Badgery Belts Queenslander Review

We’ve mentioned the Badgery Belts Queenslander Kangaroo Braided Leather Belt a few times on the site as a reasonable alternative for one of Daniel Craig’s favorite accessories: the R.M. Williams 1 1/2″ Plaited O Ring Belt ($225.00 AUS/$169.00 U.S.). But a couple of things have happened recently that may increase the appeal of the Badgery Belts option.

 R.M. Williams Plaited “O” Ring Belt

Badgery Belts Queenslander review

Badgery Belts Queenslander

Badgery Belts Queenslander review

First, after purchasing a 49.9% interest in R.M. Williams in 2013, luxury brand holding company Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) basically took full control of the company in February of this year, leaving no original owners on the board of directors. While that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality associated with R.M. Williams will diminish in the short term, LVMH usually has aggressive expansion plans for the companies it acquires and historically has had no problem raising prices to fund the growth. Concerning LVMH’s management of the brand so far, a recent move into more fashion forward clothing (slim-fit, pre-ripped jeans!), a rapidly growing marketing presence on social media, and a recent statement by industry analyst James Stewart that the new owner, “is essentially pushing for R.M. Williams to become a global luxury brand,” are all pretty much par for the course when it comes to LVMH’s management of the heritage companies it’s taken over in the past. As result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see R.M. Williams go from a relatively boutique brand to showing up in airport shopping concourses and higher end U.S. department stores at higher price points sometime in the next 1 to 3 years. If you would like to know more about this business-side of things, I’ve included some additional links at the end of this post.

The second factor (and the one that probably matters the most to people) is that the Badgery Belts Queenslander has dropped in price on Amazon U.S., going from $79.00 back in December, 2015 to the current $56.50 plus $4.49 shipping! And that was good enough for me to order one.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review

Company History

 

Badgery Belts Queenslander review

To start, we should be clear that Badgery Belts is a bit of legacy company in its own right. According to their website, the company was started by and named after Bob Badgery, who began making and selling plaited belts in the 1930’s in Queensland, Australia. Like R.M. Williams, Badgery Belts prides itself on its heritage and its, “good quality locally made items, reasonably priced and unmistakably Australian.” Overall, you get the feeling this is not a large company mass producing its signature pieces. Rather, they are what they claim to be: a “cottage style industry” company that knows its niche and just wants to consistently produce solid products. Personally, I like that about them.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review
Crafting a plaited belt, from the Badgery Belts website.

Differences

So the first question most people will probably have is: What makes this belt different to the R.M. Williams version? Generally speaking, there are 2 main differences:

  • The width: the R.M.Williams’ is 1.5″; the Badgery Belts Queenslander is 1.25″. Does that narrower width make the Queenslander look too skinny? All I can say is I don’t have a problem with it.
  • The number of leather strands used: The R.M. Williams is a 16 strand belt; the Queenslander is an 11 strand belt. I really have no idea what this means in terms of comparable strength or durability; but the additional thinner strands do seem to give the R.M. Williams a smoother, more finished look.

Since I’ve never come in direct contact with the R.M. Williams belt, it’s impossible for me to compare the quality of the leather and hardware used, but I definitely welcome the comments and opinions of those who have!  This article on Stockman Leather goes into more detail about what it takes to actually make a plaited belt – I gotta say, it don’t look easy!

Initial impressions of the Queenslander

When I first opened the box, I was happy to see that the Queenslander is darker in color than it look in the online pics. Below are images of the belt from the Badgery Belts website (on the left) and my actual belt. Badgery Belts Queenslander review Badgery Belts Queenslander review

Taking the belt out of the box, my initial reaction was, “this belt is light and thin!” Seriously, I was worried that if I pulled too hard on it the strands would snap. However, after giving the belt a couple of hard pulls, I was impressed by the lack of stretch in the leather (basically none), the tightness of the plaiting (no gaps appeared between the individual strands), and the fact that it still managed to feel soft and flexible.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review
It sort of feels like a leather ribbon ….

However, there were two other things about the belt that caught me a little off guard at first, and not in a good way. On the back side of the belt and the front side of the tongue (where the belt strap feeds through the O rings), the leather is left raw and untreated. After thinking about it a little, part of this made sense. The raw leather part of the tongue will provide more friction in the O rings to reduce slippage, and will be hidden once the strap is doubled back, so it’s not a bad design decision on the part of the makers. But I really can’t see any advantage to leaving the back of the strap totally untreated (other than to reduce costs); it does end up leaving the belt feeling a little rough and unfinished, at least for me.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review
Treated vs. untreated leather on the Queenslander

The other negative was that the metal O rings were stuck together; some of the treatment used on the leather had obviously gotten on them and hadn’t been completely cleaned off before it dried and the belt was boxed up. Honestly, it only took me two seconds to pry them apart and two minutes to clean up the metal, so it’s really a nitpick. But still: when you’re eager to try on your new belt and you need to take 3 or 4 minutes to mess around with the hardware, it can be a little frustrating.

