For many distributors, the holy grail of apparel programs comes when they can expand single-item sales into multiple-product deals. One product that can be used to build upon? Belts.
They are both fashionable and functional and have a long history of use. The earliest form of belts was used to hold tools and weapons for foraging and hunting. As they evolved, belts became decorative, while also remaining practical. The belt replaced suspenders as a more comfortable way to hold up men’s trousers, for example.
Today, they’re an important part of uniform programs. “Really any uniform program should include a belt,” says Taraynn Lloyd of Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752). “It’s an accessory that completes the style. Belts are most often used in programs where the top is required to be tucked-in. This may include uniform programs for banks, customer service, museums, retail, security, medical offices and hotel properties.”
When isn’t a belt an essential part of a uniform? Lloyd says they aren’t necessary when an apron is worn over pants (such as a restaurant server) or when shirts are typically worn untucked (like an amusement ride operator).
To simplify the sales process, Lloyd suggests that distributors look for something basic. “A smooth leather belt with a simple closure is best,” she says.
Choosing a unisex option further simplifies the ordering process, and a version with alpha sizing (small, medium and large) rather than waist sizing (choosing a 36-inch belt to fit a 34-inch waist) keeps the program uncomplicated.
Edwards Garment’s most popular belt styles are a smooth leather belt with a nickel buckle closure in either brown or black. For 2014, the supplier has introduced three new belt styles. A reversible leather belt for men has brown on one side and black on the other. For ladies, there is a skinny leather dress belt. “The thinner width has a more feminine look,” Lloyd says.
A final thought is to keep your mind open as to which garments need a belt. Beyond pants, belts work well for dressier shorts with belt loops and for skirts in women’s wear. When you do, you’ll find the belt to be a positive force for your sales as well as for fashion.