The Solid Surcingle Belt

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.”

Olive Surcingle with TweedThere 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. Madras Shirt & Olive SurcingleThe 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.
Surcingle Belt w/ UniformLast, 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?

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

8 Comments on "The Solid Surcingle Belt"

  1. Minimalist says:

    I was pleased to see that the belt wasn’t embroidered with critters or nautical motifs.

  2. fred johnson says:

    I agree with you 100%, both for the belts and watch bands. I would not be without either. the natural colored surcingle belt is a must have staple, I too do not like the striped versions or striped sweaters for that matter. Well chosen subjects, thanks.

  3. Andy Gilchrist says:

    Lovely rig in the photo Jerrod, very understated. I may have to update The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothing with a chapter devoted to you 😉

    Your friend,


  4. J. E. Merrick says:

    That’s a great bag that you have there. What kind is it, and where did you get it, if you don’t mind my asking.



  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    Minimalist – While I do have those types (only 1 actually) I reserve it for the weekend or at least casual Friday. I am a minimalist at heart myself.

    Fred – Thanks! You are right about the natural being a must have. I need to get my priorities straight!

    Andy – You are too kind!

    J.E. – Thanks, I really like the bag as well. I actually picked it from Urban Outfitters of all places about 7 years ago. It is a Brothers Bray bag which is Billy Kirk’s cheaper line. Not sure if they are still available or not.

  6. James says:

    Hey Jerrod,

    Quick question (but not related to this post) do you have smart and casual khakis? Or do you wear the same type for the office that you wear when ‘off duty’ or more casual?

  7. oxford cloth button down says:

    James – I do have smart and casual khakis, but they are the identical in make. I transition my smart khakis to casual khakis after they have become too worn to be smart. Overtime they become smaller (because of the the dryer) and softer (because of washing & drying) which make them great for casual wear. I use the amount of fraying as an indicator of when to demote them to casual duty.

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