Q: I recently picked up a silver Clint Orms "Trophy" buckle on vacation out west. In a room of Texan high-rollers you could call it understated, but I'm not sure how to pull it off in NYC without looking like a confused cowboy. Any suggestions?
A: Charles, we applaud your decision to get a Clint Orms trophy buckle. For those unfamiliar with Orms, he's a Texas-based silversmith and engraver known for his meticulously crafted belt buckles that along with silver incorporate gold, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds. A single buckle may be constructed from as many as 200 different pieces, take 200 hours to make, and cost upwards of $20,000.
Always remember, though, that while a belt buckle in it simplest form is functional, a belt buckle that costs more than $20 is essentially male jewelry, and male jewelry involving precious metals and stones is typically an express train to Toolbagville. So restraint is crucial. Orms clearly gets this -- even at their most ornate, his trophy buckles display a sense of lavish understatement (see example, pictured).
The key to wearing them in NYC is to keep that principle in mind. First, we'd recommend going with a matte black/brown leather belt rather than lizard, alligator, or anything else with a lot of shine or texture. Second, keep everything else simple too: Unadulterated denim, canvas sneakers or sandals, and a well-worn tee or polo can work with an Orms trophy buckle. Never wear it with a suit. Never wear it with a shirt that has pearl snap buttons or Western-style stitching. Never wear it with a cowboy hat, a lariat, or cowboy boots -- which should be pretty easy since you should never wear a cowboy hat, a lariat, or cowboy boots in NYC anyhow.