How to resize + fix a too long belt or purse strap

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Many of you probably already own a leather hole puncher (also sold at craft stores like Michaels), one of my holy grail tools featured a couple times on this blog! But after adding a perfect new hole, what to do with the unsightly belt tail that remains flapping against your purse strap or waist?  (especially if you like to wear belts over dresses that have no loops) Below are a few solutions on how to fix a too long belt strap, ranging from easy DIY hacks to professional fixes:

how to resize a belt leather hole puncher

1. Use a small clear or colored elastic.

Works best for: skinny belts or straps, or, black straps that are easy to match with black rubber bands. For the cleanest look, you want to use a rubber band that’s a snug fit and doesn’t need to be wrapped around multiple times. I buy packages of hair elastics that come with multiple sizes, in order to have the best size on hand for each strap width.what to do with a too long purse strap shorten

what to do with a too long purse strap

See clear hair elastics used above on my Gucci purse, and black elastics used below on belts:

how to make a belt strap fit better

2. Try a Belt Loopy

Works best for: wide leather belts that you wear over a dress or skirt. I ordered the Belt Loopy to see whether this was another “as seen on TV” gimmick, or an ingenious solution. Consensus so far is it’s in between, and works well for the specific situation I mentioned. These are basically wired strips of material covered in faux leather that you can bend and shape to create temporary belt loops. The strips are several inches long and work best on wider belts, otherwise you’d have to wrap them around multiple times.

If your leather belt is a good color match for one of the 4 shades, it actually looks pretty seamless like it’s part of the original belt! I also think these are best for a belt that you wear over a dress or skirt, since that means you won’t be buckling and unbuckling it throughout the day, causing wear and tear against the faux leather loop.

how to add belt loops for flapping belt tail

J.Crew Factory skirt 00 petite, Express blazer 00 petite + belt xs (now avail. in xxs!), H&M turtleneck xs

Sidenote, the double ring belt I’m wearing above JUST got restocked in XXS for both gold and silver! This should fit someone similar to me in size without adjustments needed. I have the XS which runs a little big (holes measure 27″ to 31″) since I didn’t know there would be a restock. The faux leather is weighty and good quality and the belt has a lining along the interior. And if you’re looking for a designer belt that fits narrow waists without adjustments needed, the Gucci belt I reviewed in this post starts in size 65 which would suit a 22″ to 23″ waist (I wear a size 70).

3. Style the tail into a single or pretzel loop.

Works best for: skinny belts with just a few inches of extra length (for a single loop) or a long tail of excess length (for a pretzel loop). I especially like these looks on braided skinny belts!

white flare A line dress elegant work outfit

The single loop – outfit from this blog post

BW DVF dress tutorial
The pretzel loop – outfit from this blog post

4. Have a cobbler shorten the strap.

Works best for: when you want a perfectly-fitting belt, or when you don’t want to punch extra holes into your belt and end up with a long row of holes. A cobbler will usually cut and refinish the strap, sometimes from the buckle end and sometimes from the tail end, depending on the fit situation and design. For belt / strap shortening, I’ve been quoted a range of $5 to $40 depending on the complexity of the job.

Which of these solutions have you tried? Please feel free to share any other tips!

how to shorten or fix a too long belt

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  1. Bonnie Chakravorty wrote:

    Where can I find the belt loopies ? I bought some a few years ago on Amazon- they are not selling them now. Also- do you use the clear hair ties as belt loops too? Thanks !

    Posted 8.23.23 Reply
  2. Lexi wrote:

    Thank you for the different ways to put excess belt ends

    Posted 6.24.22 Reply
  3. Nancy wrote:

    Another good option is to use thread for a strap that you’re not going to resize often, like a purse strap. Very easy to color match and the thread is so thin you can wind it around a few times and it will still look fine.

    Posted 12.3.21 Reply
  4. Emily H. wrote:

    The clear elastic idea to bind the excess strap end together is brilliant Jean!! Thanks so much for sharing. I can’t believe how much it’s transformed something I didn’t even realize looked sloppy until I saw it look better.

    Posted 8.10.21 Reply
  5. Jessica Acquard wrote:

    Jean I was just in the process of buying the leather punch bc I remembered you posted about it a while ago and this was suggested to me. Have you ever tried one? Obviously the end wouldn’t be finished, but could work!

