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Favorite dress belts

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by retronotmetro, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the process of replacing my dress belts due to wear and the inevitable advancing waistline.  I've always had calfskin belts, but out of curiosity I have been looking at lizard and alligator belts.  For some reason, I just don't picture myself wearing alligator or lizard.  A sales person suggested that I have a younger self-image that sees alligator as "too stuffy."  Not sure that's it, but I'm curious to see if I am alone in preferring simple calf to the more luxe materials.
     
  2. Kai

    Kai Well-Known Member

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    I wear mostly calfskin, but I've got a couple of crocodile belts, and also a couple of shell cordovan belts. Nothing wrong with mixing it up a bit. A black crocodile belt goes particularly nicely with a dressed up after hours look.
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Calfskin - cheaper, more versatile, easier to maintain, cleaner look.

    That being said, I sort of like an gator skin belt - a bit of visual excitement. And at my age (turning 30), and with the types of suits I wear, it looks more Sopranos than anything else. Girls usually don't seem into it though, by and large. It's sort of like wearing a silk shirt - unless you are actually in Vegas, it just looks a little too Vegas.
     
  4. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    I wear mostly leather belts, but I've got a few alligator belts (and a lizard one and an ostrich one too) that are simply more special and a bit dressier than leather can ever be.  I've bought all the non-cow-leather belts on EBay for significantly below what they would cost at retail, FWIW.

    There's a mountain of ordinary belts on Ebay (i.e., the brand new $40-$50 Ralph Lauren or Coach belts that can be had for $15 or less on EBay), but there are also some real beauties to be found.

    Actually, the belt I get the most wear out of is a lambs suede belt I bought at Paul Stuart in about 1988 when I was a college senior interviewing in NYC. It's indestructible and somehow still looks great.
     
  5. Will

    Will Well-Known Member

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    Shell cordovan should be a choice, in my opinion. I have three colors that I wear with Alden's shell casual shoes.
     
  6. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Well-Known Member

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    I prefer what I believed is called tuxedo style, which is no stitching on the edge. I prefer this as it offers a cleaner look. Someone posted a link as to where to obtain just the belt portion and use an interchangable buckle but I can't seem to find that thread for the life of me. If someone know what I am talking about, please repost that link. Material would definitely be calfskin. Non-smooth leather to me is for more mature gentlemen(ie. OLDER)

    -HitMan009
     
  7. JLibourel

    JLibourel Well-Known Member

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    I mostly use horsehide or laminates of horsehide that have been gifts from my good friend the eminent holstermaker, Greg Kramer (www.kramerleather.com). These are extremely sturdy, since they are designed for carrying a holstered pistol, but in the 1 1/4-inch width, they are elegant enough for normally dressy wear. I particularly like his horsehide and sharkskin laminates. These are the most indestructible belts imaginable. I have some that look great after 10 years of frequent wear. (Horsehide is not the same as shell cordovan, BTW. It comes from a different part of the horse's skin. He can make belts of shell cordovan, however.) I will also mention that Greg can make belts from all mannner of exotic skins, usually laminated to horsehide. (I have several snakeskin ones, that are rather too flashy for my tastes.) He can also utilizes whatever buckles you want to provide him.
     
  8. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    maybe im in the minority, but I dont find alligator belts "soprano-esque" at all. I have 2, one in dark brown, the other tan. They are the buckleless variety, and I wear them with a few different buckles I like. I think their image is very old-money, not tacky. I suppose perhaps a black croc belt with a very loud buckle and the metal tip on the end might be a bit tacky. However, a beautiful brown croc belt is as classic as it gets for me. Like I said, perhaps I am wrong. Ive always aspired to that 1930's ideal, and ive seen more than enough photos and drawings from the era to confirm that they are classic, dignified, and quite proper under any number of circumstances. In fact, I sometimes wear a croc belt with an old pair of 501s and a tan cashmere sweater. I think it looks great, but who knows.
     
  9. mxb95

    mxb95 Active Member

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    I agree.  A brown croc belt with a plain buckle is a simple and elegant way to accessorize both dress and casual clothing.
     
  10. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    I agree as well on the alligator belts being a classic. A good number of the gray-haired top guys at my company wear simple alligator or lizard belts. No loud buckles, no contrasting colors. Just black to go along with black shoes; dark brown for everything else. These guys aren't wearing Borrelli and Isaia mind you, they are generally preppy -- wearing Brooks Brothers and perhaps Paul Stuart and Turnbull & Asser. As was said, I agree that it speaks "money."
     
