Q. Beyond the concerns of animal rights activists, are alligator and lizard skins considered appropriate for men’s belts, wallets and shoes?
A. Yes, two of them definitely are. Few accessories are more elegant for a man than a rich brown alligator belt. He can wear it with almost anything, even a dark blue suit. And an alligator wallet makes a man feel rich, even when he’s not full of hundred-dollar bills.
Since alligator is extremely expensive, belts made from other, less luxurious but nearly as attractive skins, such as crocodile and lizard, are increasingly popular. Simple and elegant belts made with a combination of alligator or lizard with calf leather are much less expensive than a real alligator belt and could satisfy a man’s desire to own one of these special accessories. Even so, a good guideline is: one quality belt is better than five regular ones.
Since these skins are so distinctive, you need to consider the other clothing/accessories you are wearing. If the color or texture of the rest of your combination is somewhat outstanding, then you should be careful about combining them with alligator items. You don’t want to appear overdressed. But in general, you can wear these belts with the smartest mixes and with almost any pants that are a more “dressy” category than jeans. .
In many ways ostrich and leather accessories parallel basic leather, except they have a more elegant feel. Ostrich is slightly different from leather in that it has an interesting openwork texture. It can add a distinctive touch of style and be an update, without being flashy.
While these skins may be something of a “show off” item, they may be worn in some traditional dress. However, you want everything else you wear to be sedate and tasteful. That said, they can look smart and can definitely level up the whole combo.
Now, while the luxury of alligator in a belt or wallet is widely regarded as first-class dressing, strangely, the same is not true of alligator. shoes. Alligator, crocodile and lizard leather shoes, particularly in lace-up styles, generally don’t say good things about the wearer. Most men who are traditionally dressed up consider them too polished and flashy, with strong negative connotations. . . mafia attire. I can’t tell you why that is – I just know that it is. One place the ostrich would be appropriate is in a nice pair of cowboy boots.
Keep in mind that with these skins you usually get what you pay for; a cheaper leather garment will likely be imitation, patchwork, or poorly constructed. Also, while I often suggest that you consider buying “gently used” purchases for expensive items, here the wear and tear on a leather can be visible immediately or after a few wears. Make sure the belt is in good condition. It goes without saying that you’re probably not interested in buying or wearing anyone’s gently used shoes.
Note: The only exception to avoiding alligator shoes might be plain cut alligator loafers. In some circles, such as fashion, arts and other glamorous industries, these might be admired. But note the words “could be.” Most mainstream dressers consider alligator loafers in the same glitzy category as leather lace-up shoes.
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