Photo by Aaron FarleyWith the decline of suspenders, Americans just don't care about what holds up their pants anymore. Not so the Mexicans. We like to use a cintopitiado—atawny-colored leather belt embroidered with creamy white threads derived from the same plant that gives the world tequila. (It's the agave, stupid.) The cintopitiadoisn't some Ross castoff or the canvas strap with an initialized silver buckle that homeboys prefer for their Dickies—the cintopitiadois honest-to-goodness wearable art. It's the most beautiful thing a man can wrap around his waist that doesn't have long curly hair.
Each cintopitiadofeatures distinct ornate geometric designs spanning the length of the belt—abstract vines, geometric conundrums, elegant curves, all a legacy of the Moorish artistic influence over the Hispanic world. The carousel of shapes ends at the buckle with a singular logo—could be the wearer's initials, maybe a silhouette of a barnyard animal. With the recent rise in the narcobusiness, some drug dealers are even adorning their belts with machine guns and marijuana leaves. Hell, I once saw a Calvin pissing on some Mexican soccer-team logo—but better you stay away from that auto fashion faux pas.
Buying a cintopitiadodepends on how much pride you take in dressing splendidly. At R and R Casa del Sombrero in Santa Ana, you can come out looking sharp in a $50 imitation cintopitiadoproduced in some Los Angeles factory. But to get the real deal, the kind that takes months to produce and costs about a month's worth of cleaning houses, talk to your neighborhood Mexican from Jalisco or Zacatecas, where the art of cintopitiadoreaches Cubist levels. If a Mexican man visits these states, it's almost inevitable he will return with a couple of belts for his friends. Take note, Homeland Security: the cintopitiadosmuggling business is the best contraband since turtle soup.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
FIND YOUR PRIDE AT R AND R CASA DEL SOMBRERO, 308 E. FOURTH ST., SANTA ANA, (714) 543-3648.