My recent obsession- animal themed belt buckles. The bigger the better...within reason, of course. I'm not sure what started all this- perhaps it was seeing this photograph by Judy Aldridge via her blog, Atlantis Home. I'm not sure if Christopher Ross owns as many Christopher Ross belts as Judy! (Incidentally, Judy's daughter, Jane, writes the you'll-love-it or you'll-think-it's-insane blog Sea of Shoes).
But believe it or not, those of us that exist in that pesky thing called the "real world" might get a few odd looks at the office if we showed up with a footlong gold rabbit head strapped to our waist.
So I think that the reasonable, and, dare I say it, "preppier" alternative more suited for my day to day lifestyle are buckles from costume jewelry designer Pricess Mimi Di Niscemi, a.k.a. "Mimi Di N." She sells quite an assortment of buckles on her website, all based on her vintage designs. As tends to be the case with all of my favorite things, what was once old is new again- and perhaps if you lived through the 70's and 80's when Mimi's belts were first popular you might be scratching your head about their coming back in style!
I hate to blow up my spot because I'm watching about 5 different auctions right now, but my favorite thing to do is find the real deal vintage Mimi Di N and Dotty Smith versions online- there are plenty on Ebay or Etsy, many of which are not available "new" anymore.
There's a buckle for every interest, and I love how they can convey any hobbies or interests in an under-the-radar way.
For example, for the Georgia lover, this Bulldog Buckle
For the Republican, try the Mother & Baby Elephant buckle or the Elephant Head buckle (and a vintage version of the Mother & Baby Elephant may or may not be in the mail to me thanks to my ebay bidding prowess...)
For the equine enthusiast, try the Thoroughbred Buckle
Which happens to bear a strong resemblance to, and a lower pricetag than, the classic Gucci Horse Head buckle
For the hunter or trad, the Christopher Ross-inspired Duck Head Buckle
For the wine lover, the Golden Leaf buckle.
For the vintage enthusiast, the delightfully retro Owl Pair Buckle
Or the in-your-face Owl Head Buckle. Hello!
For the Kenneth Jay Lane lover who wants to look a little dressier, try the Lazy Leoopard.
For the mushroom lover (hmmm, that came out kind of wrong- I mean that in a legal way), try the Mushroom Belt. It reminds me of the Smurf's!
You can order a wide array of belt straps from Mimi's website- unfortunately they are all faux leather- but at $10 you can afford to pick up a few. My favorite style is the Faux Cobra since it comes in a variety of colors.
These decorative belts would look great styled several different ways. Of course, you could always wear them as a normal belt in belt loops with your favorite jeans or capris. Add a lacoste shirt or basic white tee and you're good to go. However, in a more modern approach, I'd love these belted over a simple tunic-length top and worn with skinny pants or leggings. Especially in the summertime, a whimsical buckle with a turquoise belt strap will be so much fun! Hope you can find one that fits your passion!