Part of having an evolving style is making mistakes with your purchases. This particular mistake was because I needed a black belt on short notice and I was trying to take a sartorial shortcut.
Shortly after I began my menswear journey, I had to present at a conference. I decided to go fully conservative* in my dress with a navy pinstripe three piece and black balmorals. My only pair of black balmorals were Allen Edmonds Park Avenues - perhaps the most conservative shoe you can own. I hadn’t worn them at that point, mostly because I didn’t have a black belt. So, I needed to get one. I decided Winners would be my best option.
Winners is sort of an outlet store that carries off-season brand names. I think its equivalent in the U.S. might be T.J. Maxx. It is mostly miss, with the occasional hit. I figured there was a good chance they would have a decent selection of black belts. I was wrong. The only belts they had were double-sided and reversible. There was a range of brand names that are supposed to represent quality, and likely once did, but now do not: Ben Sherman, Kenneth Cole, Swiss Army. It was clear that all the belts had been made in the same factory, just with each company’s logo put on the buckle. I chose the Swiss Army, as its logo was the simplest and most discrete.
Well, you can see what the consequences of this purchase were. Within just a few wears, the black side - which is just a very thin strip of leather glued to the thicker brown side - began to split away. After is started splitting, it began to tear apart.
I don’t necessarily regret this purchase. I needed a black belt quickly. This served my immediate purpose. But, clearly it’s wasteful and demonstrates the stupidity of the supposedly practically minded reversible black/brown belt.
I went to a Winners in Ottawa this past weekend, and they still only have these awful belts. I wonder how many of these atrocities they have warehoused because none of these brands were able to sell them at retail? I feel particularly bad for those who paid full price.
*Given the fields in which I work, and my politics, this is quite unlikely, and for that reason anything but conservative. Yes, I was being a bit of a #menswear dickhead.