When I was just a little girl, I thought belts were for boys. I don’t have any brothers, so any man-related knowledge I have comes from my dad (avid belt-wearer), my mum (not a belt fan) and the Irish equivalent of Ann & Barry books, the name of which I can’t remember but which were obviously far superior to the English-language version. Boys wore belts in those books, while girls wore dresses and white socks.

Once I got a bit chubby grew up, I realised that belts serve several marvellous functions – most of which, let’s face it, are aesthetic, and I began to resent the men in my life (sorry, Dad) for misleading me down the garden path for so many years. (Fun fact: for years, I read the word misled like “my-zeld”.)

Now I am the proud owner of several wonderful belts – none of which says D&G, crucially – and find that, very often, a belt can mean the difference between a mediocre outfit and a seriously show-stopping ensemble. (Just check out how Fuller Figure Fuller Bust uses her extensive belt collection to change her life.)

When it comes to belts, mind you, I err on the side of frugality. (Belts and costume jewellery are really the main accessories in my life that warrant corner-cutting.) I would no more spend €100 on a belt than I would spend €100 on a bottle of wine. The €20 version usually has a similar end result, with less of the recession-related shame.

Without further ado …

* Of course, this is all relative. Because some people are still rich. I know this because: Vogue.

And lastly, trusty Zara, which (nearly) always comes up trumps. This Fur Snood with contrast dots is €39.95.

Tan leather belt, £25 at topshop.com (probably €55 in-store). A good brown belt is, as they say, a wardrobe essential. But who are they? You ask. What do they know about what your wardrobe deems essential? Does your wardrobe have feelings? Is your wardrobe really crying out for a brown belt?! It’s unlikely. Still, as brown belts go - and I’ll admit they are very versatile - this one is nice. The brown is nice (not too orange, not too mahogany) and it has plenty of belt loops for if you get fat (or, chance’d be a fine thing, thin). Helpfully, the Topshop website advises that it can be worn on both hip or waist. Because it’s unlikely you’d figure that out on your own.

A different take on brights, Urban Outfitter's multicoloured tattoo necklace is €9.

Diane von Furstenberg’s Quinn belt, €96.50 (reduced from €193) at The Outnet. Suede is a funny one - an animal skin about which I have mixed feelings. This is unusual because, by and large, I am an animal-hide fan. Sure, I feel bad about the poor ickle animals, but we eat them, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t wear them. (If you neither eat nor wear them, congratulations - at least you are a principled pain in the ass.) Suede, in belt terms, is a little more hippy than haute, but that can be a good thing. And I know - I know - I said no fancy belt loops, but this padlocked heart is just sooooooo cuuuuuute!

Ponyskin belt, €55 by Mint Velvet (available at Arnotts) This ponyskin number is almost identical to a faux-ponyskin number I own, from Topshop, and wear at least twice a week (which is a lot, because I am not a frequent outfit-repeater unless it’s pyjamas). My leopard-print belt is, hands down, the most useful item in my wardrobe. I’ve worn it to hold up jeans, to jazz up black dresses, to totally jazz up floral and printed dresses and even over my trench coat. Leopard is, after all, my favourite print - and way more versatile and wearable than monochrome, in my honest and much-valued opinion.