Men’s magazines GQ, Esquire and Details are telling guys to tuck in their shirts and let theirs shine, while First Lady Michelle Obama regularly dons one. Belts are back, but just because FLOTUS favors waist-cinching accessories from J. Crew doesn’t mean you have to, too.
Within the past year Jerusalem native Yinon Badichi has opened five belt stores in New York where shoppers can custom-create the belt of their dreams. “The belt is the last touch of an outfit and big fashion companies never give it the attention they should,” says Badichi, whose family has operated a custom belt retail chain in Israel for years. Recognizing a niche in the U.S. market for made-to-order belts, he opened his first Manhattan space in Soho three years ago and plans to open up to 20 stores in the near future in such fashionable hot spots as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago.
Customers can choose between hundreds of colors and textures of leather, most of which come from South America and Italy, and hundreds of buckles, from basic to bedazzled. Belt designs run from standard shades of black and brown to floral patterns to variously scaled alligator pieces. Once a leather and buckle are chosen, an in-house expert measures the customer and cuts the final product while he or she waits.
Starting at an affordable $60, some combinations can run up to as much as $400. “We deliver an original shopping experience for customers who are looking to personalize their most important accessory that synchronizes an entire look,” he says.