It seems as though every woman over 40 in Los Angeles has the Hermès H belt. There’s a good reason for this. It is a lovely looking accessory and if you’ve ever owned Hermès leather goods you understand that they are artisan made and the gold standard of luxury. One of my belt straps is more than five years old and still looks like new. I am extremely rough on it but it is well-made and the perfect example of why we buy luxury items. Though they may be pricey you only have to make the purchase once.
The problem with the H belt is that everybody has the same one.
If you go on certain websites you’ll find plenty of copies of the H belt and much like the Louboutin red sole it is dangerously close to becoming basic.
So I was looking for a new buckle, these are belt kits after all, and I was also hoping to add the white and red strap to my collection. I found exactly what I wanted and ordered it online to no avail. Hermès is a French brand, and in keeping with being very very French they are not capitalists. When you order things they may or may not arrive. Nothing ever arrived. I wasn’t even surprised, I’m accustomed to their abuse.
Luckily for me Stefanie was headed to Montreal where the exchange rate is favorable and she was going to have lots of free time to wander and shop. Stefanie went and picked up the red belt for me along with a gold toned buckle that isn’t living on every Instagram account. Now I can use all of my straps with this lovely buckle.
My straps historically have been 90 cm long. They run comfortably across the middle of my hips where they have been resting for a number of years. The last couple of years our denim creeped up our waistline bit by bit and now I’ve got more than a few pair of high waisted pants. So when Stefanie asked me what size to get I wasn’t forward thinking and requested another 90. Of course I realized that I now had nothing to wear with high waisted jeans as there was no way in the world a size 90 would hold my pants up.
So I went to the Hermès store on Rodeo Drive with the belt kit that Stefanie had purchased to exchange the 90 cm strap for an 85 cm strap. I was there at the very end of the day on Saturday, as they are not open Sundays it was crowded and people were feeling very rushed. My sales lady though older and elegant, was clearly harassed and making no effort to be kind or patient. Sometimes Hermès is just like that. I wasn’t looking for a friend, I was looking for a belt.
I picked out my new strap and as we went to the cashier I pulled out three other straps to have her add holes to them. It was at that point that I remembered one of them was a 95 cm strap and I owned it in that size because it was a very limited run color and I had added the extra holes early on. This annoyed my sales person further and I got a lecture about the five hole maximum.
In keeping with being slightly difficult Hermès will add holes to your belt, but only two. The third hole is illegal. A crime against fashion if you will.
My son and I sort of nodded at each other and rolled our eyes. I accepted that I would have one belt that was too big and maybe I would pass it along to a friend or perhaps I would drop it off at a consignment store.
All of a sudden my sales lady was very concerned that I was dropping a full 5 inches on my waist line, she wanted to know if I was aware that the difference between 95 cm and 85 cm was a full 5 inches. I smiled and replied to her that I was well aware, and that now that pants were worn higher we needed smaller belts.
Suddenly my saleslady goes into a long tirade about exactly where pants are worn. “No one is wearing pants high” she explains to me “The fashion is to keep them low on your hips.” And I began to argue with her but then I remembered that she she worked in a store where the most coveted item has remained unchanged since 1984.
Hermès is where are you go for style. Not for fashion. If you want to know what’s in fashion look in the window at H&M.
But it’s always fun to get yelled at by a new person and I still love their leather goods and silks.