Beltgate 2011

This post is a little late coming (my bad!), but enjoy nonetheless. Last week, I attended the mayor’s holiday party in San Francisco. It was so much fun, complete with campy holiday entertainment, extravagant decorations, and very small–yet delicious–food.

[image from Jan Lundberg Photography]

While the event itself was a blast, my outfit preparation was no walk in the park. A little something I now call Beltgate 2011 occurred during the days leading up to the soiree. Here’s what happened:

[image from Jan Lundberg Photography]

I bought this classic black ’40s style dress from a consignment boutique (hard to see in the pic, but just wait). I liked the black satin belt it came with, but thought I could find a snazzier one. Maybe in a different color or something. Easy enough, right?

Well, easy it was not. After several trips to several stores around town, I came to the conclusion that a good belt is hard to find. I’m not talking daytime belts, but ones that have a little glamour to them. After many hours out and about, I did manage to find some solid belt options, and decided to turn my adventures into a post to help my awesome readers in case they’re ever looking for a fabulous fancy nighttime belt.

Here are the stores that offered the best ones:

For thick elastic style belts: Express, BCBG, Bebe. 

Yes, I realize these stores cater to a certain… look, but for evening-appropriate wide belts, I had a lot of luck. Just use a very critical eye when deciding on one. The less bling the better with these. The belt I settled on had no stone embellishment, which helped in making it look more tasteful.

For skinny patent styles: Kate Spade.

I found a darling bow belt there, which came in black, red, and African violet. The bow is supposed to be worn in the front, but it looks quite chic as a back accessory, too.

For silver and gold with a little retro bling: Anthropologie. 

Anthro was my last stop on the belt tour, and I found two amazing, retro-esque stretch metal belts there. They carry these beautiful brooch beltsthat would work brilliantly with a number of dresses.

For one-of-a-kind: Vintage stores.

If you’re truly looking for that special, nobody-else-will-be-wearing-it piece, I suggest shopping vintage stores. The belts are often reasonably priced, with a large variety to choose from. Check out Screaming Mimis in New York and Ver Unica in San Fran.

So, which belt did I end up wearing?? The one it came with. I know. I know.

[image from Orange Photography]

While I did love all of the options I hunted down, the satin one ended up offering the best fit around the waist. And fit is everything.

But I’m glad I went through the ordeal, as now I know exactly where to go for a night-out belt. And you do too.


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