It’s a Cinch! 6 Genius Ways To Look Instantly Slimmer Using a Belt

Meghan Blalock

If there’s one flaw with fashion’s favorite season, it’s that in order to stay warm during the brisk fall months, you simply have to bulk up. (Although, as we’ve seen, there are ways to stay warm without totally suiting up!) All that bulk can make a girl feel like she’s drowning in layers, and there’s very little room for femininity when you’re buried underneath a scarf, a leather bomber, and a hat.

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However, there’s these little things probably already hanging in your closet that will have a profound impact on slimming your silhouette and giving you an hour-glass shape. They’re called belts! Pretty much every stylish fall outfit is primed for belting already, since they tend to be long, relatively boxy, and comprised mainly of soft fabrics that are just begging to be cinched.

MORE: How to Tie a Scarf: 4 Chic Ways to Wear The Fall Essential

Pull out your favorite belt—whether it’s skinny, thick, black, brown, or any color you prefer—and try out the 6 genius tricks below to instantly make that waist look super-skinny. Happy belting!

belted sweater

1. Belt an oversize sweater on chilly, casual days.

At this point, you probably have an army of sweaters you wear on a regular basis. This trick works best on oversize sweaters that extend below your hips and have quite a bit of volume. Make sure you latch the belt tight right at the level of your natural waist.

belted blazer collage vintage

Photo via Collage Vintage

2. Belt your blazer at work.

For a work-appropriate belted look, try cinching in your favorite blazer at the waist. For a more conservatively-chic appeal, button the blazer first, then belt. For a more fashion-forward approach, leave the jacket open while you belt it.

shiona turinirefinery29

Teen Vogue’s Shiona Turini, shot by The Locals for Refinery29

3. Belt a flouncy dress for a night on the town.

Everyone has a dress in their closet that’s wonderful but is either a little bit big or just has extra fabric in weird places. Problem solved: put a belt on it! Again, make sure the belt sits right at your natural waist, then tug at the top half of the dress so the fabric hangs casually. This way, it looks like you literally just threw the belt on and didn’t fuss with it too much.

MORE: What to Wear With Leggings

4. Wear a statement belt with low-rise jeans.

This trick works by optical illusion. Adding a statement belt—one with a standout buckle, in a bright color, or perhaps an unapologetic metallic version—at the level of your hips actually serves to frame the waist. In other words: highlighting your hips makes your waist look smaller. Hooray for that!

belt peplum streetpeeper

Photo via Street Peeper

5. Create a peplum effect with a mid-rise belt.

This is a trick for the more fashion curious/brave. The still-popular peplum trend isn’t limited to blouses that are already cut in the silhouette—you can create the same effect yourself with a mid-length sweater and a skinny belt. Place the belt loosely right above your hips, over your sweater, and tug slightly on the fabric that hangs out the bottom to smooth out the look. Voila, instant peplum!

belted trench imaxtree

Photo via ImaxTree

6. Belt your big winter coat.

Last, but certainly not least, the best way to remove bulk from any standard Fall look that involves outerwear is to wear the belt on the outside of the outfit. After you’re fully dressed, wrap your favorite belt around your waist, over coats, sweaters, and whatever else you happen to be wearing. Think of it as the figure-flattering cherry on top of your cold weather-ready ensemble.