Brookes & Hyde Brown Ale Dress Belt Review – $160

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We’ve enjoyed reviewing a good handful of belts recently, but this is our first dress belt of the year. In fact, it’s somewhat rare for quality leather product companies to make them! Which makes our look at the Brookes & Hyde Brown Ale Dress Belt all the more exciting. This belt is well made and looks fantastic with a suit.

About Brookes & Hyde

It’s been my pleasure to get to know Connor Sambrookes, owner and founder of Brookes & Hyde, over the last year or so. Connor started Brookes & Hyde as a senior thesis project. Hoping to design shoes, he began work for a company designing products for some of the biggest names out there. It was at this job the opportunity to apprentice under a highly experienced leather craftsman came about, leading to creating his own products and founding the company. Brookes & Hyde has grown quite a bit since we began working with them. The company continues as a one man show out of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Leather & Construction

Brookes & Hyde’s Dress Belt is made with Horween leather, Essex on the outer and filled with Snuffed Suede. Essex leather uses the same tanning extracts as the famous Horween Shell Cordovan, and is perfect for a dress belt. It’s strong, has a great feel to it, and will age beautifully.

The buckle is nickel plated cast zinc and looks fantastic. While a buckle attached with rivets or chicago screws would be stronger, I think stitching works better for this belt. Firstly, stitching fits much better aesthetically for a dress belt. In addition, a dress belt likely won’t take too much abuse, and this quality stitching will hold up well.

Stitching is done by machine with bonded nylon thread, and follows the entire edge of the belt to hold in fill and reduce stretch. It’s very uniform and strong. Impressively, all edges of the belt are burnished and painted–even the buckle pin holes! This is a level of attention to detail we don’t see too often.

Overall construction is immaculate. Some aspects are done with class in mind rather than pure strength, but that fits the bill for a dress belt.

Function

I’ve said it before and will say it again: a belt is functionally very simple. This belt, like many others before it, holds up your pants. Brookes & Hyde’s Dress Belt is made very well, and is a pleasure to use. The careful burnishing and painting of the edges and overall uniform construction make it easy to slip this belt through your belt loops and tighten.

My belt size has the bad habit of being right between standard sizes, but this does give me the opportunity to note if it’s best to size up or down with belts. I ended up getting a belt a size down. This worked out, as the belt felt a bit small at first, but a little use proved to stretch the size just a tad to make it just right. Brookes & Hyde will help you find the right size for you.

Aesthetic

It’s critical for a dress belt to look great, and Brookes & Hyde doesn’t disappoint! The Horween Essex has a beautiful color and grain. The nickel plated buckle has a chrome-shine finish. The clean stitching and painted edges bring the materials together in a classy, high-fashion way.

I typically pair my Brown Ale colored belt with a grey suit, matched with my shoes. I think it would go equally well with a navy suit. This belt is a real stunner and will shine amongst all the standard belts most men pair with their suits.

Conclusion

The Brookes & Hyde Brown Ale Dress Belt strikes a great balance of sturdy construction while not forgetting the importance of a classy, great looking dress belt. The materials are high quality and carefully put together. Attention to detail enhances the formality of the look and makes the belt a pleasure to use. This isn’t a cheap belt, but you’re not likely to see this level of attention to detail at a much cheaper price point. I highly recommend this belt for anyone hoping to enhance their dress look with a belt made of high-end leathers.

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About Author

Computer engineering graduate student, research assistant, DJ. Lover of music, volleyball, good conversation, cold milk, corgis, and the work of passionate leather artisans.

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