One of the cooler traditions of preppydom is the handmade needle point belt. Usually made by an over-achieving wife or girlfriend, these belts are often stitched by hand for some lucky male to include numerous details relating to him as a person. Emblazonments might include initials, school logos, favorite sports teams, etc. While they were going to Bowdoin, two roommates were lucky enough to have theirs girlfriends make them belts, a fact that set them on a course to bring such craft to the masses. Thus Smathers and Branson was born.
Smathers and Branson belts come in a multitude of patterns from shotgun shells to Christmas tree lights, so something that fits who you are is bound to be offered. Plus, they’ve branched out from just belts to offer key fobs, dogs collars, and even cummerbunds. They’re a great way to break up the monotony of a pair of khakis, and if you really want to be daring, some madras shorts. In the spirit of St. Patty’s day (and my dubious Irish heritage), I’ve been demoing the Shamrock belt and key fob. I’m really impressed with the workmanship of both items. The needlepoint on both is well done with no flaws I’ve picked up on, and the leather work on the belt is high quality and much better than a few similar non-needlepoint belts of mine.
Editor’s Note: As a private high school kid from New England, I am biased to think these are cool. The quality really is top notch and they are sure to bring some variety and individuality to your wardrobe for years to come. If you really have your heart set on a custom belt and your lady friend is needlepoint challenged, Smathers and Branson does offer them, but it will cost you a fair amount extra. Pairing this to go out with some green Bonobos and my Shamrock tie before imbibing too much Guinness yesterday was…brilliant!