Common wisdom when buying a belt is to get one two inches longer than your pant’s waist size. But no two people wear their pants the same way. The best way to determine your belt size is to measure the distance from the point on the buckle where the tongue meets the bar down to the hole you use at the other end. The belt maker will then make the belt using that measurement.
Custom belts are made from better leather and with a better buckle than store bought belts. At Dally Leather I use Latigo leather which is infused with oils and waxes to make it pliable and durable. This leather is available in black, dark brown, burgundy and light brown (sometimes called “yellow”). Vegetable tanned leather can be dyed to the color of your choice if you have a special request.
Both Latigo and veg-tanned leather quickly forms to your body and wears beautifully. The more you wear it the better it will look and feel. Like a fine pair of shoes the belt will need the occasional polish. Avoid pure neatsfoot oil because it will soften the leather so that it stretches and darken the color. A neatsfoot oil based cleaner is alright to use, but saddle soap is the best cleaner and conditioner.
At Dally Leather I use solid brass buckles with several different finishes that will last a lifetime. They develop a lovely patina and polish from wear. Some store bought belts will have buckles painted with a gold shellac or chrome that will eventually chip. The buckles I use will not chip.
I hand sew the buckles onto the belt using a saddle stitch unless the customer requests snaps. Most store bought belts use glove snaps, but at Dally Leather I use larger brass snaps to increase security. If you want to change your buckle, snaps are the way to go, but not all buckles are the same size. To get the best custom fit the buckle size has be accounted for in the measurement. Avoid a belt with a buckle sewn on straight across the width because this weakens the leather.
A custom made belt from Dally Leather will have burnished edges, a four stage process, and a hand rubbed finish. That is something else you will rarely find in a store bought belt. I will cover values unique to custom made items in a future blog.
Thanks for reading.