Ordering A Leather Belt: How To Order The Correct Belt Size For You

Posted by Administrator on 4/11/2015 to Leather Knowledge
When ordering belts online there is sometimes confusion regarding the correct way to determine your belt size.   As there is no real hard and fast standard for sizing a belt (more on this later), you will sometimes find variations in sizing recommendations from one website to the next, one maker to the next, and this naturally leads to some possible sizing confusion.     

Unlike purchasing a belt in a brick and mortar store, you cannot try on the belt prior to purchasing, so must rely on sizing information provided by the selling website or belt maker to make the correct determination of which size is best.   This is especially important if you are buying a custom leather belt as most custom belt makers have a strict no return policy.  

Some belt makers will tell you to measure from the inside of the buckle, farthest from the belt tip, to the center hole.  Others tell you to only measure from the end of the leather that wraps around the belt buckle to the hole you actually use.  So which of these is measuring techniques is correct?  Some websites that sell belts will give you information about how they size their belts and you should follow their method and measure your belt size according to their standard.   If there is no belt sizing standard published on their site, we recommend you follow the methods below.  If you are unsure if this is correct for the sizing of the belts on their website, be sure to contact them before purchasing to find out their sizing standard.  

There are essentially two ways we recommend to measure for correct belt size.   

1.  Using a measuring tape, measure your waist at the point where the waist band of your trousers or pants will wrap around your waist.  Your belt size is not the same as your waist size.   If you order a belt the same size as your waist you will be ordering a belt that is likely too small for you.  You must add 2 inches to your waist measurement to compensate for the material of your pants, underwear and possibly tucked in shirts.   So, if your measured waist size is 34" then you should order a belt that is 36" in length.

2.  If you have a belt that you currently wear, lay it out nice and flat on a table and, with a measuring tape, measure the length of the belt from the end of the leather where it wraps around your belt buckle and the center of the hole that you put the buckle tongue through when wearing the belt.  This is likely the hole that is stretched the most and shows the most wear.   Do not include the buckle in this measurement.  This method of measuring belt sizes is used by most belt makers and will be correct most of the time, however, do be sure to check the website you are ordering from to balance this against their sizing method.   

correct way to measure belt size
Some belt sizing tips:

- Some people think that simply giving their pant size to the belt maker is the correct size for their belt.  While it might seem logical that your belt should be the same size as your pant size, there are some flaws in this way of thinking.   Aside from the fact that sizing sometimes varies between pants manufacturers, and certainly from region to region in the world, the biggest reason you should not use your pant size as your belt size is because of stretching.   As we wear pants over a period of time, they stretch.  We can actually grow our waist line and pants can and do stretch to try and keep up.   There are limits to this of course but you can realistically stretch your size 34" pants to hold a 36" waist and possibly more.   If you order a belt size based on the original pant size, you may find yourself with a belt that is too small.      

- Never measure the entire length of the belt leather and use this as your belt size.   This is not your belt size and will result in your getting a belt that is much too big for your use.
incorrect way to size a belt

- Never use an old belt's stated size for your current belt measurement.   Belts, like pants, tend to stretch over time and using the original belt size might result in getting a belt too small for your current use.  Always measure using one of the measuring techniques above to insure you get the correct size.  

- Some belt makers and websites instruct you to measure to the center hole on an existing belt.  This is fine if that is the hole you use most often and you have not gained or lost weight since purchasing the older belt.  Otherwise, it is best to use the hole you most often use, whether it is the center hole or not, for your belt size measurement.   

- Buckles should not be included* in measuring your belt size because they vary in size and shape and these may be different from the buckle on your current belt.   Although this method of measuring a belt is not the best, some belt makers do use it so be sure to check with the maker or website you are purchasing from prior to purchasing.  *note:  if a belt maker is making a custom belt for you, he may ask you to measure from the inside (point A) to the center hole or hole most used (point B0 of your current belt so that he can make an exact sized belt for you.   Some custom belt makers only make belts with one hole and this would give an acceptable measurement for that purpose only.
measuring belt size using the buckel 

- If you buy a belt as a gift for someone else, you should get an accurate current pant or waist size for the intended recipient before ordering.   With this measurement, add 2" to get their current belt size.

- If your waist size is an odd number it is best to add 3" to your waist size to get your belt size.   Belts are normally, unless custom made, sized in even numbered sizes.   e.g. 32", 34", 36", etc.  If your waist size is an odd number, and you add the suggested 2" to your waist size to get your belt size, you will end up with an odd number which you will not find in typical belt sizes.  We suggest adding 3" to your belt size to allow for growth and comfort.  If you only add 1" to your waist size, you might end up with a belt that is a bit of a snug fit now, and possibly too small in the future.

Below is a standard belt sizing chart that we have put together for your reference.   It includes both waist and pant sizes in the USA, European Union, Canada and Australia as well as belt size conversions for all sizes. 

belt and pant sizing chart


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