While I was at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover, I was lucky to meet several small business owners with fantastic products I felt I needed to share with you. Clever With Leather is one of those fantastic small businesses, local to Lexington, KY that I had the pleasure of being introduced to. Owner and leather artisan Claire is one of those people you just can’t help but like right off, but you’ll have to wait for me to tell you more about Claire in a future Company Spotlight on Clever With Leather. Today’s post is all about the products! Please enjoy our review of Clever With Leather and share your experiences with their products in the comments!
I received two belts from Claire to review. The Competition Deluxe Belt and the Figure 8 Belt. I have been using both belts regularly since the end of October. I have used the Competition Deluxe both riding and as a daily belt. I have used the Figure 8 belt as a fashion accessory. My first impression of both of these belts is that they were made from high quality materials and had fine workmanship. The leather is soft and pliable, the stitching solid and perfectly done, and the hardware is second to none and quite beautiful. The designs on both of these belts are quite clever…and I would expect nothing less.
The Figure 8 Belt is a play on a figure 8 noseband using brass hardware and a padded type waistband with contrasting leather. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments from non-horse people on this belt, and from horse people I often get a sly grin of appreciation. This belt is one of the most beautiful things I own and I regularly wear it over tunics, button ups, dresses and cardigans to add a bit of equestrian flair to my non-barn looks. I have the black/brown one, so it goes with pretty much everything I have in my closet. This belt is also extremely comfortable due to the very soft leather that makes up the body of this belt (the “padded” bit). I also love the adjustability of this belt. You can go to the tightest hole to fit around the waist, or go out a few holes to fit through the waistband of your breeches or jeans. I highly recommend this belt. It’s a great style upgrade to any closet and will maintain its classic style for years to come.
The Competition Deluxe Belt is one I was surprised by, because I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do! It’s my new go-to belt for daily rides and I cannot imagine not wearing it now. While it doesn’t necessarily look like the most comfortable belt in the world, in action it is incredible. The use of equestrian grade elastic to create this belt is both cute, and genius. Because of the stretch of this belt, you can tighten it more than you can a normal belt and you will get absolutely no slippage of your breeches and there is no pinching or feeling of being overly tight. The snug (but flexible) fit really helps to give a little support to your back after a long day at the barn (riding or otherwise), so I find myself tightening it up more at times that I’m doing a lot of standing. This belt is supremely comfortable when riding and I don’t even notice it’s there. From the front with a jacket on, this belt looks like a plain, leather belt with a beautiful buckle so it can be worn at shows with no break from tradition, but it gives you a little pop of color when you take your jacket off. This is my new favorite belt. I only wish they made the elastics in less traditional colors for Claire to source! How awesome would a teal and black one be! Or orange and brown? Or grey and black? If you’re looking for a new belt, make this one be your next purchase! It is well worth the investment.
After a month of wear, both of these belts still look brand new. I have not had to clean them or oil them to make them supple. I will update this review on durability at a later date if that becomes a problem.
I have been extremely impressed with both of the belts from Clever With Leather and the quality of these hand made leather goods are unbeatable! If you’re interested in seeing what else they have to offer, you can visit their website here. They also make bracelets, purses and bags, halters/leads, dog collars and more! If you’re looking for something custom, just give them a call!