There is something undeniably wonderful about high quality leather products. High-end fabrics are delightful as well, but there’s just something about the feel, smell, and appearance of great leather goods that is fantastic to experience. My most recent leather goods purchase came in the form of two lovely belts from the folks at Equus Leather, and after wearing them for a week I can say that they’re exactly what I was hoping for.
I have been in need of a couple of good belts for a long time but the purchase was never a priority for me; it’s much easier to walk out the door with a well-fitting jacket and a mediocre belt than to do the reverse. Nonetheless, my day-to-day cheap reconstituted leather belt was looking worse by the hour and I knew that replacing it needed to become a priority. After doing some styleforum research on Equus Leather I decided to place an order (a very informative thread can be found here).
Equus Leather is a small company making leather belts and accessories in rural Northumberland in the UK (just up the road from the shoe mecca of Northampton). All of the products are made to order out of high-quality bridle leather and metal fittings. The ordering process was simple and Charlie Trevor (the company’s owner) was quick to answer my questions and offer suggestions. He is very open to any changes to their products and had no problem discussing and facilitating my request to place the belt holes at ¾” rather than 1″. The turnaround time was about five weeks, and when the belts arrived they were beautifully wrapped and accompanied by a handwritten note.
Both of the belts are made entirely by hand from thick bridle leather. The belts are hand-stitched rather than riveted (creating a stronger belt), their edges are beautifully beveled, dyed and burnished, and the buckles are polished to a high shine (satin finishes are available as well). The dark drown belt above is Australian Nut from J&E Sedgwick Leather with a brass buckle. The light brown is Bakers Leather Oak Brown with a nickel buckle. Both are 1 ¼” wide, which I find to be the most versatile width for belts. The Australian Nut belt has a fairly matte finish but a deep solid color. The Oak Brown leather is completely different – it has a mottled, variegated look that shows the natural changes in the leather, almost giving it the look of museum calf. Both belts are very handsome but the depth of the oak brown leather is particularly stunning and the warm nickel buckle is beautiful as well.
Equus Leather belts start at around $60 (without VAT) and go up depending on material and style choices. There is also a discount code available for styleforum members. It may seem like a lot of money for a piece that gets so little attention but I find the price to be very fair given the quality of material and construction as well as the degree of customization. Belts are often surprisingly expensive; as a reference point, Allen Edmonds and Brooks Brothers belts start around $100 and will lack the customization and attention to detail that Equus Leather offers (and I highly doubt the quality will be any better). It’s not uncommon for high-end brands to have traditional leather belts for $200 or more. With that perspective, I think Equus Leather is a great deal.
Another company worth mentioning is Narragansett Leathers, which makes American-tanned bridle belts in Maine. Their offerings begin at around $40, which is a fantastic price for the product (Jason is known to be a big fan). I personally found the detailing and finishing to be more appealing at Equus, but I think that either would make a great buy.