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Hey Sid!

What do you do with a beaded belt?

Hey Sid!

You ask, Sid answers

Submit a question at heysid@sidmashburn.com

"I've always thought your beaded belts look so cool, but have never been able to pull the trigger for fear of not knowing when/where/how to wear one exactly. Can you share any ideas and possibly photos?" – Kevin

Hey Kevin, I know these belts make a bit of a statement and you don't see very many. They're special. But they're not that complicated to work into what you're already wearing, and you'll get a ton of compliments.

Admittedly, these have been a long time in the making for us. I fell in love with a style similar to these when I was a kid - they were the belts you'd find in a Western store, mostly with American Indian designs. If we stopped at Stuckey's on a car trip, I wanted one of those just as much as a pecan log roll, or anything in the candy aisle. The colors and the patterns are works of art. Just beautiful. So I tried to make them when I was at J. Crew and then again when I was working for Ralph at Polo, but we could never find the right maker. Fast-forward to a few years ago, when we found some local artisans in Kenya doing traditional Masai beadwork on these. Each one takes a day to make (quite the turnaround time!) and each is a little bit different.

But it sounds like you're bought in on the belts themselves – so let's talk about how to wear them. I follow a few rules here:

1. Stick to solid color 5-pockets, sports trousers or shorts.

2. Avoid dress trousers or pants with a pattern to them. (Khakis excepted.) For most people, beaded belt + print is just a liiiiitttttle too much going on – and since you're writing in about these, my guess is that you're one of those people.

3. Keep your shirt to a solid color or a simple pattern. Stripes and graph checks and small prints are a yes; large-scale, many-colored plaids, probably not.

You asked for some photos, so I pulled a bunch of stuff together with a few Atlanta guys on the ping-pong table yesterday to try and illustrate it. Here are my liner notes for a few specific outfit ideas, whether you're a t-shirt guy, a dress-shirt-with-the-sleeves-rolled-up guy, or somewhere in between.

 

 

Idea #1: this one with a university striped western shirt, green pants, and chocolate suede tassel loafers.

Idea #2: this one with a printed shirtwhite jeans, and sand suede Chelsea sneakers.

Idea #3: this one with a navy polo, day-glo jeans, and chocolate suede penny loafers.

Idea #4: this one with white poplin dress shirt, khaki high-ridge twill trousers, and suede driving mocs.

 

 

Idea #5: this one with an end-on-end striped shirtindigo jeans, and handsewn penny loafers.

Idea #6: this one with a green pocket tee, khaki twill shorts, and and suede low-tops.

Idea #7: this one with a tattersall sport shirt, blue twill sport trousers, and tobacco suede tassel loafers.

 

 

For me, these belts solve the classic quandary: how do you make khakis cool? Thrown on a pair of 5-pockets, or cords, or high-ridge twill sport trousers or canvas shorts... add a white oxford shirt, and boom. Any of the belts would give that ensemble a beautiful and slightly wild lift - works pretty much every time.

As for when and where - as long as you're sticking to those 3 general rules, I'd say any place that's "5-pocket friendly" is a perfect setting for one of these belts. Hoping this helps you pull the trigger... sounds like you've been wanting one for awhile. Just bead it.

From Sid

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