31 July 2009

Friday Belts: Surcingle - Cerveza

J Press Surcingle, Polo tie from 1988 and Pacifico Cerveza

William F and his Surcingle

The Mind Blowing Plastilina Mosh

Just this week I received an email for some advice regarding the purchase of a belt.
First of all, I want to say I'm a big fan of the blog, always a fun read. Second, and the purpose of my email, I seek your sartorial advice. You seem to be the authority on cool belts around these parts (of the internet) and I want to purchase a (my first) cloth leather belt, i.e.
However I am unsure of which route to go, I was thinking a stretch webbing one in navy/white or a pattern one in either anchors or tennis racquets. In your opinion, without any knowledge of my style, which do you like best?
In advance, thank you,
your loyal reader

I gave Neto's email a lot of thought. First off, who am I to tell Neto what to wear. Even if he was my brother and I knew his closet like my own. Again, it has to do with, "Anyone can tell me I shouldn't wear it. No one can tell me I can't." They say on the internet anyone can be an expert. I'm no expert. But I can be a resource. And Neto was a great resource for me. I enjoyed his blog and found some music I fell in love with. Plastilina Mosh's, "Pervert Pop Song" is now in my iPod along with their Essential iTunes collection. Amazing music. A Wes Montgomery like, "Ode to Mauricio Garces" with Brazil 66 like background vocals to this video. I couldn't help but think "Que Langosta!" at the opening.

I asked Neto if he was ok with using his request for this weeks Friday Belt. And he was.

Neto, without knowing anything about you, except for your blog, I say, for your first surcingle, go the non stretch, Navy/Red Surcingle shown wrapped around that Cerveza and I'll tell you why. You can wear it with anything. And I mean anything. It looks great with jeans, chinos, grey flannels or even a suit. In the picture of Buckley up there (I've always been a fan of Gore Vidal) you'll see he's wearing a red surcingle with grey trousers. Very traditional and a little out of the box at the same time.

Most consider the surcingle casual belting. I've worn this Navy/Red belt with a J Press blue pinstripe suit with a yellow foulard bow tie. Not because I'm an old WASP and saw my daddy dress like this - - but because I saw a photo of Daniel Patrick Moynihan in a pin stripe suit with a Navy / Red surcingle belt and bow tie and I liked the look. By the way, I saw it on the Trad Forum of Ask Andy, another place where there are a lot of 'experts' but I think it's a great resource.

Surcingle belts are a subtle twist on a suit and I think it really does something for a cotton or wool khaki suit in Summer. I threw the yellow paisley tie in there because I like Navy, Red and Yellow. And I like messing around with these colors but not matching them. Here's a very early post of a Navy& Yellow rep tie on a Yellow button down. And here's a Navy & Yellow bow tie on a Red stripe double cuff. This isn't rocket science. But throwing the three primary colors around with what you wear sure beats khaki cargo shorts and a black tee shirt.

I picked Pacifico for the label but I'll tell you this. It's a favorite cerveza of mine. I still like Carta Blanca in a can. Something soulful about that. But Pacifico is my pay day cerveza. More complex than Carta Blanca and there's a beautiful finish to it. I ordered carne tacos in a small Mexican restaurant down in Florida last Winter with, "...corn tortillas, onion and cilantro. That's it." The waitress told me, "You eat like a Mexican." I was hugely flattered. As I am by Neto asking me for my advice.

So, Neto... here are some places to start the hunt: Cable Car Clothiers, Brooks Brothers, Ben Silver , J Press, Eljo's , O'Connell's, Lands' End , Orvis, LL Bean & Leather Man. They are in the order of price with Cable (Hands Up!) Car being the most expensive at $98 and Leather Man at $28. Try Leather Man first. Made in the US. Huge selection. And a whole lotta soul.
Or, you may want to be my first customer in my new venture, "Belt, Borrow or Steal." For a nominal monthly membership fee you can rent any of my belts. For a week. For a month. Of course some belts require a small premium in addition to the membership fee. And I could probably be talked into renting the Submariner. Anyone want to rent some catalogs?


Charles said...

I've been wearing the green a lot since you posted it. Now this stipey thing I don't have so that's a problem.

tintin said...

Not at Belts, Borrow or steal. For you, my friend, .58 cents a week for the stripey one.

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

With Mexican food I like Bohemia. The belts? around my wrists.

John Patrick George said...

Sign me up.

I'm a 36.

I've been scouring thrift shops, trying to build a deccent collection. I've landed a few classics from LL Bean, Lacoste, and Brooks. I'm even up for a little swapping.

I've gone so far as to buy oversized and rip and reassemble. Sometimes turning 2 belts into a new one. Like I used to do with my GI Joes.

I never really gave belts and socks a second thought until I started reading this blog.


Anonymous said...

Nice catchy tune. Love, road trips and laundromats. I'm glad I'm past all that (I was never that cool). Nowadays I'll just take the cerveza and the carnitas.

Okay, maybe I'll still take the occasional road trip.


Enzo AGC said...

Glad you mentioned Eljo's. Always one of my first stops in Charlottesville.

Anonymous said...

Eljo's come from Belted Cow, which on their own site offer more options at the same price, including the red-on-navy-stripe.


Good post. I've been dithering over which surcingle belt to put on my wish list and this helps decide it.

Anonymous said...

Victorian Dance Hall?

Anonymous said...

