I will continue with last week’s theme of simplicity and accessories, but will move down from the wrist to the waist. That’s right, I am talking about belts. Not any type of belt, but the surcingle belt in solid colors. Before I get too far along in this post I should define what a surgincle belt is (actually I will let Wikipedia define it for me),
“A surcingle belt is a belt having a web body with leather fittings on either end and a frame style metal buckle. The web is usually a heavy wool twill and may be solid colored or longitudinally striped, or embroidered with a repeating motif. The leather ends are sewn onto this, and are generally narrowed. Surcingle belts are conventionally considered an element of casual dress. They are strongly associated with the preppy subculture.”
There are two things that I think make this belt so versatile. The first is the solid color. What I like most about solid colors is they are easy to forget (or hard to remember?) which is also why I prefer solid colored sweaters. It is much more likely that people will notice how often you wear an item with multiple colors compared with a solid colored item. It also takes less thought when getting dressed. You don’t have to give much consideration to matching or clashing. The second feature about this belt in particular is the color olive. Olive has long held a place in traditional American clothing whether it be olive chinos, an olive tweed sport coat, or an olive Shetland. Like most things Trad olive is understated. I find that it works with almost every rig that I put together. It adds a bit of color, but never commands attention. The solid surcingle can not only add color, but it can also tone down an item such as madras shirt (see the example above).
There are two points that I would like you to take away from this post. The first is to consider adding a solid colored surcingle belt to your arsenal. It is an easy way to add color to your outfit without adding too much color. The second is to consider a quiet color. While I am a proponent of olive I also think that natural or navy are great options. In fact, my next surcingle will be natural.
Last, but not least the surcingle belt is extremely versatile. I have shown it above with sports shirts, dress shirts with ties, blazers, tweeds and in every season. If you add one to your closet I think that it will prove itself to be a valuable asset.
For more about the surcingle belt I encourage you to check out The Weejun’s post on surcingle belts. It is an oldie, but a goodie. You can find it here: Whatever Happened to the Surcingle Belt?
As I was taking off my watch the other day I noticed that it may be time to give it a wash (pictured below). After further inspection it was clear that my favorite watch strap has seen better days. It is not at death’s door yet, but it is time to start thinking about its successor.
When it comes to finding nylon watch straps the good thing is that you don’t have to look far to find some great inexpensive options. I always recommend the Central Watch’s 5 for $30 deal on their nylon straps, but there are also great options at O’Connell’s, J.Press, and J.Crew.
If you are looking for an actual NATO style band (They do have a military history, but it does not involve NATO troops.) I suggest checking out Smart Turnout. They have an impressive collection of regimental bands. However, If you have smaller wrists such as myself you may find NATO straps a little bulky due to the excess length which is why I avoid them even thought I love the utilitarian design.
The watch band that I have my eye on over at O’Connell’s. It has great colors, but I am not sold on the grommetts.
I used to switch my bands out regularly, but over the past 2-3 years I have become a one-band type guy. I am not sure if this because I have begun to wear ties a few days a week and that satisfies my need for color or if I am just growing more boring by the day. Either way it won’t hurt to add another to the collection!