  11. BjornH

    BjornH Well-Known Member

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    I voted for suede although I usually wear my brown Hugo Boss (looks down in shame) belt. I think suede adds an interesting accent as it calls attention to the texture of your clothes and is is just a bit different. I'm not all that sure I should be wearing it with my suede brogues but I do it anyway and it was my reason for buying it. Suede shoes or not - it looks great but it's probably not wise to have one as your only belt.

    As for other belts I think exotic hides are a bit flashy but I suppose they can look great in capable hands. On my wish list is a cordovan belt but I don't have high hopes of finding one.

    B
     
  12. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    Classic for pimps and gangsters, maybe. Sorry, I was channelling ernest there for a minute. [​IMG] Actually, crocodile and alligator belts, both glazed and matte, are my favorites. I've been branching out into lizard recently, and I like that as well. I'm also looking for a nice full-quill ostrich belt at a reasonable price. Crocodile and alligator are still my favorites. I'm afraid that plain old calfskin just doesn't do it for me.
     
  13. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    Just a boring leather guy myself generally. I do like and wear one of this guy's belts, though. Belt Link Must remember not to wear it anywhere it would be illegal here in the States, though, i.e., Federal Courthouses, or when flying. Otherwise it's often useful. Regards, Huntsman
     
  14. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    I have a lot of belts mostly from designers. And some vintage from Thierry Mugler, Moschino, etc.

    However I think that for regular use a calfskin belt with a simple buckle should work. If one wants to go a bit more elegant an exotic skin in a muted colors would be very nice.

    With wool trousers.
     
  15. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Well-Known Member

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    Seems there is no love for the lizard, at least vote-wise. That goes with the following recent conversation with my wife:

    Me: What do you think of this belt?
    Her: What is that, alligator? (reaches out to touch it)
    Me: No, it's lizard skin.
    Her: (recoils hands) That's disgusting.

    So it looks like smooth calfskin is the consensus favorite, with 'gator trailing. I didn't think to add cordovan or horsehide--too late now.

    I've been in belt quest mode for several weeks now. Picked up a Zegna black calfskin belt at Loehmanns for $40, turned out it was too big and it has to go back. That'll teach me to trust the size (mis)tags . . . for the umpteenth time.
     
  16. Duveen

    Duveen Well-Known Member

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    Hitman009, I'm not sure if I am the person you're thinking of, but I started a thread on interchangeable-buckle belts a few months ago. In a nice bit of luck I found a bunch of Trafalgar belts at Filene's basement (dark brown and black) with switchable buckles shortly thereafter. Allen Edmonds used to carry them but stopped doing so. Â In the thread someone mentioned that both Moreschi and Hermes sell belt straps as well. A few known sources: James Reid Ltd has a great selection of belt straps in a variety of widths and also sells a nice selection of silver buckles. I found calf belt straps at Brooks Brothers a while ago, but now can only find them in alligator. Finally, there seemed to be a decent selection of belt straps at David Morgan at reasonable prices. In short, I found that interchangable buckles are not easy to find, but are also not that rare if you keep your eyes open. Please do let me know if you find any good sources for really nice, high-end leather belt straps (e.g. any Brits out there who know of a saddle-maker that also does gorgeous belt straps? Any New Yorkers have dope on 7th Avenue suppliers of high-end, post-season items?).
     
  17. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    A few more: Martin Dingman's exotic belts (alligator, lizard, etc.) and custom-made straps have interchangeable buckles. The standard calfskin ones do not, however. All the belts that I've seen from LAI have had interchangeable buckles, although that may be because the retailer where I've seen them (Harold's in the Heights) always orders them that way. The buckles are the kind with the teeth that grips the strap rather than the snap kind that the other already mentioned use. Moreschi belts are made like LAI's belts, with the tooth-closure interchangeable buckle, but the price point on them is extremely high. I don't think that they represent good value. Most of the US custom bootmakers will also make belts (to match your boots, you understand). Because you buy the flashy buckle set separately, these belts will of necessity allow you to interchange buckles, and they don't have to be particularly flashy.
     
  18. jcusey

    jcusey Well-Known Member

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    Well, I like lizard a good deal. It's just that I like alligator and crocodile better.

    And it escapes me why a lizard would be more disgusting than a crocodile. Or a cow, for that matter.
     
  19. Will

    Will Well-Known Member

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    Alligator and caiman belts last for decades.

    Lizard seems much more delicate. My experience may not be the norm but even with light wear I found that the skin creases and then breaks at the buckle.

    Will
     
  20. color_reporter

    color_reporter Active Member

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    I don't like smooth calfskin at all. Many here seem to prefer it for its clean look but a belt is an accessory and if lizard or alligator skin is too exotic for one's environment I think one should at least wear grained calfskin. Smooth calfskin is still better than shiny leather though.
     

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