I've stayed away from belts on things without belt loops for a few years now, as it's my understanding that cinching not-so-shapely tops and dresses has become the fashion equivalent of "Put a Bird on It." But! I tried it out tonight just for fun and I think I like it. Am I mistaken? And if so, what am I supposed to do with all my awesome belts (i.e., this one, which is vintage Moschino and features two female symbols spelled out in rhinestones)?
Thank you for writing in, Liz! First off, I have to say that belt is AMAZING! What a totally awesome find. It deserves to be worn as much as possible. To answer your question, yes, there is indeed a plague of "unnecessary belting" currently sweeping over the world. You see it everywhere from the windows at Forever 21 to the Burberry runway shows in London. For years we have been taught that belts can instantly shjoosh up an outfit: a suit, a kicky coat, a button-down shirt worn with jeans, but unfortunately these have all been lies. Belts have indeed become the equivalent of "Put a Bird on It."
Having said that, a low-slung belt over a flowy dress is generally a good idea. Whether it's short or long, the sleek lines of a slightly voluminous dress instantly benefit from the streamlining a belt provides. Stay clear of cuts that won't cut your body into additional pieces when you add a belt. Empire waists for example, should not be paired with belts as it interrupts the intended silhouette of the dress and makes you look awkward as you're chopped into boobs/upper stomach/rest of your body. The less distraction your eye has as it's moving down, the better. For this same reason, you should avoid wearing a waist belt when wearing a hip-slung skirt or pants, splitting up your lower torso between your waist and your hips is just rarely flattering.
These are the simple secrets of belting your outfits; keep your silhouettes as elongated as possible and never use a belt if it's breaking up your look into 3 separate shapes. Your look, Liz, gets an A+!