Obi La Di Obi La Da: The Season’s Best Belt Alternative

Post by TM

I have a love hate relationship with belts. I love them because they keep my pants up, I hate them because I’m always forced to ruin mine with a corkscrew (to create extra holes, you see.)

Belt fashion has not stayed stagnant in ages. One season it’s skinny, the next it’s practically a corset. I think the best way to wear a belt is the pure and simple man style – think Emmanuelle Alt, her editor friends and er, actual men.

The next best way way – skinny or wide belts are terrible investments (I have hundreds of them)  – is to wear an alternative like a robe, or a sash, or an obi.

obi gucci stylecom

Obis are sashes of the Japanese persuasion. You know them of course, from all of those traditional images of geishas, but fashion is not willing us to don long gowns and tie cushions to our middles, this season anyway.

obi Isabel Marant stylecom
Isabel Marant

The 2015 obi look is not strict. It’s hardly even obi really.  But it’s not a belt and it’s not a rope so that’s how we shall see it. Probably (definitely) what makes it obi like is what it has been paired with. Even though you can wear your obi with any top – it looks quite cool with a shirt – Isabel Marant, Marni, Philip Lim, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen et al coupled it with its natural accomplice, the kimono.

Obi MArnie stylecom

Last year the kimono was big news and so that explains why 2015 has turned full on Japanese. This year’s juxtaposition of structured but loose attire is easy on the eye and easy to wear. It’s simple, flattering and chic.

obi philip lim stylecom
Philip Lim

My favourite thing about this trend is that it’s not a trend. Ok, it’s trendy right now but these pieces of material can stay in (and be taken out of) your wardrobe for ever. They are the perfect accessory to pick up right now if you need to update an outfit or have an event to go to for which you can’t afford an entire ensemble.

obi jw anderson stylecom
JW Anderson

You might as well pick up a few different versions. A Gucci-esque edition will take you all the way to Christmas, a long, thick dressing gown affair, like the one from Marni will go with dresses, jeans and your Judo kit. A leather number? Well, you’ll find lots to do with that.

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