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.
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.