TL;DR : Measure your current belt from the hole that you typically wear it on to the point on the buckle where that hole sits when the belt is closed, then round this measurement up to the nearest even number of inches.
So for example if your belt measurement is 36” or 35” you would order a 36” belt.
Note: You can not reliably work out your belt length from your pants size, because your belt length can be anywhere from 4" to 8" larger than your pants size.
But there’s a lot more to it than that, read on to make sure that you order the right belt length for a perfect fit…
Measure from an Existing Belt
The fastest, easiest and most accurate way to find out your belt length is to measure your existing belt. The process is very simple and straightforward, all you need to do is:
- Lay your existing belt on a flat surface
- Measure from the hole that you typically use to the point on the buckle where that hole sits when the belt is closed
- Round this measurement to the nearest inch to find your belt length. If your belt length is an odd number, round it up to the nearest even number, then order your belt in that length.
You can take this measurement with any kind of measuring tape, a soft cloth or plastic tailor’s tape measure, a metal tape measure or steel rule from your toolbox, or even with a ruler if you have one that is long enough. This method also works well if you need to subtly measure someone else's belt length for a gift.
Measure Yourself with a Measuring Tape
If you don’t already have a suitable belt to measure from, you can measure yourself with a tailor's measuring tape or sewing tape measure. If all you have is a metal hardware store tape measure or a ruler this method is going to be a bit difficult for you and not very accurate, so it’s definitely worth finding yourself a flexible tape measure.
For this method of measuring you will need to put on the clothing you plan to wear the belt with and then measure around your body in the position where you will wear the belt. If you are going to wear the belt with jeans, pants or some other clothing with belt loops, then you should measure through the belt loops and not over them. Make sure that you measure with the tape snug but not too tight.
Round this measurement to the nearest inch to find your belt length. If your belt length is an odd number, round it up to the nearest even number, then order your belt in that length.
Calculate From Your Pants Size
Your pants size is NOT the same as your belt length, and you can not reliably determine your belt length from your pants size. Your actual belt length may be from 2" to 8" larger than your pants size.
There’s a general rule that belt length may be US Men’s pant size + 4 inches, so if you wear US size 34 you may be wearing a 38” belt. Unfortunately this is not always the case because there can be a huge difference in sizing between different brands and styles of pants. While the pants size + 4 inches formula can be a rough guide to working out your belt length, we do not recommend that you rely on this formula alone. It is always best to measure your belt length from an existing belt or by measuring yourself directly.
What Length Belt Should You Order
Hel Milano Hobble Belts are designed to be worn buckled to any of the first 3 holes. Our belt measurements are taken from the second hole and each belt hole is spaced 1 inch (2.5cm) apart, so if for example you order a 36” belt from us it will actually fit perfectly if your belt length measurement is from 35” to 37”.
It’s always better for your belt to be a little too long rather than a little too short, which is why you should round up your belt measurement and buy a longer belt rather than rounding down to buy a shorter belt, so if your belt measurement was 37” you should order the longer 38” and not the shorter 36”.
Hel Milano Hobble Belt can also be worn buckled to any of the other holes, not just the first 3. If for some reason you need to wear your Hobble Belt buckled tighter, you can simply tuck the tip of the belt under the middle section of the belt.
It’s important to note that you may wear your belt on a different hole when you wear it with different pants (skirt, kilt, whatever). Your belt length can vary quite a bit based on the thickness of the material your pants are made from and whether they are high or low waisted, so you should measure based on the pants you intend to wear the belt with.
If you want to wear the belt in different ways with different outfits, for example you may want to sometimes wear it around your waist and other times wear it on your hips, you should order the belt in the length to fix the larger of the belt length measurements.
If you intend to wear the belt with a holster, knife, pouch, or other attachment, this can also make a difference to which hole you wear your belt on. I often carry a knife on my belt during shibari performances, the knife I wear has a hard plastic sheath that sits under the belt (between the belt and my pants) and I find that I have to wear my belt 1 hole larger, meaning that this adds 1 inch to my belt length.
And finally, if you are having difficulty deciding between two belt lengths, always choose the longer belt.
So, now that you know how to measure your belt length, you can order your Italian leather Hobble Belt from HEL Milano with confidence that it will be a perfect fit.
What Width Belt Should You Order
Hel Milano Hobble Hobble Belts are available in 3 different widths, 40mm, 30mm & 25mm (1.6”, 1.2” & 1”). This is the width of the leather that the belts are made from, but the metal rings that join the 3 leather sections of the belt together are about 10mm (0.4”) wider. So if you are going to wear your hobble belt with clothing that has belt loops, you will need to make sure that the belt loops are wide enough to fit the metal rings and not just the leather part of the belt.
Generally men’s jeans and pants will have loops wide enough to fit our 40mm belt, however sometimes they will only fit our 30mm belt. Women's clothing is often designed with belt loops that are only wide enough to fit our 30mm belt, however sometimes they will fit our 40mm belt too. The only way to really be sure is to measure your belt loops and make sure they are wide enough.
Our 40mm Hobble Belts have 50mm (2”) wide rings. Our 30mm Hobble Belts have 40mm (1.6”) wide rings. Our 25mm Hobble Belts have 30mm (1.2”) wide rings.
A quick note for the British, Europeans and the Metric System inclined
When I was living in London I bought myself a few pairs of second hand leather pants from the market in Camden, I believe that they cost me something like 10 pounds each. I was quite impressed with my purchase and told my housemate about it when I got home. My housemate however seemed a lot less impressed and quite confused as to why on earth I was buying used mens leather underwear. You see, while “pants” generally means underwear in the UK, when those of us from Australia or the US say “pants” we’re generally talking about what the British would call “trousers”.
Before moving to Europe and then becoming a nomad, I grew up in Australia, where despite being entirely on the metric system we always measured our height (and certain other things) in inches. For those of you who don’t know, 1 inch = about 2.5cm, and the average length is 6 inches not 6 cm.
So, despite HEL Milano being a European brand, I’m an Australian which is why I’ve been talking here in pants and inches.