Obi belts have fallen in and out of fashion several times over the past few years, but they showed up again on the Spring 2015 runways. An obi belt is a wide belt that wraps around the waist and ties without a buckle. This style was originally created as a sash for traditional Japanese kimonos, and historically could be as wide as 12". Sally McGraw showed us what they are all about.
- Traditional obi belts are made from cloth, and some are still available in silk or cotton. Today, they are more commonly made from leather, and much narrower than the style used to belt kimonos.
- Modern fashion obis can be one width along their entire length, or designed with a wider panel in front and slimmer ties.
- Obis tend to be very wide, which means they are challenging for short-waisted and big-busted figures. They tend to eat up your entire waist and torso, leaving you to look like boobs on top of hips. If a wide obi messes with your proportions, seek out a slimmer wrap belt.
- The runway looks show obis over blazers and pants, but the easiest way to style them is with dresses.
- Obis are a great option for anyone who finds that stiff, buckle belts dig in at the waist, or anyone who prefers a variable length in their belts. Great for folks whose weight is in flux.
Cloth obis can be sewn from scratch, and I've thrifted many of mine. But here are some options if you're looking for the perfect obi for your spring wardrobe:
1. Chestnut Cinch Petal Wrap Belt by Elizabeth Kelly London on Etsy, $65.
2. Plus-size Metallic Suede Obi from Lafayette 148, $168.
3. KRISP Faux Leather Obi on Amazon, $10.99. Available in pink, navy, tan, and scalloped designs.