Dapper dressers have an innate ability (or hire the right image consultant) to assemble a wardrobe that exudes a tastemaker’s sensibility- polished, successful, and quintessential. The whole picture is put together perfectly; from the immaculate haircut to well-kept polished shoes. Every detail has been carefully planned to feature a refined and inspired look even with leisurewear. One who recognizes such details can point to a woman’s treasured silk scarf, a quality ring reflecting a birth gemstone, or a top handle handbag to match her tailored business suit. For a man, his well-manicured nails, or a captivating tie enhancing a bespoke power suit. And, of course, an exquisite statement leather belt custom-made into a functional finishing accessory.
Speaking of belts, for readers new to our story, leather belts are the “once upon a time” to Beau Satchelle’s humble beginnings. As a college student, co-founder, and Master Artisan, T. Michael was fed up with 1) the frustrating search for beautiful leather belts that fit his large frame and; 2) purchasing cheaply made belts with a short shelf life.
So tapping into his engineering mind and crafting skills, his tedious (one stitch at a time) journey began, to learn the craft of saddle-stitching leather as a way to make his own belts with premium leather and superior hardware.
A few years later, divine intervention came a-calling and the Beau Satchelle story of hand stitching leather luxury goods was launched!
Evolution of Belts
Early in human history, belts were created from rope, cording, fabric or even leather to be worn to emphasize manliness and accentuate males’ fit physique (similar to women’s corsets). Belts found themselves in and out of favor depending on the designers’ influences on the public’s taste. Even women during the 1930s began to experiment with pants and belts as a stylish fashion statement.
During the 19th century, belts were non-existent for the working masses, as pants were made with a cinch back (or buckle back) sewn in the back of the jeans or pants to tighten the waist. Suspender buttons were also a feature so that a wearer could also attach suspenders for keeping the pants or jeans up while working in coal mines.
Levi Strauss & Company’s innovation of adding belt loops (with cinch backs) happened in 1922. However, World War II forced jean makers to cut back on unnecessary design components of their pants to save material for the war effort. Even after the war ended, loops survived, as cinch backs and suspender buttons were eliminated from pants.
In mid 20th century, belts, still were designed to hold up pants, yet began their transition into a fashion piece, as designers began incorporating premium leathers and exotics skins or embellish with custom hardware.
Will any Belt do?
Belts have become an important accessory – search any large retailer’s website along the lines of Nordstrom or Bergdorf Goodman who carry high-end designer belts or perhaps you’re more drawn to small independent artisans. The fashion industry delivers an array of fabrics and hardware styles (including incorporating their logos), especially for women who can create different looks with one outfit using various eclectic belts.
With men, belt styles for the most part are straightforward bought for their functionality, yet understand, an exceptionally well-made belt is a statement piece for an immaculately dressed man.
Types of Belts
For women, belt size doesn’t necessarily correspond with pant size. Measurements should always be done around the waist where the belt will comfortably sit.
Men’s belts are seen as more utilitarian and necessary, but certainly, aesthetics play a major role in complementing a gentleman’s wardrobe.
Always pair dress belts with slacks and appropriate occasions including business and formal events. Rule to remember if pants have belt loops, a belt is required.
The color and finish of the belt should match the shoes and stylists suggest to always take your shoes with you when purchasing a belt
Blacks and Browns are the typical colors when dressing professionally. Although, the right look in summer business casual can incorporate other colors (from white to navy)
Be sure the width about 1 – 1.5 inches wide which of the belt fits typical belt loops
Leather is the most appropriate for dress belts and variations of cowhide are used most – ranging from full-grain for its beauty and durability to the softest and most supple.
The belt buckles, usually a smaller frame-style buckle, should be simple and classic – preferably brass or chrome. Match your buckle with other metals (i.e. cufflinks)
Don’t wear a belt and suspenders – screams no fashion sense whatsoever.
Casual belts have a lot more flexibility (jeans, shorts, and slacks) and may or may not be seen if covered by an un-tucked shirt.
Match these belts to compliment the color scheme of the outfit (not necessarily the shoes).
Buckle types can include:
decorated plate style (i.e., a southwestern or biker style)
box frame made for no-holes belts
O–ring or D-ring to pull a strap through
Snap buckles with a “male and female” that snap together like a seatbelt
Micro-Adjust with a ratchet-style system made with its own unique strap
Casual belts also incorporate cow leather and other fabrics as well including faux leather, braided leather, suede, rope, canvas, and vinyl.
The pricier exotic skins (ostrich, lizard, crocodile, and alligator) made into belts are typically worn in the casual category, although darker colors could be pulled off with a suit.
When purchasing a belt, the size should be 1 to 2 inches longer than the size of your pants waist. Dress belts should have a short tail end to tuck through the first belt loop. A man wearing too long of a belt is so unbecoming and unsophisticated. Most belts have 5 holes and the guide is to aim to fasten your belt in the middle hole.
If your girth has increased, the only answer is to take the belt to a cobbler to have a hole punched properly. If you don’t want to bring attention to that area of your body, wear a more toned-down belt as opposed to a statement piece.
Store your belts by hanging them, not rolling them to cause cracks and weaken the leather.
Ordering A Bespoke Belt From Beau Satchelle
If you are ready to invest in the ultimate belt, custom-made for you to project affluence, taste, and uniqueness, then nothing beats a bespoke luxury belt made by Beau Satchelle.
We will only use quality full-grain or top-grain leather that improves with age through your patina and will last forever if properly cared for. Be wary of belts made of bonded leather (meaning scraps glued together and coated to imitate grain).
During our complimentary consultation, we will discuss your preferences in leather, thread (and colors), the finishing edge paint (and color) and the hardware type and color, and coordinate sizing.
A bespoke belt takes 4-6 weeks from consultation to delivery with our complimentary shipping within the continental U.S.
Connect with us on our contact page, or drop a line to our design department at (firstname.lastname@example.org) -AJ
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Thank you to the following sites for resource content on belts:
Manly Manners.com – The History of Men’s Belts
Art of Manliness – Complete guide to men’s belt
We appreciate these photographers for their work:
Cottonbro – sexy blue suit with black belt
Gustavo Fring – belt artisan
Engin akyurt – White belt around waist
DEVN – machine sewn belt
Valerie Elash – Belt on Pink Dress
Hermes Rivera – Belted blue slacks
Claudio Scott – Belted Jeans
Mmaaurora – silver belt buckle
NickyPe – Embellished stones
Jamstraightuk – belts for sale
Arshaan ali – brown belt with silver buckle
Falkenpost – Southwestern belt buckles
MonacoCannes – Watch and Hermés belt