Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Obi Belts

When it comes to accessories, bags and shoes tend to steal all the glory. However, I think belts are just as important. They have the power to totally transform the shape of your outfit, and they can make your look go from lackluster to amazing in mere seconds. I believe good belts are worth investing in--you'll have them for years, and they can really elevate everything else you're wearing. I have belts of all colors and shapes, from basic black and wide to skinny and metallic, and with all manner of embellishment. I tend to throw my accessory conservatism out the window when it comes to belts--I'll wear studs, fringe, crazy colors, etc. The latest style I have my eye on, however, is the somewhat understated obi belt. Based on the belt of a traditional Japanese kimono, obi belts are extra wide, worn at the waist and tied wherever you like. They have an incredibly flattering effect of cinching in and drawing attention to your waist; if you're thick through the middle like I am, they're a godsend. The good news is that you can find obi belts at all price ranges, and there are some great budget options too (some even in real leather!). Let's tie one on, shall we?

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Like many women, I worship at the altar of Isabel Marant, and so I love her show belt. It's a very thick four inches wide, so it's not good for the short-waisted gals out there, but the detail and buttery leather on this style is really to die for.


This Valentino belt is a more ladylike interpretation of the trend--it ties simply in front, and other than the contrast piping, it's really quite simple. But this proves that there are many ways to wear a trend, and it doesn't always have to be literal.


This Karen Zambos belt can be worn several different ways, which I always love. (It's like multiple belts in one--see how I rationalize that?) It also looks a bit more streamlined than some of the other styles, which is useful if your style tends more toward the minimalist.


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I feel like my mom had a belt very similar to this Halston Heritage style back in the '70s; it has a definite disco vibe to it. At 5 inches wide, this one definitely makes a statement, but since it's more sash-like than some of the others here, you can pretty much customize it to create your own fit.


At 1.5 inches, this Sachin + Babi wrap belt seems incredibly narrow compared to some of the other styles featured here, but I think the width makes it more versatile. Plus, you can always wrap it to make it seem wider--at 118 inches long, it should go around your waist several times.


This Isabella Oliver belt has a unique corset-inspired design, which gives it a sexier, more polished look. I think this would be great to add to a sheath dress, taking it from a day at work to a night out.


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This Urban Outfitters belt is from its recycled Urban Renewal project, which means what you get might not look exactly like what's pictured (nor does it seem can they guarantee what the belt is made out of). Still, the price is very reasonable, and the way it tapers at the side looks very vintage-inspired.


This ASOS belt is reportedly leather, which makes its roughly $30 price tag seem almost too good to be true. Even if it's faux, the styling is very classic and versatile--this is a solid obi belt.


I saw a version of this Limited belt at its press preview a few months ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. This style has topstitched faux leather on one side, which is a nice detail, and it reverses to satin, so you can wear it on dressier occasions too. This is exactly the kind of belt that really makes your outfit stand out. And two belts (in one) for $34.90 is an amazing deal, if you ask me.

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