    Posted 2.10.21 Reply
  6. YP wrote:

    I absolutely liked the idea of an elastic band tip to fasten the loose “tail”. If I could improve on the tip, I’ll add on a small brooch to hide the elastic band. 😉

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply
  7. Waffles wrote:

    With my black belts, I usually measure and sew the thin elastic (like the kind in the sewing section and it comes in different sizes and not hair tie kind, a hair tie looks kinda “bulky” on a belt vs a thin “flatter” elastic) and sew it together snug so it looks like a tiny hair tie for your pinkle finger (or whatever size your belt is) and put it thru the belt to keep the extra long belt tail put and hang on to.

    Posted 12.10.20 Reply
  8. Michelle wrote:

    This is really helpful! I want to get the Belt Loopy, but Amazon doesn’t ship it to Japan. 🙁

    Posted 6.5.20 Reply
  9. Sunny wrote:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to stumble along this site. I’m 5’1 on a good day and this is perfect. Thank you.

    Posted 5.21.20 Reply
    • Sunny wrote:

      Oh and I am a size 5 in shoes. It’s a hard size to find.

      Posted 5.21.20 Reply
  10. Eileen wrote:

    I have many of these fit issues as well, i didn’t know about the belt loops, I have used elastic bands also. I can cut leather to fit, but the loop isn’t always there. I have a hole punch, and use it a lot on belts and bags. Thank you SO much for taking pics of correct tailoring, I can take the pic to the tailor! I had a $1000. 00 Vince leather jacket butchered buy a Nordstrom tailor, who cut the sleeve completely off close to the elbow, shortened, and reattached. I couldn’t bend my elbow, and the inside lining was bunched up. I refused to keep the jacket, eventually, I got a refund. Ouch.

    Posted 4.15.19 Reply
  11. Wendy wrote:

    The elastic hack is genius! It drives me insane all the time when the purse strap sticks out. I have retired bags after wearing it once because of this. your trick with the elastic tie will put my ocd personality to rest and I can wear all my retired bags again!:)

    Posted 4.12.19 Reply
  12. Joe wrote:

    I like that these are very easy to do methods of adjusting a long belt/purse strap. And the step by step screenshots provided are so helpful!

    Posted 3.1.19 Reply
  13. AJ wrote:

    I have also used the pretty satin elastic hair ties on purse straps and belts in a more casual application. Try an accent color to go with your outfit.

    Posted 2.26.19 Reply
  14. I-Rod wrote:

    For a purse strap that I know I will not need to readjust once I determine the correct length for me, I use a leather punch and a screw stud rivet. These come in “button round” and “cap flat” shapes and in gold, brass, silvertone, and black finishes. They look professional and take less than 20 minutes to install. Please do not cheapen the look of a nice handbag by using an elastic band. A round, ID badge magnet, a thin piece of mounting tape, or even some cleverly disguised double-sided tape would make a better solution in a pinch!

    Posted 2.20.19 Reply
    • Ava wrote:

      Please post a video of how to put the elastic on the purse strap. Need help with that

      Thank you:)

      Posted 3.17.19 Reply
    • Eileen wrote:

      Great tip

      Posted 4.15.19 Reply
  15. Brandy wrote:

    LOVE THESE TIPS! This problem has been bothering me for so long! #petiteproblem

    Posted 2.20.19 Reply
  16. Jojo wrote:

    Why did I never think of the hair tie one!?

    Posted 2.19.19 Reply
  17. Maya wrote:

    Love your tutorials!

    Posted 2.18.19 Reply
  18. miki wrote:

    this post was super helpful, thank you for sharing!!

    Miki x

    Posted 2.16.19 Reply
  19. VIJAYAN wrote:

    I love all these tips! Love the pretzel loop for skinny belts.

    Posted 2.16.19 Reply
  20. Jeannie wrote:

    Hello Jean! This is a random question about the Nordstrom leather motto jacket you recently posted about. Did you have the sleeves shortened on yours? I did order it but the sleeves are too long and I’m wondering if, with the zippered sleeves, if they can be shortened???

