A belt may be one of the most versatile accessories you can add to your collection. Not only is it functional, it adds a punch of color or a splash of style to everything from skirts and cardigans to skinny jeans and blazers
But you don't have to spend a lot of money (or increase your carbon footprint) to copy the latest trends: From runway-inspired chains and tassels to simple hand-painted strips, you can make all of these belts at home.
1. Tassel Belt
So they took matters into their own hands to DIY this tassel belt inspired by Gucci and Sonia Rykiel. You'll need rope, leather, hardware compression nuts, wooden beads, and a few other basic supplies to make this fashion forward look yourself.
2. Ruffly Belt
Start with a wide ribbon and a few handmade fabric flowers; then group them together on the belt for a floral accent that doesn't overwhelm your outfit. They suggest using shades of white to use the belt as a wedding dress accent -- but you could also use all black to dress up a simple pencil skirt or choose your favorite jewel tone for the winter party circuit.
3. Draped Chain Belt
The idea is simple -- take a black leather belt and add chains that drape from front to back along the sides -- and the materials are easy to find (use a belt you already have to minimize the cost). Then pair the finished project with a gauzy, feminine skirt, a tailored trench, or a pastel dress for a striking contrast.
4. Skinny Button-Stud Belt
Wide belts may be gaining ground but skinny belts aren't going away: They're still a stylish way to accessorize dresses, cardigans, tees (and the occasional pant, too).
At I Still Love You, Melissa Esplin created a customized skinny belt with a button-stud closure using a vegetable-tanned leather strap that she painted with watercolors for a one-of-a-kind look. The end result is a single-stud closure and asymmetrical length that is entirely personalized (and totally wearable).
5. "Project Accessory" Matchstick Belt
On a recent episode of "Project Runway" spinoff "Project Accessory", the winning belt was a chain of linked matchsticks.
Former "Project Runway" contestant Laura Bennett shows you how to DIY each week's top accessory on the "Project Accessory" Blog: Here, she strung red glass beads onto beige and red cord and hooked the belt by a D-ring that connects two leather strips. (Bennet's DIY book, Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects That Look High-End, Not Homespun comes out in January 2012.)