The last thing to discuss is the fit, and this is important because it can get confusing. Badgery Belts recommends ordering two sizes up from your waist size to get a good fit. In my opinion, this just won’t cut it. I would recommend ordering three sizes up from your pant size to get a comfortable fit. For example, I’m a 32 pant size, which means I would go with a 36″ in a normal belt. I chose the 38″ Queenslander (which actually measures 43″ laying flat, not including the O rings); the photo below shows how it fits on me. I’m happy with the length: it’s still long enough (barely) to double back into the pant belt loop, but the tail won’t be flapping around if I don’t.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review
38″ Queenslander belt with size 32 jeans.

Now, if you do want the Daniel Craig look, where the belt tail hangs 8″ or 9″ inches after feeding it through the O rings, I would suggest going four to five sizes up from your normal pant size. So if you’re a size 32 pant, go for a 40″ or 42″ Queenslander belt.

Badgery Belts Queenslander review Badgery Belts Queenslander review Badgery Belts Queenslander review

Impressions after 2 weeks

I pretty much love this belt. I’ve been wearing it almost daily for the last two weeks; it has not stretched out at all, there’s still not a mark on the leather, and it’s very, very comfortable. I’m also surprised at how versatile it is; I thought this was only going to be a “jean” belt, but I’ve been using it with chinos, shorts and linen pants and it never looks out of place. Honestly, the style and the color seem to go with everything short of a suit and tie. So for $61.00 all in, I’m very happy.

The Badgery Belts Queenslander Kangaroo Braided Leather Belt is available at Amazon U.S. for $56.50 plus $4.49 shipping or directly from Badgery Belts.     

If you would like to know more about LVMH’s ownership of R.M. Williams, you can check out these articles from The Land, AFR and Shoegazing.  

The author was not compensated or remunerated in any way for this review.

Iconic Alternatives

The search for classic and affordable menswear, inspired by the style icons of today and yesterday.

10 thoughts on “Badgery Belts Queenslander Review

  • April 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm
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    I have both the RM Williams version (1.25″) and the Badgery Queenslander. Imo, the RWM is worth the price. It’s thicker, the leather has fewer blemishes, and the suede side has been polished to be almost as smooth as the grain side. The Queenslander is nice, but too thin, imo. When I wear jeans, it folds over at the back belt loop. One adv of the Queenslander are the rings, imo. I like that they’re seamless and silver. In fact, I got the Queenslander because the RMW brown one has brass rings and I wanted a silver color.

    Reply
    • April 28, 2019 at 6:28 am
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      Thanks for the feedback Mark!

      Reply
  • April 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm
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    First comment on this site, so first of all thank you for this website! And thank you in particular for this post. I’d been thinking about a leather ring belt for a while, but hadn’t considered a plaited/braided version until I ended up here looking at what I thought was unrelated Bond stuff.

    I’m thinking of getting this Badgery Belt, and while on their website I noticed there’s also the Longreach model that has brass rings, for anyone who prefers them. Also available on Amazon.

    Are you still happy with how you’ve sized up? I am kind on between sizes, as size 34 belts sometimes end up breaking in slightly too large to be at the middle hole. I’m a JCrew and Banana size 30 or 31, with a true waist of 32.5 or 33. I was wondering if the braided nature of this belt made it even stretchier over time, so if you wouldn’t mind updating it would be really helpful! Thanks again for the awesome work on this website.

    Reply
  • June 18, 2016 at 11:28 am
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    Thanks for all the explanation. Just honing in on that point, I’ve got basics such as a Harrington, Chukkas and Polos. Now I’ll force myself to wear out the ones I have and if I were them a lot I’ll buy more at a higher price.

    Same with the chinos and the sweeter. Annoyingly for me I have these prices already I’ll just have to put in the time to wear them and get some use of of them.

    I’m not exactly looking to collect clothes, just to wear the ones I have. And like you say I shouldn’t stres about stains or the possibility of them getting dirty, I should just wear them.

    Specifically for you, when you wear these more expensive pieces I’m assuming you put as much thought into wearing a $60 to a $20 and wear them in similar way of not worrying about the possibility of stains etc.

    Thanks a lot for the help. Hopefully I’ll get over this obsession.

    Reply
  • June 18, 2016 at 9:53 am
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    Wow that’s a fantastic piece. I feel like I need to force myself to wear my new clothes. Althohgh at the moment as a student I can only afford £50 desert boots for example. I find ways not to wear them, and as you say I should forget about my clothes once I’ve put them on, akin to the Oscar Wilde quote.

    I’ll continue to update my experience, as I feel like I need to buy duplicates of clothes for a fear that a £20 shirt has the possibility of being ruined or stained.

    Most of my clothes are either unworn or either hardly worn. I’ll have to continue to get over this obsession with clothes and start to actually wear the clothes I have.

    Also, lastly about the VB cardigan, I have my eyes on on Amazon but the small size is sold out. How good are Amazon with restocking? I’ll have to buy one and replace it with football buttons per your suggestion.

    Thank you for some timeless content, if you need any help from a journalistic point of view I’d be more than happy to help.

