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How to Measure Your Belt Size For the Perfect Fit: A Practical Guide

by Cristina Carrera July 01, 2021 5 min read

step by step guide for how to measure yourself for a tailor-made belt size with an Obscure Belt buckle

Belts are an important accessory for any outfit, but finding a well-fitting belt can be a challenge. The wrong size leather belt can make your outfit look sloppy or create an uncomfortable experience all day long. The best way to get the perfect fit is to measure yourself before making your purchase. In this blog post, we'll take you through how to measure for a new leather belt - from start to finish - so that you don't have any surprises when your new tailor-made belt arrives in the mail.

TLDR: Always measure yourself to get the best fitting belt. Buy belts that you fit in the middle of. Pants size ≠ belt size. Sometimes, belt size = pants size +2 inches, but the best way to get the right size belt to measure your waist.


Table of Contents



NO, your pant size is NOT your belt size.

The most common mistake people make when shopping for a new belt is assuming their belt size is the same as the number or letter size of their existing belt or pant size. This usually isn't the case because the materials modern clothes are made with tend to stretch and deform with use, and clothing manufacturers often use vanity sizing.

Belt Size = Men's Pant Size + 2 inches

The general rule for belt sizing is your men's pant size plus two inches equals your belt size (i.e. if your pants size is 32, buy a belt size 34; if your pants size is a 34, buy a belt size 36; if your pants size is a 36, but a belt size 38, etc). The reason you buy a belt size up from your pants size is to give yourself a few inches of room in case your body size ever changes.

Because of the vast difference in sizing between clothing brands, we no longer recommend only using that simple formula to get the correct size belt. A better method is to always measure yourself before purchasing a new belt. And remember: new leather belts tend to fit snug initially, then warm and mold to your body with use. The optimal belt size fits comfortably on the center hole, with additional holes in case your waist size changes.


How to determine belt size with a tape measure


  • Cloth measuring tape
  • the outfit you want to use your belt with (jeans, trousers, dress, etc.)
  • Mirror (optional)

Step 1: Put on the outfit you want to wear with your new belt. Pull your pants up to the height you typically wear them, tuck in your shirt if that is what you usually do.

Step 2: Weave the cloth tape measure through the belt loops of your pants as shown in the example. If you want a hip or waist belt, measure at your natural waistline or at the height you would typically wear the belt.

measure through the belt loops with your pants worn at a traditional height or wherever you typically do. 36 pants uses a 38 belt
Don't just go by your waist trouser size. Example if you wear it with a dress on your natural waistline or hips

Our belts can be worn with any kind of outfit - jeans, dresses, kilts, etc. Measure where you want to wear your belt. For example, if you wear it at your natural waist, measure there. If you wear it on your hips, measure through the belt loops of a pair of pants.

Step 3: Pull the tape measure snug, but not uncomfortably so. Take note of your measurement to the nearest quarter inch. It is important to get the correct measurement, so use a mirror or a friend to help if you need to.

Step 4: Consult the belt size chart. The belt sizes listed give a range of tightest to loosest that it can be worn. Choose the one that your measurement is in the middle of. Our goal is to make you a belt that fits snug initially and that you fit in one of the two middle belt holes. For example, if you measured your waist as 37.25 inches, buy a size 36 belt.

obscure belts standard belt sizing chart for mens belt sizes. If you wear a size 34 pants, buy a size 36 belt


How to order a custom belt size

If you can't find your size in our size charts or are just looking for a super perfect fit, we can make a custom size for you. Be sure to measure to the nearest quarter inch, not the nearest inch. The more precise you are in your measurement, the better the fit will be.

Step 1: Measure your body as described above.

Step 2: Select CUSTOM SIZE from the size options for one of our handmade leather belts. Write your waist measurement to the nearest quarter inch in the  section provided. Write something like: "I measured myself and my measurement is 37.25 inches." We will make a belt size based on your exact measurements, with a few holes bigger and smaller so you can continue to wear your belt if your body changes.

Leave your measurements in the order notes section. Every custom belt has 6 inches of size adjustment.

Can I just measure my current belt?

It is possible to find your belt size based on your current belt, but it is less accurate than other methods. Belts can be made of many different types of leather, and not all belts are made with the high quality full grain leather that we use. Braided belts and belts made with cheaper materials are especially prone to stretching and distortion over time. Don't measure a belt like these to find your belt size.


How to determine belt size from current belt

Here's how to find your belt size if you already own one of our cool belt buckles and thick leather belts. This method will also work to measure a belt with a traditional belt buckle.


  • Cloth or metal measuring tape
  • flat surface
  • your current leather belt

Step 1: Lay your leather belt out on a flat surface.

Step 2: Use the tape measure to get the belt length from the belt hole you typically use to the center of the hole in your Obscure Belt buckle. For leather belts with a traditional buckle, measure from your usual belt hole to where the prong touches the frame of the buckle.

The example below shows you exactly where to measure from on an Obscure Belts buckle or a traditional belt with your measuring tape. Always measure to the nearest quarter inch, measuring to the nearest inch is not precise enough.

measure from Obscure Belt buckle's connection point to the most used belt hole on a flat surface with a tape measure for an accurate measurement

Step 3: Consult our belt sizing charts. Choose the size from the belt sizes shown that your measurement is in the middle of. Our goal is to make you a belt that fits snug initially and that gives you flexibility if your body changes.


Congrats, you are now a belt fitting expert!

We hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the perfect fitting belt! If you're still unsure of what size belt to order or have a question about measuring, feel free to reach out with any questions you have. We've been making our cool handmade leather belts since 2005 and know a thing or two about the best way to make the correct size belt.

Shop Our Handmade Leather Belts


If you liked this article, leave us a comment below or check out our other blog posts for more tips about leather belts, buckle designs, and more.

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