The Belt Man Cometh

Mark McNeill

Shoes and belts, they go together like, well, shoes and belts. At Allen Edmonds we create our belts with the same attention to detail and quality craftsmanship that we put into every pair of shoes. And we specifically design them to complement our shoes, because getting the shoe/belt combination right is the key to a well-dressed man. No one knows this better than Mark McNeill, the man behind the design of our belts.

Allen Edmonds: How important is a belt in a man's wardrobe?

Mark McNeil: Once a man has discovered the quality of our shoes, our belts are the natural extension that perfectly tie together that timeless expression of style that we have been known for since 1922. Our belts are made to match our shoes and they also have the best price quality relationship in the industry.

Allen Edmonds: What tips do you have to matching a belt with shoes and the rest of the attire?

Mark McNeill: I use the belt as a complement to the shoe and all the other pieces of apparel. For example, a brogue shoe screams out for a belt with some kind of a brogue detail. A shoe with very clean line is perfectly complemented with a belt that is equally clean and simple in design. We make some dress welt shoes that have woven leather accents that are perfectly coordinated with a belt that combines the weave and the leather together.

Allen Edmonds: What are the biggest mistakes men commit when it comes to wearing or choosing a belt?

Mark McNeill: There are a few. First, wearing an inexpensive belt with a beautiful pair of leather shoes. The burnish of the leather on their fine quality shoe will draw attention to the inferior leather quality on the belt. Second, not matching the colors of the belt to the shoe, like wearing a walnut shoe with a brown belt, or vice versa. The leathers need to complement one another and at least be within the same range of colors. Finally, wearing a casual leather belt intended for jeans with a fine quality leather dress welt shoe.

Allen Edmonds: What makes an Allen Edmonds belt special?

Mark McNeill: Quality, quality, and more quality. You can see it in the design, in the leather and in the buckles we use. But the thing that makes them really unique is the amount of compliments a man gets for having worn a belt that is so over the top special.

Allen Edmonds: Forced to choose tell me a few of your favorite belts for this spring?

Mark McNeill: I like them all but I guess I would say my favorite is the Horn Ridge. I have never seen such a magnificent casual buckle. It has a faux horn roller bar that perfectly matches a horn button that is often used on casual sport shirts. I love it with a faux horn western snap shirt. I also love the Hampton Avenue, a casual belt made of Saffiano calfskin leather. Finally the Summit Avenue is a belt from Italy that has a laser etched paisley design on a vegetable tanned chili colored leather. It’s simply spectacular.

Allen Edmonds: What are a few examples of a good go-to belt every man should have in his wardrobe?

Mark McNeill: Our Wide Basic is the finest calfskin belt on the market. It's made of French calfskin that we tan in Italy. We painstakingly work to make sure the colors all perfectly match the colors of our finest calfskin shoes. Next I would choose the Manistee, a brogue-inspired belt that perfectly matches every detail of our dress welt brogue shoes. With this belt, a brogue shoe works perfectly with your favorite pair of denim jeans and a white shirt.