I really like my smartpak bridle. I bought it just to school in, but it quickly replaced my "show" bridle. I love love love the look of the five star bridles though, and it might have to be my next bridle if/when I need to replace the current one.
My Vespucci buckles properly... and did stretch a little.. it also runs BIG!!! Fleck is an oversize in everything else, but he fits in the horse sized vespucci quite nicely. I LOOOOOOOOVEEEE that bridle!!! It has held up amazingly too.
And yes.. my nunn-finer is nice, but it does buckle on his lip which is annoying...
Epona, talk to Jamie at Five Star. I just got a flash bridle from there for Dex and was very happy with the quality (and you know I am a tack snob!). They seem to be thoughtfully designed so they may buckle in a better spot. And they will customize part for you if you need it, such as a horse size bridle with cob cheeks. Not cheap but I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
I have only Micklem and Five Star Tack bridles now. My figure 8 does not buckle at the lip. The Miclems buckle by the lip, but have a good piece behind the buckle, so it has never bothered my horse. What I really wish I could have is the Micklem design in the Five Star Tack leather.
Agree with everyone about the Vespucci although mine didn't stretch that much. My horse wears a horse size in everything else but a cob size in the Vespucci. The buckle is on the top and the bridle is gorgeous.