Forget new car smell. We’re obsessed with that new belt smell. The smell that only comes from full-grain American leather and clean metallic accents.
But, like a fine wine or George Clooney, leather can actually get better with age. With the proper care, full-grain American leather develops a “patina,” which means your belt starts to show more character and personality in the grain after some time elapses. Similar to high-quality countertops or wood furniture, the patina makes your piece one of a kind.
In order to help your belt develop that one-in-a-million patina, we’re sharing our expert take on how to keep your leather belt lookin’ good for years to come.
1. Keep your belt dry
It’s simple, but it’s critical. Just like leather shoes or handbags, your leather belt should not get wet. When leather dries after being wet, the natural oils that make the belt shine evaporate out of the belt. For lack of a better word, that tends to make your belt crusty.
Generally speaking, most of us aren’t jumping into the pool wearing our leather belts, but exercise caution. If you find yourself in a downpour, take your belt off and stash it in your backpack until you get home. Try not to profusely sweat on your belt (although – with NYC summers, we’ve been there). If your belt does happen to get wet, after you shed a tear, dry the belt off with a clean fabric cloth and hang it up to dry for a few hours. Do not attempt to dry the belt with a hair dryer – that will just make matters worse.
2. Store your belt properly
Most of us don’t wear belts to bed, so belts spend plenty of time in the closet or dresser awaiting its next adventure. Make sure that while your belt is enjoying its downtime, it is properly cared for.
Specifically, the best way to store your belt is on a belt hanger or a simple hook in the wall. Hang your belt by its buckle and let the belt fall vertically toward the ground. This ensures that no unnatural creases or folds are created in the leather, which might occur if you store the belt curled into a loop. Also, make sure your belt is not hung in direct sunlight, which might diminish the luscious color of the leather more quickly.
3. Step away from the tools
It’s upsetting to have to bring this up, but for the love of leather, we beg you to please put down any irons, steamers, or hair dryers. We could explain why these sinful tools create lasting, irreversible heat and liquid damage to a fine belt, but we’re too distressed to continue talking about it.
4. Give your leather a break
Once you find your perfect belt, it can make you feel like a new man. You’ll want to adorn every outfit you own with your new leather accessory. But don’t forget to give your belt some time to breathe every now and again.
By alternating your belts every other day, you’ll give each belt some time to be free from the belt loop, which means their shape will maintain strong. For that reason, we recommend having at least two leather belts in your collection. Perhaps a black leather for formal occasions and a brown leather for a more casual rendezvous?
5. Take advantage of the Hyde concierge program
At Hyde, we take the pursuit of the patina very seriously. So much so, we offer a lifetime leather care program – completely free to Hyde customers. We’ll send you a pre-paid shipping label and you send us your leather Hyde. Our leather experts will then hand-shampoo and condition your belt, plus tighten and adjust your stitching, so that your Hyde looks like it’s brand spankin’ new.
With the finest raw materials in the game, Hyde belts are already predisposed to aging well and requiring little to no upkeep, but as we say – the details matter.
And with that, dear reader, we wish you a long and beautiful life with your leather belt. May your patina always shine.
Looking to learn more about leather belts? Read the official Hyde Gyde to buying a men's belt.