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Enter the Octagon

J Crew hand-tooled belt

Aching to be paired with some motorcycle boots and a square jaw, this vintage-inspired belt from J. Crew shouts, “I am man. Grrr.”

Pulling Off the Pullover

brown and blue in Manhattan

It’s not easy to wear a sweater on one’s shoulders without looking unbearably preppy, but this gentleman in Manhattan succeeds, perhaps because the dark navy melds into the shirt and jacket.  His entire outfit is a well-balanced study in brown and blue, even in such details as his tortoise-shell glasses, woven belt, and puffed-up pocket square.

War by Other Means

Bush and Putin in diplomatic wear

Presidents Bush and Putin recently met in Russia for some tense, and ultimately failed, talks on security issues including NATO expansion and Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Unlike in former, happier times, the two came suited for battle, if subtly.  Bush wore a Texas-style Don’t-Tread-on-Me belt and a dress shirt with two front flapped pockets (just like Soviet-slayer Charlie Wilson), while Putin chose to wear an outright military jacket, complete with ammo pockets, epaulets, and belting.  Looking at the two’s cheerful faces, the cynic in Izzy recalls a line from Will Rogers: “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

The White Stipe

Michael Stipe in white

As a general rule, Izzy enjoys white or off-white suits (even those with black buttons), but the tailoring of this one being worn by REM’s Michael Stipe just seems a bit off.  Is the jacket too long?  Certainly the sleeves are.  Izzy does, however, like the tie, with its width continuous all the way up.  And there’s nothing amiss with Stipe’s lack of belt, which creates an especially clean look.  Plus, why attract attention to your waist is there’s no need to?

Trimming Your Sails

J. Crew braided rope belt

Unless you’re heading to the tropics, this D-ring nautical rope belt is obviously way off season.  But given that it’s on sale for just $9.99 at J. Crew, it’s worth think ahead to sailing season.

Strapping for the Young Lad

J Crew brass O-ring belt

On sale at J. Crew, this simple casual belt makes it easy to grab the brass ring.

Last of the Adventurers

Gene Savoy in Peru

It’s hard to believe, but the above photo isn’t some colorized snapshot of one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, but was taken in the very unglamorous 1985. The subject is the recently deceased Gene Savoy, a flamboyant adventurer, archaeologist, and all-around throwback in the tradition of Indiana Jones.  He might never have discovered the Fountain of Youth, but he certainly knew where to find hard-wearing trousers with thick belt loops, western-front pockets, and an amazing drape.

Giddy Up

Ralph Lauren nickel spur belt

With a stirrup-and-spur buckle, this Ralph Lauren belt is ideal for the horsey set, or at least those who aspire to it.

Poorly Slung

Dolce and Gabbana's low-slung pants

Signores Dolce and Gabbana are no doubt prolific. But, by wearing their trousers so low, their fertility is in grave danger of being crushed by their belt buckles.

P.S. Low. Ri. Der.

Don’t Like Women? You’ll Love Our Sweaters

Drummond sweaters

According to this very retro advertisement:

Men are better than women! Indoors, women are useful, even pleasant. On a mountain they are something of a drag. So don’t go hauling them up a cliff just to show off your Drummond climbing sweaters….

Belted sweaters and misogyny—a match made in hell.

U-turn

Zegna nappa belt

It takes a lot to get Izzy excited by a belt, but this number from Zegna fittingly has a magnetic pull. It’s too bad about the unecessary cross-stitching, though.