Dear Abby/Tintin,
Love Neto's site, it is really cool. Thanks for the link. About the belts, my head is spinning. Would love to hook the old man up (not literally, that is for another post) with a really special belt for Christmas but after going to all sites I can't keep the choices straight, you know what color, skin, width of belt, buckle, need I go on? I would also like to get him a really nice wallet (he outdid himself last year by getting me a classic Chanel bag and wallet). So, any advice? Thanks, D

Ben said...

Good post. Sing out if you ever find a source for plaid surcingle. My green plaid one doesn't fit anymore.

And I don't need to hear anything about sit ups.

Michael Rowe said...

If I may, Anonymous, you can't go wrong with a classic monogrammed silver belt buckle from TIffany's with an amazing leather, or alligator, belt strap (Tiffany's carries them as well, but so does Brooks and others.)

Tintin, I'm loving your Friday Belt segment so much that I am now terrified of the day you run out of belts to write about. I may organize a black tie fundraiser to keep you supplied.

Marilyn *Pink Martinis and Pearls* said...

Great resources to have on file. Thanks.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

RE: Belts. Here's a good line.
Original Source Unknown.
My belt holds up my pants and my pants have belt loops that hold up the belt. What the hell's really going on down there? Who is the real hero?

tintin said...

Tessa- I used to chase shots of Rum with Bohemia at S. O. B's in the 80's. I'm not sure how you wear a belt around your wrists. Is this a new fashion?

John Patrick- I may have some 36's for you. I'll have to check the old supply down in Ef El.

DB- Check out their iTunes Collection. Some wacky and great stuff.

Enzo- It amazes me they can stay in biz. Thank god for the southern frat boy.

Kurt- Thanks for the web site. Neat stuff.

Anon 14:26 That's three Victorian Dance Halls - - Can I have a fourth?

D- What's your budget? Michael Rowe is dead on with gator strap and sterling buckle - That's gonna run $350 for the strap and $225 or so for the Tiffany buckle. With a little bit of hunting you can probably get that down to $175 for the strap and $100 for the buckle. I agree with you on Gator wallets. I had a nice one until the Gulf Foxtrot washed it. It dried out ok but lost it's finish. There's a place in NYC that had a sale on 'em. I'll see if it's still on and let you know the store name and #.

Michael Rowe- I may make it to 52 but have no idea what to do after that.

Pink Martini- I try. I have to do something so that people can find them.

Dad, Rocket science, space travel, and a strap of leather to hold up pants. I feel the same way about an umbrella. I'd a thought by now there would be a box that generates an electric field that would divert rain.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping you would recommend something a little more Trad esoteric than a Tiffany belt. You know, like I really searched high and low (well you, not me) for the belt/buckle. What should I budgeting for the wallet and belt? If you let me know about the place in NYC with the wallet on sale, that would be great. BTW, the Charlottesville shop you linked is an easy drive from where I live. Is it worth the trip? Thanks, D
P.s. Your GF does your laundry and you didn't spring for the Hermes? Cheap bastard.

tintin said...

Eljos is worth the drive.
Go to leather man's web site and click on "Design Your Own Belt" and scroll down to the bottom. Stop at the Tartan Plaid and pick four -- one for each season. $28 x 4 = $112. You cheap....

Anonymous said...

You may be a cheeky monkey, but you are a gentlemen. Thanks, D

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Great post. I like surcingles from O'Connell's. I would love to tell William F. what he could do with his surcingle. Alas, the Neo-con liberal is gone.

Anonymous said...

Where is Neto from?

neto said...

there's a company called austin jeffers that makes some decently priced dressier belts. I may be wrong but i think that they are the same people behind leatherman ltd but AJ is their more 'upscale' brand.

tintin said...

D- I'll swing by the wallet place today.

LBT- Glad to see you, sir.

Anon 02:39 No idea.

Neto- That's the Leather Man folks for sure. Nice price on the needlepoints. Gonna check on the custom. Thanks for the heads up.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Thanks old chap. Happy to see your blog is going strong.

Anonymous said...

First off fantastic blog, love the look, feel and advice. I am a tad younger than most who frequent such a site, I suspect, and I am a tad lost when it comes to making choices such as these (belt choices, I mean).

I am a fan of simplicity in my life, so when I purchase a belt I intend to wear it, and only it, until it falls off of my waist.

When you say this navy with a red stripe will go with anything, are you saying I could wear it with, say, dark blue jeans and a black sweater?

What I'm getting at is can I be sure that when I purchase this I won't need to bother with any other belts no matter what I'm wearing for awhile? I'm a huge fan of the wear what you want and don't give a damn attitude so I don't mind if I appear out there with my tastes.

tintin said...

Matt- Thanks for the nice words. I've always thought belts were a great value for the money. EBay can make it even cheaper. The surcingle at Leather Man is a $25 investment so you don't have to limit yourself. Having said that, I rarely wear a belt with jeans. You can but jeans are so tight on my big ass I don't really need them.

I'm not big on tucking a sweater into jeans either. That's just me. I will tuck a cashmere turtleneck into a pair of dark grey or black flannels and with that use a silver monogramed engine turned buckle on a strap. But that's all the sweater tucking for me.

If your sweater is thin enough to tuck into a dark blue jean -- I think you're ok with the navy / red surcingle. The navy of the belt will disappear into the jean leaving a stripe of bright red to contrast against the black. You may be mistaken for a Georgia Bulldog fan but there are worse things in life. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh don't get me wrong, I wouldn't tuck my sweater in either. I can't imagine that being a comfortable thing to do, but by wearing an outfit like the one proposed during daily activities and such, the belt would end up peaking out from under the sweater and I'd certainly want it to look nice while doing so. I just purchased my first surcingle (the navy and red pictured) from Leatherman ltd. and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Thanks again.

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