this post has given me a clear vantage point on the yeses and the no no’s! I usually leave belts to my sister as I think they aren’t flattering to me but I want to try ones that are suited for my shape. Thanks for helping me to understand plus the photo of the lady in the blue looks fab!

    1. Thanks for that awesome feedback! I’m so glad we could inspire you to try something new – belts can be a lot of fun and really add something to your outfits 🙂

      1. Thanks Penelope, it’s good to know, I’ve stayed away from belts for quite a long time! I do actually have a funny negative story about it. I borrowed my sisters clothes it was this amazing outfit, and the belt she wore with it had these tassels on them. I was relatively young and really was not supposed to be in her clothes but I snuck them and went for a bike ride. The belt came loose somehow and one of the tassels got caught in the wheel of the bike. I plummeted into a building and ruined her outfit. Yeah she wasn’t very happy ?

        1. This is hilarious. Cursed tassels! I’m sorry that you have belt-associated trauma, maybe a good/creative hypnotherapist can walk you out of that one 😉 For the SAKE OF FASHION!

  9. To be honest, Penelope, I’ve never been best friend with belts. So, what shape am I? Since giving birth 17 years ago, my hips got much wider than in the past. That’s would be a pear shape, if it weren’t for the fact that in the meantime I’ve also starting building up a tummy. Which means a belt around my waist would make my tummy pop out even more. My take therefore is, if you wear a tunic or a boho dress, why cinch it? Any idea for a belt to so,vet my problem?
    Thank you.

  10. I do love a good belt. Perhaps I’m in denial about my shape and I shouldn’t do it, but I never fail to look in the mirror before I go out in public (judging by what I see out and about, I think some people forget to do this!) and I think it looks ok. I’m currently falling in LOVE with that red one the more I look at it, but…most of what I wear is black – would it be a bad idea having something so red on my dark mysteriousness?

    1. It all depends on how you feel – if you’re already comfortable in belts, and you like how you look in them, I’m thinking the red on a black dress would be a great idea! thanks for the feedback 🙂

  11. I really love this post. I so ‘um and ah’ if I can actually pull off a belt and never really feel confident wearing them. I think it’s because I’ve always tended to go towards the smaller / thinner belts, which now makes sense why it doesn’t feel right. Will absolutely look into a thicker and wider belt. Thanks for the excuse for a shopping trip this weekend hehe 😉

  12. Great website! I absolutely love to read your articles. I have never been a belt person, but, now, you have me thinking twice. I have bookmarked for future reference.

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Try out some belts, you’ll be surprised what they can do for the outfit, as long as they are a style that is flattering for your shape 🙂

  13. Wow, Great information. I love the way you mentioned and compare the body shape with fruits and here recommending right belts for apple shape, you must have good sense of fashion. Superb work and keep it up, and yes, I am not logging off now, would love to read other articles on this site so that I can share with all my friends. Keep it up…

  14. I could never find a belt I liked. I don’t like to draw attention to my stomach because of being self-conscious. I have a pear shape and I agree placement is so important. I gave up a long time ago trying to find a great belt but I thank you for your site it motivates me to look for something.

  15. Hey Girl,

    A good belt can really make or break your wardrobe.

    Personally, I do prefer medium sized belts. You’re spot on about small belts. They make me look like my belly is hanging out even more than it really is. I’m not chunky but have a little bit of extra weight if you know what I mean.

    I’m super short though. Like 5’0. I don’t like the huge belts because it looks really awkward on me, though. I do tend to go with grey or black belts most of the time because they go with most everything.

    What are your thoughts on grey and black belts though?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Rachel! I tend to like darker belts because they recede, which is helpful for us apple shapes when we’re putting anything on our midsections!!

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