There’s lots of “should” and “must-haves” when it comes to the world of men’s fashion. Often times they are just seasonal or gimmicky pieces that do little to enhance a man’s outfit and certainly don’t fulfill the category of “basic clothing necessity”. One piece that is an actual “must-have” necessity is the belt. The belt, obviously served a very important function and that was to keep a person’s pants up. Now a days there are endless choices in what kind of belt you want (e.g. leather, thickness, price, hardware, width, occasion, etc.). I prefer a belt that can go with a majority of my outfits. I don’t need flash. If the belt is made from quality leather, it doesn’t need to make a statement…it will be a statement.

I’ve had an opportunity to wear and review a leather belt from Whiskey Leatherworks located in Missoula, Montana. The belt in question is the Horween CXL & Copper Belt. If you’re a dude and you don’t know about Horween, start studying. The price point on this piece comes in at $149, which for some may seem high. However, if you consider the materials that are being used, that it was handmade by one guy, it’s made in the USA and this belt will outlast you; it’s a smart purchase.

Now, I wear a lot of denim, boots and workstyle clothes, so it’s easy to see how this belt would go with just about anything I wear. I do, fortunately have a dressier side to me. I work in healthcare where I meet lots of doctors and other healthcare professionals; and I need to dress much nicer. I was able to pair this belt with chinos, slacks, dress shirts and dress shoes without missing a beat. The belt was designed to be minimalistic. Even after several weeks of solid wear, a rich patina has started showing on the leather.

I like specs when it comes to my clothing. I like to know the ins and outs of how the pieces were made that I’m wearing. This belt boasts an 8-10oz weight for the leather. That means that leather will age nicely and can hold up to tons of wear and different environments. Not to mention, since the leather is coming from Horween Leather Tannery in Chicago, you’ll be getting a belt made from a company that has spent the last 100 years perfecting their tanning process. Additionally, the copper buckle and keeper are made by a blacksmith named Nathan Kimpell right there in Montana. Who can say that about their belts? You know a belt is badass when part of it was made by a freakin’ blacksmith.

I had an opportunity to talk with Dan and ask him about the process that went into making a belt in an over-saturated market. Here’s what he had to say:

“When we first entered the leather goods business, we wanted to create a belt that would stand out in a very saturated market. Numerous options were out there from a lot of makers both big and small when it came to ‘American made’ belts. Most only offered an American tanned strap with an inexpensive roller buckle. We had a difficult time finding a belt that featured both an American-tanned strap and an American-made buckle, especially one for less than $200-$300. However, with Missoula being Missoula, you’re rarely ever more than one degree of separation from a highly talented artisan that can develop just about anything you need. So, it didn’t take long before I found myself standing in Nathan’s shop, forge blasting, and him hammering away on what would become the rustic copper buckle. After Nathan pulled the first one out of the forge and then polished it on the buffing wheel, I knew we had hit the mark we had set with developing a very unique belt like nothing else being offered. In addition to copper, we also started using other metals such as bronze and stainless steel, all of which have their own unique characteristics and appearance.”

There you go. Right from the source. Dan and his leather business strive for functionality, durability and beauty as benchmarks to making any one of their belts.
Yes, there are lots of options for belts, but if you’re going to choose one, choose from a leather-maker that is passionate about his craft and strives to use the highest quality materials. Choose a belt that can hold up to the rigors of working outside as well as look good on a pair of dress pants. Plus, the belt says whiskey on it and looks like the color of the best tasting alcohol on the planet. (Just as a side note, if you’re a guy and you don’t like whiskey, you need to re-think some things.)

So, what are you waiting for, go pick up a belt from whiskey leatherworks and up your game immediately.

*GIVEAWAY ALERT*

Here’s your chance to score a belt from Whiskey Leatherworks! All you have to do is make sure you’re following OneUpped and Whiskey Leatherworks on Instagram – Then like our giveaway contest post and tag a friend in the comments! Giveaway runs through Tuesday, December 5th. Winner will be chosen at random.