Obi belt: Tie it all together
The Marc Jacobs spring collection stole the spotlight with its inspired mix of textures, prints, styles, eras and cultures. It was a lesson in styling, and one of its key pieces was the obi belt -- his were dark metallic and leopard prints -- layered over tunics and jackets.
An obi belt in a bright color or bold print can liven up a basic dress or tunic that’s been living in the back of your closet for years, changing its shape and flattering the midsection. It’s easy to wear and an unexpected addition to an ensemble.
You can achieve the obi effect with a wide belt, but be sure it’s fabric or flexible leather, so it won’t dig into your waist. What makes the obi unique is the wide panel that lays across the waist and the thin cords that wrap around multiple times for extra texture, so you won’t get the same effect with a large scarf that you’ve folded up and wound around your waist. That’s guaranteed to look more like a tourniquet than a stylish accessory.
Too much belt will make you look like a prizefighter, rather than pulled together, so if you’re short-waisted, buy a belt that is a little thinner or fold a fabric version in half. Be sure to place the belt at your natural waistline, not too high or low. Cinching it at the waist will accentuate curves rather than add unwanted width.
Keep the other pieces in the look low-key and fairly basic. This bright purple snakeskin printed version from Elie Tahari ties together a black sleeveless blazer, gray T-shirt and slouchy gray trousers. The focus should be on the belt -- too many patterns will look disheveled and confusing. Accent the angular lines the belt creates with bold, gold statement jewelry that has a slight ‘80s aesthetic.