Belt quality

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by j, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Unless you are getting an artisanal belt (some places in the US and UK do this) or one specially made (such as by Baltazar Belts) nearly *all* higher quality belts come from about a half dozen factories in the UK and Italy. I personally don't find any difference in the quality of a $65 Trafalgar belt and a $150 Zegna one, possibly because they are made in the same factories, to similar specifications.
     


  2. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    For the money, I also endorse Trafalgar as the best quality/value I've found. Of course, casual belts are a whole different ballgame from dress belts.
     


  3. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Senior member

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    Reviving an old topic...
    My everyday brown belt is made by Trafalgar, while my black is made by Coach. I own about five of the latter which have held up reasonably well and purchased for under $20. My favorite casual belt is a simple brown calfskin with an antique nickel buckle from Paul Smith.

    So, how do you guys feel about croc/alligator belts? I recently made the leap into exotic skin belts and picked up a nice medium brown croc piece from Davide Cenci.

    What defines good/superior quality? I remember large scales are preferred to smaller scales, but how large is large, and conversely, what does a crap croc belt look like? Pictures would be appreciated.
     


  4. My View

    My View Senior member

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    My favourite belts are from Edward Green and they cost about GBP 60-70 each. They told me that though they did not manufacture the belts themselves, "the leather is ours and we have a factory make the belts for us". They have them in colours which almost exactly correspond to those of our beloved Edward Green shoes (dark oak, burnt pine etc.) so it makes shoe/belt matching a breeze.

    I also have belts from Lands' End which have lasted me for at least 4 or 5 years of frequent wear. I usually get them discounted when they get classified as "Overstocks" (new items of different sorts get posted every Wednesday and Saturday).
     


  5. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    Want a nice belt that is the company making belts for many large companies like Allen Edmond and others, check out Crookhorn, great belts. Crookhorn
     


  6. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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    Actually, the higher quality alligator belts--Brioni, Ferragamo, etc--do not have large scales. Large scale alligator belts are rather delicate and tend to crack and split even if you treat they with conditioner. I enjoy my large scale belts but I do expect to have to have them repaired when they split.

    You might try a custom (bespoke) alligator shop that make their own belts like Flemings of Buckhead and see what they would recommend.
     


  7. RJman

    RJman Posse Member Dubiously Honored

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    I second Longhi as a good beltmaker. Mine has no exposed stitching. Still, at $150... Martin Dingman makes a decent belt and my daily black belt. On the other side I have a Hermes belt (no, not the H-buckle) that's really cool but, well, cost the earth. Best belt buy might be a Zegna belt on Marshalls clearance at $11... seen 2 days later at Century 21 for $50. Any thoughts on the Regent belts that are relatively cheap at www.classicwardrobe.co.uk ?
     


  8. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    Is Chuck still planning on doing his croc belts?
     


  9. acole

    acole Senior member

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    I'm very pleased to see a good discussion of belts. What do people here think of the offerings from AE? I have 2 in basic black and 'chili', and they're holding up quite well so far.
     


  10. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Senior member

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    You did read the post from me about the Crookhorn's right, they make the AE Belts.
     


  11. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    I've got some good USA Coach belts -- and the ones from Costa Rica don't seem to be bad either (though not as good a quality as the older USA makes).
     


  12. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    I've got a dark brown java lizard belt from Trafalgar that I wear quite a bit. The smaller scales have some texture which makes it more visually interesting than just leather, but it comes off a bit more conservative than alligator.
     


  13. naturlaut

    naturlaut Senior member

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    From my meager knowledge, Hermes and Weston make the best belt in terms of construction. Buckle is another topic altogether.

    After the stitching of the two pieces of leather (front and back), different makers/factories use different methods to 'seal' the 1/16" to 1/8" (usually 1/16") opening from the stitch line to the edge. Most (from Ferragamo to Trafalgar to Brioni) use glue, which will either come off or disintegrate in time. After that they will usually paint it black or brown to match the leather colour. Actually, as someone mentioned earlier, all these brands are made from a handful of factories in Italy and UK. However, Weston and Hermes have their own production lines. They both use beewax to seal the edge, which stays smooth in a long run and will not disintegrate. Also, I would tend to put my faith in Hermes and Weston for leather quality (Weston's tannery is world-class).

    As I said, belt buckle is another topic entirely. I don't like the H buckle nor the Weston buckles myself. I like the simple buckle that Lobb Paris uses (in brass or silver).
     


  14. Super Fly

    Super Fly Well-Known Member

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    For casual wear I like my Filson bridle leather belts. "Might As Well Have The Best" Filson Belts
     


  15. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    Two notes about Trafalgar: Almost two years ago, the belt side of Trafalgar was sold to Randa, a department store tie maker that wanted to broaden its offering to its existing accounts. While Randa says they are maintaining the Trafalgar factory in Norwalk, CT, I've noticed Trafalgar goods showing up in stores where Marley Hodgson wouldn't have vomited. The new belts in the new accounts are made in China. I haven't noticed the Chinese belts infiltrating any of the historic Trafalgar accounts, independent specialty stores.

    Coincident with the cheapening of a great brand, I've also noticed some standard, CT-made belts turning up in discounters. For instance, I saw a full size range of the 1" chestnut alligator (that Paul Stuart has stocked consistently for at least 20 years) belt in Filene's Basement for $99, about 70% off regular retail. Granted, my data sample is small, but I have to wonder whether Randa is liquidating Trafalgar's standing inventory in preparation for closing the CT factory and moving all their production to China.
     


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