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.