Thursday, July 8, 2010

BR Belt Review & DIY Belt Alterations

Shopping online for belts is so hit-or-miss for me, because despite what the size chart says I never really know where the tightest hole will lie, and more often than not it's nowhere near my waist.  And while braided belts are always a fail-safe, they don't always go with everything and of course we all need some classic leather belts in our wardrobe.

My one and only belt from BR was a skinny leather one purchased several years ago, which only fits because I was desperate enough to punch a hole in it myself with some extra-pointy scissors.  And while it serves the purpose, it's not exactly pretty looking if anyone cares to examine it closely.  I was hoping that BR has somehow improved their sizing in the last few years, so I decided to order several belts that were available in XXS to see how they fit.

Unfortunately, none of them are small enough to fit my true waist, but these first two are somewhat passable:

                                   
       Classic Leather Belt                                Snake-Embossed Belt
    
They sit on my low waist, about a couple inches below my natural waist.  The black classic leather is just a tad smaller than the grey snake-embossed belt.  They would probably be fine for belting pants, but would not work for belting high-waisted skirts.  The leather is okay but nothing to marvel at.

The other two that I got were so loose they would be a joke unless they were meant to be hip belts (and if so, that should've been stated in their description):

                                     
Metallic Leather Belt                              Leather Woven Belt
As you can see, they sit on my high hip, even on the tightest hole.  The metallic one feels very soft which I liked.  The woven one feels very cheap though, and for some reason it squeaks like you wouldn't believe.

I don't think I'll be keeping any of these.  To date, I still haven't found a belt that truly fits off the rack except for braided or stretch ones.  I wish belt manufacturers would just punch a few more holes in their smallest sizes, I'm sure it doesn't cost them any extra and they would gain a number of customers who would then find them to fit.

I've heard that belts can be taken to shoe repair shops to be resized, but I'm not sure how much it costs and it's a little bit of a hassle to be honest.  Alternatively, I've seen some inexpensive leather punching tools that can punch holes in a variety of sizes... which sounds like a great idea:
 Leather Hole Punch Tool, Heavy Duty

It's so cheap that I'm thinking about just getting it to try.  It definitely would solve my belt sizing problems, but I'm afraid it might ruin a nice belt (which is also then not returnable!).  Do you have any experience with these tools or have gone to get it professionally done?

26 comments:

  1. I have that leather hole punch and it works perfectly! Highly recommend. I always just punch a hole then tuck the longer end of the belt in at the side and it still looks great.

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  2. I think I have the BR braided leather belt. It's a different color I think. It's definitely meant to be sitting on your hip. I have worn it in this post:
    http://vickysdailyfashion.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html
    No hole punching needed. :)
    However, I have been punching holes since I could remember. I have always used a craft hole puncher, not a specific leather one, and it works fine.

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  3. I have some vintage belts that my mom picked up for me... when worn around the skinniest part of my waist I have to notch it in the first hole so it's worn at the largest circumference, which makes me feel like a fatass but I'm glad they fit tight rather than loose! Perhaps belts and such were made smaller back in the day.. My sister and I also have had luck with XS belts at F21 (my sister is skinnier than me), but we are sure to pick out the stretchy ones as those tend to be smaller. How about looking for leather belts in the kids dept at Nordstrom or Bloomie's? I'm sure they make some basic ones...

    I myself do not have experience with those tools, but I have taken scissors to my shoes before to create an extra notch! I accidentally tore a slit in one haha.

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  4. I don't have that many belts to begin with. I have one casual one from A&F Kids to wear with jeans. It fits pretty good. I also had luck with this Gap belt in XS(http://tinyurl.com/28ojqve). I also have a few belts from Asia. They punched holes for me when I purchased them :) I don't think you would have any problem with the tool. They use the exact same one to punch holes on my belts back there.

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  5. hehe thank you :D yeah, up close it looks kind of funny but i guess no one's going to stare at my lips that close. i can't avoid the sun anymore for some reason so i'm tanner than i want to be. i'm lucky i stumbled upon this shade!

