Money Well Spent

I am in the process of trying to find a pair of jeans that I like and in that struggle I found a belt that I had forgot about. It’s a simple leather belt that I had made 10 plus years ago in the middle of a mall.

I had this belt made before I started to a work for an insurance company. I wanted a simple leather belt. I was struggling to find one that I liked and that fit me. Then I remembered this kiosk in the middle of the mall where I had purchased a few belt buckles. You know the kind of place. Ran by a mountain looking man in leather. He sold buckles of all kind large and small, NASCAR leather jackets, leather goods, maybe knives, and now important to me leather belts.

I wish I remembered the man’s name, but I don’t. The mall is still there, but empty. I do remember him saying that he had a small place on Mackinaw island that he ran in the summer. He did the kiosk off-season. The short of it is that he was a great guy and could help me out. When we started to talk about the belt he guided me to a few hundred leather straps to look through. I picked my buckle and leather. He then measured me, asked me about width, and told me to come back the next day. I did and it was perfect. He made and sold this belt for around $20. It was money well spent.

There are still places where you can get belts made. For example,
Narragansett Leathers is still around offering moderately priced leather goods. I am sure there are others out there as as well along with people making other stuff like shirts and moccasins. Enjoy it while it is here and get while the getting is good.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

17 Comments on "Money Well Spent"

  1. Steve L. says:

    That belt will look great with jeans.

  2. NCJack says:

    Leather Man Ltd. ( makes very good belts for a reasonable price. Lots of fabric belts with flags, whales, buoys etc. but a couple of good plain leather ones. I have two leather and one surcingle, attractive and long-wearing.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      How did I forget them. I am big fan. That is where I get all of my surcingle belts!

    • Will says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’m thinking of buying my first surcingle belt and they have some nice ones.

      For those who have one, is navy with a tan stripe a good option for a first surcingle belt?

      • oxford cloth button down says:

        I think that tan with a navy stripe would be better. Navy is high contrast if you are wearing khaki colored chinos. Not bad though. I have a navy one, but don’t wear it too often. I like olive the best and tans next best.

      • Richard says:

        Navy with stripe are classic. I own and recommend Leatherman Ltd. surcingle belts in Navy/Red, Navy/Green, and Navy/Yellow. I recommend starting with Navy/Red. For some reason it seems to go with everything.

  3. Jon V DiBenedetto says:

    Nice belt! To me that’s the perfect kind to wear with jeans and a casual shirt.

  4. Tom says:

    Since you say you’re looking for jeans, I’d suggest you look at Levi’s 514s.
    I’ve got a great old belt . purchased the same way. It’s lasted for years, very flexible.
    At the same time, I purchased a turquoise and silver belt buckle with an American eagle on it.
    Sounds overstated, but fairly subtle. Not preppy/trad, but you’ve got to mix it up once in a while.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks for the rec. I have tried 501’s & 505’s. Neither were quite there. I agree about mixing it up. Don’t let your clothes put you in a box!

  5. Pierre Lapin says:

    Levi’s 505 jeans are the “regular” Levi’s that most people know. Levi’s 514 have a “low rise” waist.

  6. RWK says:

    Do you plan to report back when you find jeans that meet your requirements? I’d be interested to hear if/what you find that works for you. I’d be interested in knowing your fit criteria as well. I’ve been searching for high rise denim in classic blue and in white as well. It’s been difficult to find a pair that are both high rise and fit snugly around my waist, without being too tight in the legs. I’m sure everyone has their own challenges in finding jeans that fit, but if you find a high rise pair you’d recommend, I’d love to hear about it.

  7. Eli says:

    There are a number of great places making belts in this general style (single thick piece of leather). They look great with jeans and more casual khakis. But recently I wanted to find a belt that worked better with dressier khakis and wool pants. (I know many like surcingle belts for this purpose, but even after trying a nice wool surcingle from O’Connell’s, it didn’t feel natural for me.) I wanted a belt with some padding in the center and stitching along the edges (a “lined and raised” belt), but this proved really difficult to find at a decent level of quality without spending a ton of money. I eventually ordered one from the “FlagLeather” shop on Etsy and couldn’t be more pleased with the result. I highly recommend these belts to anyone looking for this type of belt.

  8. Tall Trad says:

    RWK, et al.
    On the topic of finding a pair of jeans, I went through a similar search a few years ago. I found this article to be helpful:
    As a fifty-something man, Harrison Ford’s choice of jeans, the Wrangler 13MWZ Cowboy Cut Original Fit Jean, made a lot of sense to me. It comes in a multitude of colors and sizes, in waist sizes from 27 to 54 inches, and inseams from 30 to 40 inches. Waist sizes are in one-inch increments from 27 to 38 inches, and two inches thereafter, making it easy for most men to get a perfect fit. The 13MWZ is a high rise jean and sells for between $30 and $40. See or your local farm and ranch store.
    I also like the Wrangler 47MWZ Premium Performance Cowboy Cut Regular Fit Jean. The 47MWZ is a mid rise jean that also comes in various colors with a wide size range and sells for around $40. See
    I prefer the “U-shaped” fit of Wrangler jeans over Levi’s; Wranglers just fit me better in the waist and seat. Wrangler has been making the 13MWZ for over 50 years, which appeals to my trad sensibilities. Give them a try, you may find Wrangler has what you’re looking for.

  9. MostlyTrad says:

    It is nice, in our relentless desire for purchasing the next new piece, to rediscover something special we already have and enjoy. It can be a good exercise to slowly explore your closets and drawers to find these things. Recall when you bought it and the memories associated with the purchase as you have done. Nice post.

  10. andrew says:

    pricy, but Rancourt’s belts are extremely well made and last a very long time. best shell cordovan belt i could find, and 20% less than brooks brothers.

  11. JJ says:

    Can you do a write-up of what jeans you are considering? Levi’s 501 I recently found to be great. Sid Mashburn is a big fan, and if you like colors, he has several for a modest premium. White and black 501s are incredibly versatile (and with a normal waist)

I would like to hear from you