TOOL TIME. I grew up on the Hill. My mom is a contractor, so my sister Pamela and I got dragged along to a lot of her projects. Most parents would flip out if they saw their 6-year-old playing with electric tools but mine didn't, and it was great because I learned how to use jigsaws and drills. Without that experience, I wouldn't be where I am now.

INSIDE THE BELTWAY. Last year I decided I was going to date a girl named Piper. I wasn't big into the bar scene, so I asked her to come over and make belt buckles. I had no clue what I was doing, but I've always been crafty -- I had all the plans in my head. We sat on my floor and carved our buckles out of paraffin wax, then cast them in plaster from a hardware store. We melted the wax out of the plaster molds and then poured in melted pewter. Mine said "Junk," something from a dream I had, and hers said "Piper" with stars around it. A long-lasting romantic relationship didn't come out of our date -- but my company, Jonathon Wye (, did.

WAIST NOT. I sell four different styles of buckles, all made of pewter -- the color ones have enameling added to the surface. They're all unisex. My "comic" one, which says "#@%!" on it, is a homage to my childhood love of comic books. Part of the beauty of reading a comic is that it really pulls you into another world. When a character says "#@%!," you don't know exactly what he or she is saying. It's that uncertainty that spurs imagination.

GETTING LOOPY. It's best to try to match the width of your pants' belt loops to your belt, or go to the other extreme: A three-inch loop with, say, a pencil-thin belt. The cardinal rule: brown shoes, brown belt; black shoes, black belt. And never the twain shall meet.

MIDDLE MANAGEMENT. Left to their own devices, men will buy one of two belts: black or brown. However, when accompanied by a girlfriend, guys will usually cave in and allow something more colorful. I think this hesitation toward colorful belts is the next fashion fear to leave men.

HIP HELP. Women can wear belts anywhere, but if you have a fuller figure, the most flattering place to wear it is draped around the hips. It breaks up the line -- whereas, if you're wearing it right at your waist, it can look like one large tape measure. However, the most important thing is to always have confidence. Confidence, not fashion, is what seals the deal in the end.

As told to

Janelle Erlichman


The new Captain Underpants?

Check out Jonathon Wye's brief buckles. He also makes a waffle for your waistline -- topped with two pats of butter.