I own a multitude of stupid accessories. The bulk of them are belts, which I literally never wear. So why did I buy them? Probably due to some J. Crew ad that told me I would look cute/cool/pretty/hip if I just wore a skinny belt. I basically live my whole life wanting to dress exactly like a Crewcuts kid.
Those children are always hella hip. Perfectly, artfully disheveled, wearing fancier, more expensive clothes than I'll ever own in my life. There was never a sliver of hope that I'd look like one of them, ever. But still, I keep buying the belts. It's practically a fetish. Granted, most of them are on sale when I get 'em, like this winter-white beauty I'm currently contemplating:
I was just recently wondering what I could possibly do with them when I ran across this article wherein J. Crew's ex-lead stylist, Marina Dobreva, showed me exactly what I should be doing with all those stupid belts that are taking up room in my closet. Latch them together and double them up!
It's so simple, it's ridiculous. Just go into your closet, pull out any two belts you can manage to marry to each other, and carry on with your bad self. The only caveat is that they need to have regular old buckles. Hidden closures or peg-in-hole belts won't work. Marina used two belts that really complimented each other, but I'm more of a clasher -- so I purposely picked two polar opposites.
You can do this with any two (or three, if you're adventurous) belts you can manage to hook together to make one super long belt that wraps around your waist twice. If your belt doesn't have enough holes, get yourself a professional belt hole punch from the greatest store on earth, Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. (If you've previously been using a hammer and nail to make holes in your belts, your bandaged thumbs will thank you.)
After I started doing this to my own belt collection, I realized the reason why I wasn't wearing all those skinny belts: They were just far too classy for me when worn singularly. But the double-belt look throws shades of "outlaw gunslinger in an old-timey western" or "early 1980s hair metal rocker," my two main go-to fashion styles.
I'm a costume designer by trade, paid to come up with snappy things to do with clothes and accessories. So why didn't I think of this idea myself? Probably because I didn't spend years learning clever preppy styling tricks at the feet of Jenna Lyons, creative director of J. Crew. This easy, smart little idea proves having cool style isn't about spending money at all -- it's really just about looking at regular old things in a totally new, different way.
(PS -- Marina Dobreva, the stylist whose trick this really is, now provides personal styling and wardrobe upkeep services to everyday people, if you happen to live in NYC and are very, very fancy. Check her out!)
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.