Under the sartorial microscope today, I will be closely scrutinizing a standard gentlemanly accoutrement with an unexpected twist. Now, the gentleman’s belt is an indispensable accessory whose sole pragmatic function is securing one’s britches at an acceptable level, thus preventing the undesirable sight of dingy undergarments or ashy butt cracks. Dreadfully – it could be a combination of both. The standard issue belt arrives simply as a flexible strip of leather, dotted with incremental holes, with a buckle attached to one end so that a gentleman can fasten it around his waist. And so, that brings me to the product I am examining today. In the interest of fairness and honesty, when I first spied Mission Belt Company on the television show Shark Tank, I was thoroughly skeptical. A belt with no holes? I was not sold on the idea.
So, it was very surprising when a representative from Mission Belt Company reached out to me for a review. It was the perfect opportunity to address my skepticism. Perhaps my initial assessment, albeit by way of television, was unfounded and without appropriate merit. Could a belt absent its signature holes actually be worth the investment? Sure, there are hole-less belts on the current market in the form of d-ring and braided belts. However, this particular belt, with its unique ratchet mechanism, was unlike anything I have personally utilized. So, I decided it was worth a fair perusal.
Now, I would be woefully negligent if I did not mention the “mission” portion of Mission Belt Company. I don’t want to butcher their vision and mission, so what follows is their philosophy for the company:
“Here at Mission Belt Co, we don’t just want our customers to look good – we want them to feel good too. That’s why a dollar from every belt sold goes to fight global hunger and poverty. Having lived and worked across the globe, we’ve seen firsthand the struggles of those who aren’t as fortunate in their circumstances through no fault of their own. There are so many industrious, motivated men and women striving for a better life for themselves and their families. Sometimes, the only thing holding them back is a little capital to get started and break the poverty cycle. A few hundred dollars to buy a cow, a few chickens, or supplies to sell, can mean the difference between unemployment and a productive, independent business.
So we decided to start a company that is so focused on fighting world hunger and poverty, that you’ll know about our “Mission” from the second you hear our name. We’ll be the first to admit that our no-holes belts are pretty awesome, and you’d probably want to have one regardless of our Mission. But even more important than producing the world’s sleekest, most stylish, and most comfortable belts, is making sure we can do it in a socially responsible way. Every time you put on your belt, and hear the ‘click click’ of the perfect fit, you can remember that you too are a part of the Mission.
So that we can focus on making our world-class belts, we searched around for a well-known and respected organization to work with, and found just that in Kiva (www.Kiva.org). Kiva is a non-profit, peer-to-peer ‘micro-lending’ organization that helps provide opportunities to support economic development and entrepreneurship, mostly in developing countries, as part of its efforts to alleviate poverty and create more economic opportunity. Before you think we’re loan sharks, Kiva doesn’t collect nor pay us any interest on our funds. Rather, we help to increase the supply of credit for borrowers who might not have access to traditional banking services in their home countries.
As stewards of our time, talents, and resources, we take our Mission seriously. We aren’t Sally Struthers preying on people’s emotions and we aren’t charity-tourists taking a trip around the globe to hand out school supplies to starving kids. We’d rather avoid the airfare and the photo-ops, and get the most bang for our belts by focusing our Mission on three key aspects: sustainability, transparency and impact.”
Honestly, I think their mission is very admirable. I cannot speak to its impact or magnitude, but its concept is admirable nonetheless. For more information regarding Mission Belt’s social entrepreneurship, please visit HERE for details. Now, on to the observations.
- True story: Upon unearthing the mission belt from its package, I jokingly remarked to Stephanie that it smelled and felt like real leather. And to my amusement, as I turned the belt over for inspection, engraved on the underside: Yeah…it’s real leather. I surmise Mission Belt anticipated the doubt. Clever.
- So, addressing the quality of leather, it is definitely soft and extremely pliable. This is certainly not some stiff, plastic piece of imitation leather that you will be securing your trousers with.
- The stitching is tight with no noticeable frays or loose threads.
- For leather selections, the standard register of business colors are available: black and brown. For more adventurous, fashion-forward gentlemen; colors such as red, blue, and even gray can be purchased.
- The buckles are seriously heavy-duty. A gentleman is presented with options of brushed stainless steel, gold, or brass. The designs are varied, yet simple; ranging from plain solids to colored solids to a three bar design with color.
- The underside the belt is embedded with a small rigid track that “catches” a small metal clip that is housed within the belt clip. Think of a roller coaster on its ascent, you can hear the belt clicking as you insert it into the belt buckle.
- To release the belt and remove, there is a small lever that sits on the side of the buckle. Pull the lever away from the body, and the belt easily releases.
- If a gentleman loses a little weight, the buckle can be removed, and the desired length of leather can be cut off to accommodate the difference in waist girth. Simply re-attach the buckle and you are good to go. This is probably cleaner than punching more holes in a standard belt, or perhaps just going to buy another. However, once you cut that leather, it is no going back. So, if you are a gentleman that has weight fluctuations, it may not be a good idea to go slicing your belt.
- Speaking of width, there are two belt widths currently available: 35 mm and 40 mm.
- A gentleman can expect to pay between $26.99 (kids) to $34.95-39.95 (adults).
- Usage is relatively simple. Just insert your belt to fasten, and then pull the release lever to loosen. While the buckle is really sturdy, the release lever could be prone to wear and tear if your touch is heavy-handed.
In conclusion, I think Mission Belt Company has presented the gentleman with a great alternative to the standard belt. Given a gentleman does not change out belts that frequently, the investment could be worthwhile. The leather is quality and the sturdiness of the buckle and the ratchet mechanism should provide dutiful service without breaking. Again, be aware that if one does decide to size down due to weight loss, any leather cut off cannot be recovered – so tread lightly. So, despite my initial doubts, I have to give Mission Belt Company a thumbs up for a quality, innovative product. Check them out for yourselves: http://missionbelt.com/
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.