The details define fashion; while almost anyone can piece together an outfit, those who take the time to nail the little touches truly create a sense of self. Small as it may seem, your brass belt buckle contributes plenty to your overall look -- an aged patina expresses an edgy ruggedness, while a shining polish shows a crisp, detail-oriented sense of sleekness and professionalism. If you opt for the latter presentation, it takes only few minutes to make your buckle glisten.
Remove the belt buckle from the belt, if possible. In some cases, you can unsnap the buttons securing the buckle to the belt. If rivets secure the buckle, unscrew them with a flathead screwdriver or coin. If the buckle is permanently affixed to the belt, contain your polishing to the brass only and be careful to avoid the belt material.
Remove the clear-coat lacquer applied to the brass belt buckle at the time it was made. While this coating keeps the buckle shiny temporarily, after the buckle starts to tarnish or appears dirty, you'll have to remove the coating to polish the brass. Soak the buckle in household ammonia for about 10 minutes and then peel off the coating. Rinse the buckle thoroughly with water and dry it completely with a soft, dry, nonabrasive cloth.
Apply a gently abrasive brass-cleaning cream or paste to the buckle with a clean, soft and nonabrasive cloth if the buckle is tarnished. Rub the cream onto the entire surface of the buckle while applying light pressure and then allow the buckle to air-dry for a few minutes. When the cream takes on a chalky appearance, polish it away with another clean, nonabrasive cloth. To make your own cream, combine a half-cup of vinegar with a spoonful of salt and enough flour to make a paste.
Rub the surface of the buckle with a brass-polishing cloth or a soft, clean, nonabrasive cloth dampened with a bit of brass polish. Apply moderate pressure and work in a circular motion until the buckle takes on a sheen. The longer and harder you polish, the more luster the brass displays. If the buckle isn't tarnished, this is all you have to do to make it shine like new.
With a diverse professional background and a decade of experience as a freelance writer, Dan has contributed lifestyle content -- from fashion to travel to fitness and more -- to publishers including Chron, Fortune, Sony, GlobalPost, ModernMom, Moviefone, Salon.com, Techwalla and dozens of others.