Years ago, on my very first costume-design gig ever, I realized only minutes before the shoot that one of our actor’s belts was about three sizes too big for him. So I did exactly what anyone in my situation would: I grabbed a barbecue skewer that was lying around the house we were shooting in, and got to work making an extra hole in the belt to cinch it up. It’s a miracle I didn’t wind up in the emergency room. If you’ve ever lost weight or bought a too small belt on sale and found yourself in a similar predicament, do yourself a favor and invest 12 bucks in this revolving leather hole punch instead. After buying and discarding a dozen lesser versions over the years, I’ve settled on this one as the absolute best combination of price and sturdiness — and it’s now among the most-used tools in my wardrobe kit. (The manufacturer even guarantees its performance — and will replace it, free of charge, if you deem it unsatisfactory.)
To use it, lay your leather piece on a flat surface and determine where you want to place the new hole, using a ruler to measure the correct distance between existing holes carefully. Put a pencil mark where you want the center of the hole to be, and then rotate the spiked head until you find the right sized punch end. (They range in size from two mm to five mm, making this tool useful for punching holes in everything: from ultrathin watch straps to thick, bulky purse handles.)
Once you’ve determined the correct sized hole for the job, position the punch directly over the center of your pencil mark and squeeze the handles together tightly to make a hole. (It helps to do a little back and forth twisting when you are done, in order to make sure the punch has cut cleanly all the way through the leather.) If you’re afraid of making a mark on your leather item, place a piece of tape over the spot you want the whole and mark that with an ink pen instead.
Own a leather hole punch, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived so long without it. Sure, it allows you to punch extra holes in belts, but it also solves wardrobe problems you didn’t know you had, like adding holes to shoe straps, or even extra holes for shoelaces in your favorite leather shoes. And it’s useful in ways you wouldn’t even think of: I’ve even opened a beer with mine in an “emergency.”
Other Strategist-approved leather accessories
Writer Kurt Soller loves his expensive-looking (but not that expensive) leather-strapped watch: “The watches look expensive (i.e. they look like nothing) even though they’re actually not. Starting at $70 and topping out at $299 (depending on materials and size), DW has options small enough for women’s wrists, too.”
Writer Hannah Goldfield considers her leather drawstring purse from Baggu the ultimate bag: “Once I’d pulled the drawstring and knotted the strap so that the pouch hit just below my waist when I slung it over my shoulder, I realized it was perfect. The leather was exceptionally buttery. The simple construction and total lack of hardware meant it transcended eras and styles to be actually timeless.”
A favorite leather Dopp kit from our survey of the best travel toiletry bags: “I’ve used this pretty much daily for three years because it’s bigger than most Dopps (but still portable) — it can hold a lot, even longer items like a hairbrush. The price is right, too.”
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