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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

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
Gold/Silvertone Bulldog

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...)
Gold/Silvertone Mother & Baby Elephants Gold/Silvertone Elephant Head

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
Gold/Silvertone Duck Head

For the wine lover, the Golden Leaf buckle.
Mimi di N 1988 Golden Adjustable Leaf Belt

For the vintage enthusiast, the delightfully retro Owl Pair Buckle

Or the in-your-face Owl Head Buckle. Hello!
Gold/Silvertone Owl Head

For the Kenneth Jay Lane lover who wants to look a little dressier, try the Lazy Leoopard.
Enamel Lazy Leopard

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!
Vintage 1973 Kelly Green Mushroom Belt S/M/L

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!


City Girl Chicago said...

wow - that rabbit, haha! I do like the vino leaf belt ~ I hesitate to put animal eyes staring out at people around my middle, but the leaves, the leaves I would do :)

Aesthetic Oiseau said...

MoS - have you seen these on Etsy??


Anonymous said...

Still want to have the real thing: one of Christopher Ross' beautifully sculptured belts.

LJK at Your Pampered Horse said...

Carl Tasha Buckles. I know that many people would love Carl Tasha's Limited Edition buckles if they only knew about them. His buckles are not as large (and not as expensive) as the Christopher Ross buckles but are beautiful and
exciting. Most are between 2 and 4inches.

My sister and I are selling them on eBay, and I think I can guarantee that you would not be disappointed if you take a look. Currently (August 2010) we have a dragonfly, a horse's head, a turtle, a concho, and one that
includes a frog, a flower blossom, and a snake, In a few days we will list a wonderful 3-1/2" sterling silver whale.

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