    Posted 2.15.19 Reply
    • IRC wrote:

      Hello Jeannie! Since I’m short and have a lot of experience with this, I figured I’d let you know that yes, a competent tailor or seamstress can alter zippered (as well as buttoned, belt-cuffed, cinched, etc.) sleeves on leather jackets. If it helps having an estimate, I live near Washington, D.C., and pay between $35 and $50 for shortening the sleeves on leather and faux leather items with zippers. It’s well worth the investment. It might be worth mentioning, since you said you got your jacket from Nordstrom, that they have excellent tailors, and you get a certain amount of “complimentary” alteration services ($100 per year, I believe) if you are a Nordstrom Card member. I haven’t had them do my leather goods, but I would trust them to do a great job if I ever needed them. I’ve been pleased with the work they’ve done on other “difficult” materials they’ve altered for me.

      Posted 2.20.19 Reply
  21. Jeannie wrote:

    Hello Jean! This is a random question about the Nordstrom leather motto jacket you recently posted about. Did you have the sleeves shorthened on yours? I did order it but the sleeves are too long and I’m wondering if, with the zippered sleeves, if they can be shortened???

    Posted 2.15.19 Reply
  22. OMG thank you so much for all of these wonderful belt hacks, especially the belt-tying! <3 🙂 Definitely going to be trying this out!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  23. Maureen wrote:

    Oh goodie! I needed this. I have straps and belt that are just way too long. What great hacks and awesome pretzel loop tutorial. You are the best!

    Maureen |

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  24. Mariah wrote:

    This is genius! I always have this problem. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  25. Love the great tips and the beautiful step by step photos of belt tying! Thanks for a great post, Jean!!!

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  26. Young wrote:

    I love all these tips! Love the pretzel loop for skinny belts.

    The Style Intermission

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  27. Maria wrote:

    I have never thought to use an elastic band on my handbag. I love these tips! Thanks for sharing!

    xo, Maria

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  28. Roses for Fridays | by mia wrote:

    Just the parfait idea … always looking beautiful!

    🌸🍃ROSES FOR FRIDAYS 🌸🍃| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  29. May wrote:

    Wow! Such amazing hacks. I have a bunch of belts that are too long. The hair elastic is absolutely genius!

    May ||

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  30. I bookmarked this! ❤️ Super useful because I have to resize pretty much all the bags and belts I buy (and clothes… and pants…). I love, love, love your belt so much! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  31. Deniz wrote:

    Is there another place to buy the belt loopy? Amazon says they don’t sell it!

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh no! I got mine on Amazon and it was still available this morning …maybe Amazon will restock? I went to the website on the package and it no longer exists. I hope doesn’t mean these are now discontinued. If you’re feeling crafty I bet you can DIY some with faux leather patches, wiring, and a hot gluegun or your cobbler could make some belt loops : /

      Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  32. Love this Jean! What a useful post, thanks for sharing!

    I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  33. Janine wrote:

    I have been using that tip with the small hair elastics for years on my belts, works like a dream!! I have not yet tried it out on bag straps, but would definitely use them for that as well!
    But I have to admit that this belt loop thing you mentioned here, looks way better than using a hair elastic, much more high quality and you are right, it does look like it’s part of the belt.
    Thanks for recommending that one, I didn’t even know something like this exists! 🙂
    xx Janine

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  34. Wow Jean, these are my favourite blog posts. You always come up with brilliant tips for petite challenges. I was actually struggling with one of my belts this morning, so it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks so much and…happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones. Love, Lieske

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  35. susan r rawls wrote:

    These are great ideas! Thank you so much. I have all these problems.
    I especially like the purse strap idea. This drives me crazy and I never knew how to fix it. And to think I threw out all my tiny rubber bands when my daughter’s hair got too thick to use them. LOL

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  36. Val wrote:

    Hi Jean!

    Long time reader and fan of your blog! I was wondering if you had tips on how to keep a white coat… white (-: I have the same Express coat, but other than taking it to the dry cleaners every week (a very expensive option!) I’m not sure how else to keep it clean unless I just don’t wear it!

    Thanks for all your great content!

    Posted 2.14.19 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Val! Where are you noticing your coat getting dirty? For me, trouble spots are usually around the collar from makeup so I always try to wear a turtleneck or scarf to keep the coat clean there. I also use a lint roller to pick up black or colored fuzz that gets on it. Other than that I haven’t had issues with it needing frequent cleaning, but I usually am not sitting on benches outside and my baby isn’t mobile and messy yet (I’m sure that will change soon and the white coat might stay in the closet)

      Posted 2.14.19 Reply
  37. Kendra wrote:

    LOVING all of these tips. And I never knew about the pretzel twist, cannot wait to try that one!

    Posted 2.13.19 Reply

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