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Belts - Alligator, Crocodile, Snake, Eel, Etc.

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
When considering a black belt/black shoe combination with a business suit, I feel conflicted. I like the look of alligator/croc (maybe someone more informed can enlighten me to the differences and/or grades of these) but it seems that wearing an exotic belt with leather shoes would bring too much attention to the belt or otherwise ruin the fluidity of the whole. I was wondering what all of your opinions might be and what "rules" might exist.
post #2 of 50
Thread Starter 
bump...because surely someone here has an opinion
post #3 of 50
post #4 of 50
Exotic and textural, and visually compelling. Beautiful collection, Tomasso. I will say, this: I'm too short for this much emphasis at the waist. JMHO. But on a taller man, who knows how and where to insert texture and mystery, belts such as these . . . are stunning.
post #5 of 50
I see nothing wrong at all with them. The only time I'd hesitate is wearing one to a very serious, traditionally conservative meeting, such as most job interviews...one just never knows whether the other guy is going to think "Alligator? Flashy turd!"
post #6 of 50
I am interested to know what shoes Tomasso likes to wear, with his exotic straps and buckles.
post #7 of 50
I don't think there is anything explicitly wrong with wearing anything exotic as a belt. I've always liked seeing alligator or crocodile belts. Some people may think that it's obnoxious, but then again, some people think matching shoe colour with belt is obnoxious.

A nice black or brown strap in an exotic skin is definitely a way to add something unique to your look.

'Cept snakeskin. I've very rarely seen snakeskin done well.
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by meaculpa View Post
I don't think there is anything explicitly wrong with wearing anything exotic as a belt. I've always liked seeing alligator or crocodile belts. Some people may think that it's obnoxious, but then again, some people think matching shoe colour with belt is obnoxious.

A nice black or brown strap in an exotic skin is definitely a way to add something unique to your look.

'Cept snakeskin. I've very rarely seen snakeskin done well.

Does anyone have any good sources (affordable, but decent quality) for exotic skinned belts online?

Thanks!
post #9 of 50
agreed they are cool but best not to flash your expensive gear at an interview.
post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the replies! I love when this forum re-confirms my own personal tastes. Although I consider myself on the shorter side (5'8"), I hadn't even factored that into the equation. And for whatever reason, I don't have a lot of love for snake either...but then again, pre-SF I never would have believed I would have a growing collection of monkstraps either.
post #11 of 50
My favorite belt is a chestnut lizard skin belt that was commissioned by Trafalgar for Tom James. It's a very subtle fine scale piece that pairs quite well with my lighter brown and chestnut calfskin shoes. I also have a crocodile belt from Davide Cenci that I like, but wish I could find something similar in alligator. A tidbit I learned from watch straps--freshwater American alligator is generally a superior hide to crocodile because there are less calcium deposits in the scales.
post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by norcaltransplant View Post
A tidbit I learned from watch straps--freshwater American alligator is generally a superior hide to crocodile because there are less calcium deposits in the scales.

Thanks NorCal! Exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Also, welcome to the forum blizzack.

Until recently my closet only contained casual belts and a couple of "mixed use" black dress belts ala Kenneth Cole/Ralph Lauren...which are both actually pretty decent quality IMHO. Not BB, AE, JM, et al by any means, but served the purpose. The one thing I've learned about belts is that there really are (dramatic) differences in quality and the only way to really see them is in person.

As far as a source of quality exotics at an affordable price, my only recommendation would be to watch ebay. A good alligator/croc might normally run upwards to $200+ retail so finding something for $40 or so seems like a good deal. If interested, try these searches:

http://clothing.search-desc.ebay.com...Z1QQsofocusZbs

http://search-completed.ebay.com/sea...e=search&fgtp=

Regarding belts in general, you might also want to check this out:

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...ghlight=kielty
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faded501s View Post
Thanks for all of the replies! I love when this forum re-confirms my own personal tastes. Although I consider myself on the shorter side (5'8"), I hadn't even factored that into the equation. And for whatever reason, I don't have a lot of love for snake either...but then again, pre-SF I never would have believed I would have a growing collection of monkstraps either.

Faded, you're better off NOT figuring your height into the equation. Ivan is old, and neurotic. Just enjoy yourself.
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by norcaltransplant View Post
A tidbit I learned from watch straps--freshwater American alligator is generally a superior hide to crocodile because there are less calcium deposits in the scales.

Not exactly. In the first place, most species of crocodilians are pretty strictly "freshwater" animals although most can exist in brackish environments. The Indo-Pacific or "Saltwater" crocodile is the most tolerant of salt water and can sometimes be seen swimming hundreds of miles from land. The less-ferocious American crocodile occupies a somewhat similar ecological niche in the Western Hemisphere. The hide from the Indo-Pacific crocodile makes excellent leather for shoes, watch straps, etc. I think the Nile crocodile affords very good skins. Both of them are comparable to the American alligator in terms of leather quality, I believe.

Here's the deal: As the more desirable [i.e., for their hides] crocodilian species were hunted out and became protected, the market turned to the common caiman, which still exists in enormous numbers over much of tropical Latin America. These do have bony nodules that must be removed from the hide and only the flanks of the hide provide usable leather--unlike the belly skins of the most desirable species. In the leather market, this is often called "caiman crocodile." This is a misnomer since caimans are alligatorines, not true crocodiles, the main difference being in the dentition. Anyway, these hides are indeed less desirable than American alligator...or for that matter the hides of such species of true crocodiles that are abundant enough to be harvested commercially.
post #15 of 50
Excellent reply JL! The only thing I might add is that there are 3 basic types of these skins:

Big Crocs from Australia/New Guinea and Africa (Porosus and Niloticus)
American Alligator
South American Crocs (Caiman, Panamundo, etc.)

The most desirable by far is Porosus. This is what Hermes pretty much has the world supply of (American Tanning in Georgia also gets some of these skins, FWIU) and is what the Grace Kelly bags are made of. You can usually identify Porosus by a small dot on each scale. Also, the transition from belly to flanks is gradual on this skin and therefore you have a very nice cutting. There is a picture of a Chelsea boot done in Porosus, I believe, on Centipedes' link to G&G's special order shoes. Niloticus and American Alligator are similiar, but Niloticus is usually much larger, so the scales are, obviously, larger. American Gator is usually available in anywhere from 15-40cm skins while Niloticus can be available in 50+ cm skins. The Hermes agent for Italy holds the rights from the largest supplier of raw skins in Niloticus of smaller sizes, and this is coming on the market now and is virtually indistinguishable from American Alligator. Many of the better Italian shoe factories are now using this as American Alligator is much less dependable a resource. As JL points out, the most abundant, and the most varied as far as quality is concerned, is Caiman. The only suitable portion of these skins for 'better' work is the flanks, and they can be both beautiful and horrible.

Porosus.....


around $12,000 retail

American Alligator.....


around $8,000 retail (although American Alligator products can swing wildly in price, as there are 5 grades available...Grade 1 being almost 4x more than Grade 5)

Finally, this market is priced by the centimeter, and the raw cost has risen more than 40% over the last 18 months. There are, for all intents and purposes, 4 tanneries left in the world that supply any given manufacturer.
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