    Reply
    • June 18, 2016 at 11:02 am
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      Because you’re a student, I imagine a lot of what you’re going to feel comfortable wearing is going to be determined by what your friends are wearing. I’m sure I would feel uncomfortable if I showed up at school in a suit and tie for example. Remember Bond is a professional in his late 30s/early 40s and his style is a reflection of that. If I was you I would start wearing the clothes you have before you buy anything else. Start simply: blue polo shirt, jeans and chukkas. These things aren’t hard to find, so once you wear out your current polo, it should be pretty easy to find a new one. Add in a Harrington jacket and belt next. Then maybe a pair of Bond chinos and a sweater. You get the idea: first think about what you’re going to be comfortable wearing, then invest in those pieces, and then just go and wear them. If you’re your experimenting, I think it’s best to buy lower cost options first to see how often your actually going to use it. For example, the first Bond-style polo I bought was a $20 Perry Ellis. I wore it so much that I decided it was worth it for me to spend more on my next one. Same with linen shirts and pants: I”m very comfortable wearing those so I invest more in them. But I would rarely wear the Madagascar shirt; it’s just not my style. So spending more than $20 on one of those wouldn’t make sense to me.

      I’ll add that it is perfectly fine to be a Bond clothing collector. There are a lot of people in the community that buy pieces just so they can complete a specific look, but never actually wear 75% of the pieces in the outfit out in the real world (check out the Gallery for some inspiration). It just like collecting stamps: it feels good to have a specific stamp, but you would never use it to mail a letter.

      Go slow, be patient, and think about what you really want and how you would use it before buying. Mistakes can get expensive and building your wardrobe should be something you enjoy, not another stress in your life!

      Specifically about the cardigan: I’ve seen it restocked twice now on Amazon. I think if we’re patient it will show up again in all sizes, but proably closer to the fall.

      All the best and have fun!

      Reply
  • June 18, 2016 at 8:42 am
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    Hi, sorry I should have made myself clear I was referring to the shawl collar cardigan article.

    The concept of actually wearing your clothes even if you can afford them. I just buy these clothes and never wear them. I feel like it’s something you have experience with and you could offer me some advice?

    Reply
    • June 18, 2016 at 9:32 am
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      Understood. The point about buying the best you will wear is more about our personalities and attitudes. Some people simply don’t think that $500 is alot to pay for a pair of shoes (as an example). They wear them the same way I wear $100 shoes. But for many of us, anything over $200 becomes an “investment” and we all want to protect our investments! Sometimes this means only wearing our expensive stuff on special occassions; sometimes it means that when we do wear them, we are so concerned about them getting ruined (scuffed, stained, or scratched) that we’re never totally comfortable. Both of these attitudes are the exact opposite of how Bond (book and film versions) approached clothes. Yes, much of his clothing is expensive, but he bought it to wear it and serve a purpose. I like to think of Vesper’s line from CR: Bond has expensive suits, but he wears them “with such disdain”. In short, he likes to be well dressed, but it never takes away from experiencing the moment. He puts things on and then forgets about it. That takes confidence, and as I also noted in the article, confidence is 90% of the game. Worrying about your expensive shoes (which maybe you couldn’t really afford) does not project confidence.

      Personally, I’ve come to a point where I know what I’m comfortable spending and wearing. I’d rather buy a $40 polo shirt or a $150 pair of suede chukkas and wear them comfortably and (I like to think) confidently. In some cases, I can afford the SA versions that cost 10s or 100s of dollars more, but I know myself, and I know that when I was wearing them, I’d be at least a little worried about messing them up. It’s just not worth it to me. Of course, everyone is different with regards to this attitude and the prices they are willing to pay.

      The only other thing I can add is that I’m more “inspired” by Bond’s style. I don’t feel a need to buy exactly the same brands (although I do on occassion) or wear them the exact same way as Bond, and I’m happy with affordable options that come close enough to the real thing. Again, this is personal and depends a lot on your objectives. But I do know from experience that “affordable” does NOT have to mean low quality and that some “affordable” brands actually fit me better than the more expensive brands. That’s really what Iconic Alternatives is about.

      I hope that helps a little!

      Reply
  • June 18, 2016 at 7:48 am
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    I’ve just researched this belt on Ebay in the U.K and with £50 it’s pretty reasonable.
    After that i stumbled on the site, with some fantastic products, and great budget alternatives.
    Could you expand on the point you made about wearing your clothes? That stuck a chord with me, that I buy things in my budget but i find silly reasons not to wear them.

    Reply
    • June 18, 2016 at 8:27 am
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      Hi Zac, glad you found us! Are you referring to the points made in the articles about building a casual Bond wardrobe? I don’t usually wear items together exactly the same way Bond wore them in the films. Sometimes I feel that if I do copy the exact “look” I feel like I’m wearing a costume. We wrote a couple of “4 ways to wear it” articles that show some different ways you can combine Bond inspired clothing to make your wardrobe more versatile; maybe those posts will help inspire you wear the pieces from your collection more often.

      Reply

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