Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vintage Mysteries Solved: How to Replace a Missing Trenchcoat Belt

Those of us who routinely shop in vintage outlets know that some of the most covetable garments available are there because something is missing . . . a button off a Givenchy jacket, a forgiving extra hole in a slightly-too-snug belt, or today's very typical example, a belt off an otherwise wonderful old trench coat.

It doesn't matter if it's Burberry, Daks, or London Fog -- great trenches look only halfway there without their belts, which is why a missing one is such a dealbreaker. But it needn't be. Here's what you can do to fill those loops if the original tie has gone AWOL.

1) I'd advise against trying to find a stand-alone trench belt online: scans typically do not show true colors and if you get a near-match rather than an exact one, it will look decidedly imperfect. Alternately you could sift through options in secondhand shops bringing the coat along as opposite number, but to my mind this is looking for a needle in a haystack. There are better ways to go.

2) If the coat is an authentic Burberry or other big-name brand, you could contact your nearest branch, asking if they can replace the belt for you. They may ask you to send pictures of the garment and any labels. There may or may not be a charge involved.

3) Forget about matching the belt entirely and put the loops to use to display a beautiful silk scarf that you'd otherwise never wear.

4) Or find a belt that isn't a trenchcoat or mac belt per se but nonetheless looks like it was purpose-made. Here, I think the ideal (and fairly easy to find) solution are belts that combine leather and taupe canvas, which have enough of a military air about them to perfectly play into the trenchcoat's combat origins. The canvas should approximately match the color of the fabric, and the leather should ideally tone into any browns in the coat's buttons.

I pulled this belt straight out of my closet--if you have a good look online you should find the equivalent fairly easily; such belts are also fairly readily found at extremely reasonable prices in charity shops/thrift stores. Good luck!


  1. wow, this leather belt looks fantastic!

  2. Thank you Anon! The belt isn't actually missing off this coat but it's nice to know I can change the look so easily with this one . . . thanks for commenting!

  3. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Thanks for the fantastic ideas Both my friend and I are missing belts from our trenchcoats; Now we wont have to get rid of them

  5. Glad you said about not trying to match it online. will go for the leather belt option.

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