A piece of common advice amongst chefs is if your recipe calls for little ingredients, make sure the few ingredients are of good quality. The same principle applies when looking for a quality belt: a belt that last is one with a durable strap and a buckle. The craftsmanship and finishing of putting a belt together also matter however the material quality is the foundation to a good piece of belt.
Whether a belt is for a casual outfit or formal wear, we advise our customers to choose a quality one. While casual belts are usually bought with ongoing trends in mind and with an expectation to be thrown away, we advise against that. This is because a poorly made belt does not enhance your outfit. Your search for a quality belt should apply to formal and casual belts for your wardrobe.
A Quality Strap
For formal belts, a top-grain calf leather strap is a sure mark of quality. Ideally, the belt is tanned in water-based dye to render a supple texture. Although there are many similar-looking belt straps, a top-grain leather belt commands a premium price. Unlike split leather whose coating will peel off with humidity and usage, top grain leather ages and develop a patina. A belt made with top-grain leather grows with the user over time. Typically a formal belt, with proper care, should last the wearer over 4 years minimum.
A good quality casual leather belt is typically made with a full-grain or top-grain leather for the same reasons mentioned above. But a good quality casual belt need not be made only with premium leather. For instance, a high-quality leather braided belt made with top grain leather strips come with a price premium and hence would be less accessible to many customers who prefer to spend less for a casual belt. In such instances, we advise customers to keep an eye on the production details. At 72 Smalldive, to make our braided belts price accessible, we chose bonded leather but protected with a water-based fixed and woven in a tubular structure to ensure durability. Our braided non-leather braided belts are made from plant-based viscose and sewn with top-grain leather trimming. Material aside, construction details mentioned above also enhance the life of a belt.
The Belt Buckle
Brass is the second strongest and hardest metal allows beside stainless steel and is often the preferred choice of material for belt buckles. Always ask if the belt of your purchase is constructed with a solid brass buckle. Non-solid metal buckles, being hollow, are more susceptible to dents and damages. Whilst stainless steel is much tougher as a metal alloy than brass, it is not commonly used for belts. Unlike a watch strap which is more exposed to hard knocks, the belt buckle encounters less surface-induced knocks and scratches. The durability of a belt does not improve significantly with a stainless steel buckle despite a significant increment in price. Brass buckles may be plated in gold or silver or left in its original colour of burnished gold.