Like most accessories, belts have gone from being a practical tool that maintained the height of your pants to more of an aesthetic surplus. How many of us are owners of several belt styles based solely on the way they look?
I've never had an issue with getting the waistline of my pants to fit, but that hasn't stopped me from wearing a belt nonetheless. Somehow, it just adds something extra to what I'm wearing.
It seems that "extra" is being left behind in favour of a more streamlined, cleaner look.
That's not to say that belts still don't serve a purpose. By all means, if you find your favourite jeans regularly gaping in the back or simply prefer the comfort of additional support then wear one with pride.
But the days of wearing a belt for the sake of an additional style feature are over.
Harry high pants
A recent story in The Telegraph, London was astonished that Prince Harry, fifth in line to the throne of England, dared to make an official appearance without the presence of a belt. The audacity!
He'd also ditched the tie, so there was a lot going on but the main sticking point was the lack of leather around his midriff.
Is this the future? Will the beltless men inherit the earth?
Loop the loop
A common rule with belts is, if your pants have belt loops then you should be wearing a belt. Regardless of whether or not you need one. Which is a bit like saying that blue and green should never be seen or you're too old for that band T-shirt: both ideas that are redundant and limiting.
Menswear designers have increasingly begun releasing pants that forego the belt loop feature altogether. It's a design void that encourages men to become better acquainted with their local tailor to get a more accurate fit.
If you're surprised at this move towards a more streamlined and minimal silhouette you shouldn't be – it's been an inevitability from the moment we were able to ditch the tie in an office and it became okay to wear sneakers with a suit.
This increasing casualisation of menswear is one that is both a boon to blokes who aren't keen on the uniformity of the male wardrobe with it's rules and regulations but also a bane to bastions of fastidiousness who love its traditions.
But that's one the fun things about fashion, always turning its own rules on their head. What was completely unacceptable several years back is now widely loved practice.
So should everyone ditch the belt and join the ranks of the accessory-free? Not at all. Belts are still a great way to add a little nuance to your outfit, compliment your shoes or even break up the monotony of a tonal suit. Not to mention that whole helping keep your pants in place.
However there's also something to be said about the streamlined freedom of perfectly tailored pants, a sure sign of a man who knows how clothes are meant to fit. A suave perfectionism that lets the observer know that someone who is comfortable in their sense of style.
Fifth in line to the throne he may be, but Harry is clearly king when it comes to that.
Check out the gallery above to see which stylish men are ditching tradition in favour for a belt-free look, then tell us what you think in the Comments section.