A belt or two, as many of us know, is an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. Whether it is a less expensive one for work to just hold up your jeans or a more casual/ dressier one for the office or outing, a belt adds a lot to the overall attire. When buying a belt there are a few factors most have in mind. The strength of the belt- to withstand the test of time and stretching. The color-to go with a chosen pair of pants or shirt. The style-to fit with the theme, dress, and look of person wearing it. Southwind Leather of England captures all three of these issues and makes beautiful hand crafted bridle leather belts from the finest and strongest materials ensuring a sturdy and stylish product thats not only built to last but meant to look better with age.
Owner Dan Mroz started working with leather in 2012. His hobby of making something tangible and useful turned into a business selling fine leather goods such as belts, cellphone cases, and wallets.
This belt is constructed with full grain leather sourced from J & FJ Baker and Co. tannery in England. J & FJ Baker is the last known tannery in England that uses a traditional method of oak bark tanning. The addition of the oak bark in the tanning process makes way for a stronger fiber and leather grain while keeping the leather lighter in weight which makes it a fine leather for boots and belts.
The leather is thinner at the edges (4mm) and thicker in the center (5.5mm). The belt is one strip of leather and is smooth and shiny on the front side with a more rough and natural finish on the edges and back side. The sticking is hand stitched using waxed Irish linen cord. The hardware is solid brass.
This is a fine belt. The color, London Tan, is a light, warm and rich tone that looks great alongside denim and allows the belt to really pop. The simple yet elegant minimalist design showcases the leather and the beautiful color. Out of the box, I was surprised to find how light and less stiff it was compared to other full grain leather belts I have owned. The brass has a nice weathered and antique look and feel that complements the leather and the design without being to shiny or heavy. Lastly, the stitching was a nice touch as well. The white brings the leather color and the brass together nicely and is neither too much or too little. I really like how there is just a small amount of stitching near the buckle rather than the whole length of the belt. This really adds to the handmade feel of this piece and the art. there are a good amount of standard belts on the market that have similar color stitching that is less noticeable. It is clear that Dan chose these three colors and materials to compliment each other rather than one or two to be either unnoticeable or overdone.
When buying a belt obviously an key thing to note is the sizing. Here in the United States most are accustomed to buying a belt according to their pant waist size. Dan suggested that I use a tape measure to measure my waist in inches to get a more accurate fit. Upon receiving the belt, however, I was slightly disappointed that the belt was actually a tad too large for me. My suggestion would be to either go with a length of a belt you already own and are happy with or the measurement of your pant size.
After using the belt for a solid month I can already see it wearing, stretching and getting some lovely aging marks. This is a belt that will look better with age for sure. At first I was concerned that the color wouldn’t go with anything since my belt buying habits have always been to lean towards darker brown and black. I was pleasantly surprised on how much I like this color and am now considering other leather goods in a similar tone. I appreciate the simple design as it is not overdone with too many stitches or rivets. It is simple and elegant and lets the materials and craftsmanship shine. Check it out here.
Dan was also kind enough to offer a 10% to BestLeather readers. Mention the code: ‘SPECIAL10’ when shopping on the Southwind Leather site.