Hardware for wearing the hit in men's fashions

September 17, 1992|By Roy H. Campbell | Roy H. Campbell,Knight-Ridder News Service

Men and their hardware -- a fact of life. Now hardware moves from the basement toolbox to the wardrobe.

The latest accent to men's clothing and accessories are metal ornaments such as buckles, zippers, steel fasteners, horsebit buckles, studs and other fanciful objects.

The ornaments -- dubbed hardware -- adorn hats, shoes, vests, coats, blazers, jackets, pants and even underwear.

Once men thought they could only use hardware. Now they can wear it from head to toe.

The simplest way to begin is to sport leather belts covered with shiny metal gear. There are vinyl belts with metal covering start at $20; leather ones go for about $50. But if money is no object, upscale stores have $300 leather belts with sterling silver designer hardware and exotic skin belts that cost as much as $800.

The hardware belts look just great with black denim pants or light-colored jeans.

If you want to get more geared up, there is plenty of hardware apparel at every price level. Consider something as simple as a pullover sweater with a silver or gold zipper running from the collar to midchest. What about a vest that fastens in the front with rows of brass buckles? Or take the big plunge and invest in a leather coat studded with silver beads or a blazer with rows of decorative brass buttons. There are also zip-front blazers with zippers at the pockets as well.

Don't neglect your feet. The successful return of the famous Gucci loafer with the horsebit buckle has spurred a wave of imitators. There are knockoffs in every shoe store from the Payless Shoes chain to the most exclusive shoe salons.

The other big foot hardware is the buckle. Monk strap shoes, some with three or four buckles, are popular in shoes both conservative and avant-garde. Other shoe ornaments: gold Roman coins, twists of metal, steel tassels.

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