A big part of what this blog is about is maximizing the bang we can get for our bucks. There are a number of sources for excellent deals on clothing items and accessories on the internet, and two of my favourites are eBay and Styleforum.com’s Buying & Selling pages. One of the ‘tricks’ to eBay is uncovering items that fall into two camps: 1) Makers of high-quality items that aren’t widely known, and therefore attract few bidders; and 2) Makers of high quality items that aren’t known, and therefore attract few counterfeiters. Sorry to say, but you’re unlikely to score a great deal on a Prada suit on the ‘Bay – and, that listing based in Malaysia with ‘Prada’ spelled incorrectly should probably give you pause as well. Your best bet is identifying a few under-serviced, under-hyped brands to bid on when they come up. To help the readers of this blog out, I’m going to be running a new series of posts identifying just such brands. The first brand I’m highlighting is Martin Dingman.
Martin Dingman makes accessories. Made-in-America, high-quality leather goods, with a particular focus on belts and shoes. My experience with his shoes is limited – however, his belts now make up a major portion of my closet. For whatever reason, the idea of purchasing an expensive belt never quite sat well with me. It seemed like an item that was seldom focused on and even covered up, if one is wearing an untucked shirt. Worse still are belts with logos the size of car trunk badges (the ‘H’ belts from Hermes are offenders in this regard) that we really could use as a society to uncover the ‘D-bags’ amongst us. Then I discovered Martin Dingman – whose belts range from stunning alligator and crocodile, to high-quality calf leather. They feature exquisite buckles, no visible branding and really might be the perfect belt for the office. In particular, the crocodile print belts from his calf leather and suede collections look fantastic. Best yet, few people have heard of Martin Dingman, which means that you can uncover some amazing bargains. To whit, my first Martin Dingman purchase: a brand new, polished black leather, crocodile print formal belt with gunmetal buckle, which set me back a whole $20 on eBay. As soon as I picked it up, I was a convert to the quality belt (although, only where I can purchase it for less than a mediocre belt). This has been followed by a number of further Martin Dingman acquisitions, capped off by a stunning suede belt for $35.
So, set your eBay search to ‘Martin Dingman’ in ‘Clothing, Shoes and Accessories’, and make sure to find a belt that’s approximately 1-2 sizes above your actual waist size (so, if you wear pants in size ’34’, look for belts in ‘35’ or ‘36’). Happy hunting. You can also check out Martin Dingman on their website, and read more about a proud Ozark Mountains-based company who make consistently high-quality products: www.MartinDingman.com.