Lately I’ve noticed that a good number of people I talk with don’t know how to buy a proper fitting belt or one that compliments the look they are going for. The same might be said for some of our readers. So I will do my best to educate all of you on some of the basics for buying a quality belt.
For starters lets go over the material; Leather. All too often I hear people say how they bought a 5 dollar belt from such & such store, and to the average buyer that may seem like that was a bargain and they have left with a good purchase, however there is a catch. Unfortunately those belts are such a poor quality, that the buyer is usually lucky to get a month out of it. Why is that?
That my friends is because those belts are made from genuine leather. What is genuine leather and is it real leather? While genuine leather is real leather, it is actually the second lowest grade of leather. Genuine leather is made up of low quality leathers bonded together with adhesives and then textured to give it the appearance of high quality leather. Genuine leather products do not have a long life. The following pictures will show you some common examples.
Take a look at these pictures of these belts; one of these is a designer belt which despite its low quality was quite expensive. As you can see by the picture the leather is basically a veneer over a fabric core.
Now take a look at the leather belts we handcraft here in our workshop. What a difference! Full grain leather, is the highest quality of the leathers. Full grain leather sits at the top of the leather food chain. Instead of being made up of scraps, Full grain leather is left with the entire grain of the leather intact. Only some of the flesh side is shaved off to produce leather of different weights.
One of my favorite features of Full grain leather is that it bears all the scars and marks the animal has acquired over its life, each piece tells its own story and that story only continues with the use you give it. As with age Full grain leather will only become more beautiful if treated right and will develop a beautiful patina over time. Even though the initial cost will be more, when you do buy a full grain leather belt, you end up saving money because that one belt will last for ages where as you would have to buy genuine leather belts again and again and again, which ends up costing you more of your hard earned cash.
The answer is simple, if you’re someone who is serious about their dress, or appreciates quality, or simply someone who doesn’t want to waste their money, then when it comes to buying a belt. Full grain leather is the only way go.
How do you pick your size? Picking the size of belt to purchase although often overlooked is really quite simple. All you do is buy one a size bigger than your pants size. So for example if you wear a size 36 pant, then you would buy a size 38 belt or if you wear a size 42 pant, you buy a size 44 belt. When you order a custom belt from us, Provide us with your pant size and we will take it from there. We stamp the size of the belt into the folded side of the leather for you to clearly see.
The width of the belt has a different purpose. Typically dress belts are thinner, usually 1 ¼” wide for men. A 1 ½” belt can be worn for dress, but this is also determined by the buckle type, which we will touch on next. As a rule of thumb 1 ½” belts favor the casual side of things.
Belt buckles also have a role in weather the belt is a casual belt or a dress belt. For example, larger and bulkier buckles are casual; where as with dress belts a buckle that is smaller and slim is best. These smaller slim buckles are what can also make a 1 1/2'” wide belt go from casual to dress.
The color also matters when it comes to dress belts and grooming. To properly compliment the rest of your outfit you want to match the color of your belt to the color of your shoes and the color of the buckle to the color of your metals, i.e. your watch and tie bar. Here is an example in the photo. Notice how the shoes match the leather and the buckle matches the watch. Its details like these that complete the outfit.
So to recap here are the main points:
-Buy Full grain leather
-Rule of thumb, 1 ¼” wide for dress, 1 ½” wide for casual
-Match your colors, leather with shoes, buckle with metals
-Size of belt will be one size bigger than your pant size
Thanks for reading everyone! Please like and share, and be sure to check back for more posts in the future.
7/21/2020 12:56:17 am
I didn't know that larger belt buckles are more suitable for casual occasions. I am thinking of buying a belt for my boyfriend but I wasn't sure which one to choose. Now, I'll remember to choose a slim belt buckle since he'll mainly use belts for formal occasions.
7/29/2021 09:07:50 am
I appreciate how you clarified that the highest quality of leather is full-grain leather. I'd love to get a belt made from that material. Then I would never have to worry about wear and tear as much.
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My name is Luke and I am in charge of the photos and artwork at Old Country Leather.