    ELF is carried in targets, kmarts, and biglots i think. on their site, they have a store locator. since you're in LA, you can probably find tons near you :D

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  6. i have the same issue with belts! i always have to punch holes with a nail or something ghetto or wear them low on my hip and it just looks unclassy. the store picture of the leather woven belt looks so cute but in person it definitely disappoints.

    the tool is something i'd try! :)

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  7. My waist is about the same size as yours (between 23 and 25 inches depending on how much I ate and how long ago) and I can well understand your problem. I have been looking for tiny slim belts to wear at the waist for ages, and finally got two of these skinny leather belts from JCrew (see http://www.jcrew.com/AST/Browse/WomenBrowse/Women_Shop_By_Category/accessories/belts/PRDOVR~27312/99102035331/ENE~1+2+3+22+4294967294+20~~~20+17+4294966904~15~~~~~~~/27312.jsp) in size S.
    They fit well on the tightest hole with just a tiny bit of room so its not uncomfortable. They were on sale, so I got two of those immediately. They come in all sorts of colors and textures. Maybe you should check out a JCrew store once and take a look at them yourself. I was amazed that the belt fit so well, in spite of it being a size S (XS doesn't exist), but it's meant to be worn at the waist, so I guess that's why its really small. Also, I should mention here, that when I tried on the belt in store I hadn't eaten for hours, so my waist was probably closer to 23/24 inches. :-)
    Good luck with your search, I really like your blog!

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  8. My dad always punches extra holes in belts for me. Not sure how he does it though haha

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  9. My father used to work in a shoe factory 20 yrs ago and he bought a similar tool when they closed. I used it for that very purpose (and making teddy bear backpacks out of scrap leather). In fact, this is Saved for Later in my Amazon shopping cart! Get it, you won't regret it!

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  10. Sigh, those belts are all big on you! I agree with the no keep.

    So although hole punchers may work well, my qualm is the excess belt material that still flops around. And although kids belts are a good option for basic brown/black leather, you just won't be able to find nice pebbled or snakeskin belts in the kiddy dept.

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  11. I feel your pain. Wouldn't it be nice if more clothes and accessories were made just for petite?! I have a few belts in my closets and I had to punch an extra hole myself.

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  12. ohhh man i'm sorry. that sucks! i have the same problem with belts and i do that same exact thing. i punch holes with a sharp scissors. i also do that with shoes that have ankle straps too. let me know how the hole puncher works.

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  13. Here are a couple of pebbled leather belts in black, brown, and white that should definitely fit.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3060184/0~2379292~2379293~6017450?mediumthumbnail=Y&origin=category&searchtype=&pbo=6017450&P=3

    If I had a Nordstrom near me, I would definitely look for them since I can never find belts either (my waist is 23").

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  14. Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions! I'm glad some of you have had good experiences with the punching tool or something similar, I think I'm going to get it! The time I tried to punch a belt hole with scissors, it was really messy looking and more of a slit than a hole.

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  15. I've definitely punched extra holes in my leather belts and it generally works very well. Just be sure to carefully mark where you want the new holes before you punch! For me, I find this sort of hole punch works best:

    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Memories-MM6166-Tool-Kit/dp/B00026UZD4

    The advantage is that it also works on wide belts and it has three different hole sizes. As for the extra belt flopping around, it's not an ideal solution, but I use these small clear rubber bands to keep the end of the belt in place:

    http://www.amazon.com/Goody-Clear-Elastic-Bands-52/dp/B00122CP30

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  16. I recall I had so much hard time try to punch a hole on the belt with Scissors, screw drivers... That's why I never buy any belt on line. I think it's definitely worth of buying with such a good price. But I think you might want to start with wider belt to see if it's sharp enough so it won't cause any cracks on the belt. Let us know how it goes, I need one too.

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  17. I have one of those leather hole puncher tools and love it! In fact, it's at work right now because I told co-workers about it and they're bringing their belts in so we can punch more holes in them! It's a great tool and even scrawny little me can punch a hole with it pretty easily.

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  18. I've definitely punched some holes in belts.. and even shoes. hehe. Can't wait for your hole puncher review! If it goes well I'll get one too :)

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  19. I'll definitely post a review when it comes. Maybe I should get a cheapie belt to test it out on first :)

    Catherine - I love your idea of using clear rubber bands. I think I'm going to try that!

    AN - I'm so glad it works for you because arm strength (or lack thereof) is also a concern of mine.

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  20. Using double sided tape or those craft/scrapbooking glue dots to secure the loose end of a long belt works well to keep it from flapping around.

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  21. Look what I just found, right after your article:
    http://www.extrapetite.com/2010/07/how-to-punch-extra-non-crappy-looking.html

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  22. Great post! I usually buy kids belts or attempt to fix big ones myself with a combination of scissors, leather punches, sewing machines, etc.. For wide elastic belts I've found childrens ones to work well.

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  23. This is my first time i visit here. I found many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work.Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions.

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  24. leather.skirts - Thanks for reading and for the nice comment! I know I'm supposed to enjoy blogging for the sake of it, but it always makes my day to hear such nice things from readers :)

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  25. hi, new to the site, thanks.

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