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Should You Wear a Belt with Jean Shorts (Men and Women)?

So, if you want to know when to wear belts with jean shorts, keep reading. Keep in mind as you read that these guidelines apply to both men's and women's shorts.

A photo of womans back in jeans short.

Should you wear a belt with jean shorts? Well, if you want the shortest answer, let me answer a question with a question: Do you want to wear a belt? If yes, go for it. If not, skip it. 

“But it’s not that simple!” a lot of people might say. And I get it. I realize that when it comes to fashion, the answers can get more complicated than I want them to be. Not all clothing types are considered appropriate for all scenarios. 

So if you want some specific tips for when to wear belts with jean shorts, read on. As you read, keep in mind that these tips work for both women’s and men’s shorts. 

Jean Shorts Give You Versatility

A photo of shorts with belt, hat and sunglasses for summer.

The good news is that jean shorts are very versatile. You can wear them to a lot of places, depending on how you wear them. You can dress them up, dress them down, or just throw on a pair of jean shorts before you run out the door. 

For that matter, belts are also versatile. They come in many shapes, styles, and colors. 

The point is that you’ve got a lot of wiggle room, here. When it comes to wearing belts with jean shorts, there are plenty of suggestions but no hard and fast rules. Take some time to really get to know your own style. Find what you like in a pair of shorts, decide what you want your belts to look like, and make your fashion decisions from there. 

When to Wear a Belt with Jean Shorts

A photo of old jean short and old belt in the wooden floor.

So, when should you wear a belt with jean shorts? Well, for all practical purposes, you should wear a belt any time your shorts are getting loose. Denim tends to stretch over time, so it wouldn’t hurt to have a few belts, just in case. And no matter the occasion, wearing a belt will always be preferable to hiking up your shorts every few seconds. 

But are there any other reasons to wear a belt with jean shorts? Absolutely!

Jean shorts can straddle the line between dressy and casual. Overall, they lean towards laid-back, but you can definitely dress them up for a more put-together look. That’s where a belt comes in. A nice leather belt can add a level of dressiness to an otherwise casual outfit. Often, it’s the little things — like belts — that make the difference in an outfit. 

“Shorts are the king of casual, so you’re often wearing your shirt untucked and don’t need a belt, but if you’re looking to polish up your summer style, try tucking in your button-ups and adding a belt,” explains Jennifer D. from Stich Fix. Jennifer was referring to men’s clothing in particular, but the same concept applies to women’s clothing. When in doubt, just ask yourself how casual you want to go. 

You can also wear a belt with jean shorts if you want to add contrast to your look. For example, let’s say that you were wearing black jean shorts with a black shirt. You can break up the monochromatic look with a brightly-colored belt. 

A similar idea applies when you add other accessories to your outfit. If you carry a purse or wear a hat, why not add a belt of the same color? 

Belts also work well if you’re wearing a form-fitting shirt or if you tuck in your shirt. They tend to pull the whole look together. And of course, if you’ve tucked in your shirt, that means that people can actually see your belt, which should probably play into your decision. 

When to Skip the Belt

A portrait of a woman wearing white top and a jean short.

There aren’t a lot of reasons to skip wearing a belt with jean shorts. Again, “I don’t want to wear a belt” is a perfectly valid reason not to wear a belt. But if you do want a belt for your jean shorts, there aren’t a lot of scenarios that will make that choice inappropriate. Almost always, if a garment has belt loops, it will look good with a belt. 

That said, there are a few scenarios when you might avoid wearing a belt with your jean shorts. The first, of course, if your shorts don’t have belt loops. If they don’t have loops, then they were designed to be worn without belts, anyway. 

Next, skip the belt if you’re going for a casual appearance. Belts almost always add a dressy or professional quality to an outfit. They don’t work well if you want a relaxed, laid-back look. 

And finally, you can skip the belt if you’re wearing an untucked shirt. If your shirt goes past your belt loops, then a belt adds nothing to your look. Unless you need a belt to keep your shorts up, there’s no real reason to wear one. 

What Kind of Belt Should I Wear with Jean Shorts?

Broadly speaking, you can find two kinds of belts. Some are dressy. These belts are meant to be worn with suits and similar outfits. Others are more casual. As Aaron Marino explains in Business Insider, “Casual belts are worn with casual pants like jeans, chinos, khakis, and shorts.

They are typically wider than formal belts, and can range in width up to the width of the pants’ belt loops.” Casual belts are the ones you’ll want for your jean shorts. Dress belts can look out of place.  Other than that, there really are no limits. Try on a few belts to find the one that you like best.