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Belting Options for Work Pants - Which is Best?

Chris Doolan - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You'd have to be a lucky man to find a pair of work pants that fits just right, with nothing more than the zip and button holding them up ... and even luckier to then have your waist stay the same size before and after lunch, and from month to month! Belts are a necessity for work pants, and there are quite a few options. We look at some of the more popular ones, and what purposes they are suitable for.

Elastic belts

The elastic formulation that these belts are made from is worlds away from the ribbed stuff in your boxers that ends up warping and losing stretch after a few washes. You can find elastic belts that have infinitely variable clasps (usually a toothed clamp that holds onto the exact millimetre of elastic you want it to), as well as some models that have a traditional belt's clasp area (holes and a buckle), with an elastic body. Here are some of the positives of using elastic belts with your work wear:

  • Comfortable for sitting as well as standing - that extra bit of give in the belt means that it won’t cut into you as much when you’re sitting down at the end of the day, doing paperwork
  • Comfortable for odd positions - crawling under and around things, stretching and twisting
  • Minimize belt loop stretch - that familiar peaking of the fabric of your belt loops on a favourite pair of work pants is minimized with elastic belts, which grip the fabric under them and rely less on the loop to hold them in place.
  • Most elastic belts have infinitely variable clasps, making for a great fit no matter how much your waistline changes.
  • Sleek look that translates well to a night out at the pub.
  • Some people feel they're cooler than leather belts.

Elastic belts for your work pants are comparable in price to leather belts - if you go for a quality brand, there really is no cost difference. The wearing of elastic that you find if you use the same place on the belt everyday is similar to the indents that leather belts develop when used at the same hole every day. However with elastic belts for your work pants, these tend to develop less quickly - you'll use a slightly different position most days.

Normal leather belts

Some men will remain leather belt devotees - they definitely have their own advantages in some situations. While genuine leather (especially with options like braiding or colouring) will tend towards the more expensive side, there are a couple of advantages over elastic belts:

  • For the style-conscious, there are more design variations with leather belts than with elastic
  • Leather belts can be oiled and waxed to get the same flexibility and durability that elastic belts have.
  • Leather belts have a more traditional look, and are a natural material - this will remain a preference for some workers.