Belt Loops Vs. Side Adjusters: Which do You Choose?

When suiting up for a formal occasion, the main concern is mainly not matching our dress shoes with the appropriate colour belts or for not wearing belts with our dress pants. Unless you have an unlimited budget for belts and shoes, it’s great to have a different solution for the conundrum: side adjusters. In this article, we will compare side-adjusters to belt-loops to offer you a better idea of their functions and how to wear them in the future. Side Adjusters: Pros and Cons


So, what exactly are side adjusters? Side adjusters are the fastings on the side of your pants that allow you to change the width of the waistband. This means that even if the width of your waist changes over time, you should be able to fit into your trousers comfortably. They are also traditionally found on higher-end dress pants and are rarely seen on jeans or chinos. Side adjusters gives the trousers a clean waistline, and are great on high-waisted bands or gurkha pants.


Trousers with side adjusters


Side-adjusters are trendy these days, especially for guys who do not like wearing a belt, and many love the convenience of not Available in a variety of metal, styles and colours. The metal side adjuster, as shown above (use another different picture), is the most common. When you pull the straps, you can tighten the waistband by acting as a pulley system. What it does is cause the extra fabrics on the waistband to fold on themselves in a subtle manner, reducing the circumferences of the waistband. For a vintage look, one can opt for a brass adjuster buckle or a matt black buckle for sleek look.


There are numerous shapes and metals that could be used for the buckles. The pulley system, however, works the same whether it is in a hexagonal, rectangular, or other shape. There is also a roller pin buckle where you can adjust the tightness of your waistband on the eyelets.

The buckle side adjuster has a significant drawback: you can only narrow the waistband but not the other way around. This means that when you first try on the trousers, make sure you are at your largest size so that you can narrow them down to 5cm on each side if necessary.


Button side adjusters

The button side adjusters are another type of side adjuster. This system usually has an elastic strip of fabric across the back of the waistband that you can tighten to the most appropriate button on your pair of pants.


Nevertheless, there are two aspects of this design that are quite limiting. For starters, it has fewer adjustments than the metal side adjusters. Although you may be able to extend the circumferences of the waistband, you are limited to a few 'preset' widths based on how many buttons you have. In other words, this falls into a similar category as belts to some extent.

The second disadvantage is that if you use low-quality elastics, they will lose their ability to 'bounce back' over time. Therefore, if you want to do something long-term, this may not be the best option.

There are numerous types of side adjusters available and some of the more unique designs attempt to draw inspiration from both metal and button side adjusters. Side adjusters are a matter of style and it’s an aesthetic element to the design of the trousers. More importantly, subjected to one’s lower body frame as well. As a rule of thumb, we would usually advise men who are a little on the rounded spectrum to go for belt loops instead of side adjusters - one, it is to hold the pants, two - belt loops can be worn lower, below the navel button whilst side adjusters are best for high-waist pants.


Belt Loops: Pros and Cons



You may probably be wondering why belt loops exist at all when side adjusters are easier to wear and highly preferred these days. Belt loops are more formal, and certainly classic in style, and give the wearer to change their belts style, design and colour to match the shoes or their ensemble of the day. One is for functionality, wearing trousers with belt loops keeps the pants’ waist and drape in shape and prevent the waistband from sliding down, which isn't very appealing.


The other is for a matter of styling. Good leather belt is one of the few men’s fashion accessories that men wear. It is not uncommon to see people wearing their dress pants with belts from luxury fashion brands. -- it’s less about functionality and more about style.

Nonetheless, Conclusion: Belt Loops vs. Side Adjusters

This brings us to the final question: what kind of trousers should you buy? It depends.

Belt loops are a good option for you if:

  • You have lots of belts and would like to put them to good use as a fashion accessory

  • You are a tall person who wishes to appear shorter by wearing a belt

  • You are bigger in frame and are more well rounded.

  • You prefer to dress formally


Alternatively, side adjusters are great for you if:

  • You prefer the convenience of being free at waist

  • You want to save the hassle of matching the right belt with the right pair of shoes

  • You are a shorter person and side adjusters will create an unbroken line that will make you appear taller

  • You are slimmer in frame and prefer the snug fit on the waist cut.


Belt loops vs side adjusters has long been a point of contention in the world of menswear. There is no definitive answer as to which is correct and which is incorrect; it all comes down to personal preferences. We hope that this article has given you a better idea of which one best suits your personality and overall lifestyle. If you need more information and ideas on how to wear your trousers, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


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