This is the third installment of my accessory posts and it comes just in time for the summer heat. It is Memorial Day weekend and summer is getting underway. The temperatures are rising which means no sweaters or outerwear. Plus, suits, ties and sports jackets will probably only be worn when absolutely necessary. So, what can you do to spruce up your outfit in the summer? My first two accessory posts (watch bands and socks) can be applied to the summer months as can the topic of this post, surcingle belts.
Belts are a terrific accessory that can be used to add a little personality to an outfit. In my opinion the best thing about them as an accessory is that they are a necessity. No one will ever ask you “Why are you wearing belt?” as they may if you wear a tie or even a jacket in the heat. However, they may ask you why your belt has whales or boats on it. The summer makes for especially fun belt weather as there are an assortment of belts that are perfect for the occasion. I am talking about surcingle belts.
My new Leatherman surcingle belts.
Surcingle belts can be easily identified by their construction. These belts have an equestrian heritage. A Surcingle is a part of a horse’s harness and if you look at one you can see the similarity. They are primarily made of wool twill, but many are made of made of cotton and gross grain. The wool or cotton fabric has leather enclosures attached on both ends and generally a roundish buckle. It is a simple belt, but the variety of colors and designs are what make it a favorite among the trad crowd.
Olive Surcingle and the most versatile that I own (it looks great with a blue university striped ocbd).
The greatest attribute of the surcingle in my opinion is the range of colors and designs that you can find them in. The most common surcingle is either a solid color or has a single stripe. Traditional colors for a surcingle are navy, tan, olive, and burgundy, but there are many other colors. In terms of stripes, navy with a burgundy stripe or burgundy with a navy stripe is the most classic, but there are a lot of great combinations. You can also find some regimental surcingles such as these at Smartturnout. For an even more summerish look grosgrain ribbon surcingle belts are a great choice as they can be very colorful. I saved the most fun surcingle for last.
My new fox motif that I like to call my Fantastic Mr. Fox belt.
Motif designs really allow you to express your individuality. You can find these belts with almost any theme. The most common is nautical (you can see the light house motif belt that I purchased for my stepfather here), but hunting and fishing are a close second along with a host of other trad obsessions. I recently ordered a fox belt from Eliza B. They have a wide selection of motifs and are very affordable. Another great choice when it comes to motif belts is the needlepoint variety. These are more expensive (starting around $100), but can include more intricate designs and have a cool handmade look to them. Two good places to shop for needlepoint belts are Smathers and Branson and Tucker Blair. I would encourage everyone to have at least one motif belt in their wardrobe simply for the fun it adds to casual Fridays and the weekend.
Surcingle belts are a great summer accessory. While they are not strictly for the summertime (my olive belts gets worn year round). They have a casual fun vibe that is perfectly suited for the summer. Take into account that you can get them in some fun motifs or bright colors and it just makes sense. So, if you feel like the heat is limiting your sartorial creativity I would urge you to pick up one or three!