Men’s suspenders or braces were born in the 18th century in France. At that time, they were just simple ribbon parts connected to the buttonholes of pants.
A belt did not really work as trousers were extremely high waisted so belts would not hold up your pants. Having been around for over a century, it was only by the 1930s that men’s braces became the popular way of holding up your pants.
Nowadays, suspenders are for both men and women. They have two clear purposes; never letting you down and as a fashionable addition to your wardrobe. As a matter of fact, their flowing vertical lines compliment your outfit. Often making them look even better than a belt.
Besides, your waist and gut aren’t pinched!
Men’s braces go way back in time...
Mark Twain obtained a first US Patent in 1871 for ‘adjustable and detachable straps for garments’. The original men’s suspenders were tied to buttonholes of trousers, but later loops started to be used and by 1894 even metal clasps were introduced.
Visibly wearing trouser braces was not done for many years and even made illegal in a town in NY in the late 1930s. Later, the ban was overturned by revolting residents. Power to the people!
In the 1960s, British skinheads started wearing suspenders on jeans. For the first time, this wasn’t out of necessity but rather as part of their working class look. With Malcolm Macdowell wearing them as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, they even made an appearance on the big screen.
Then in the 1990s and early 2000s, suspenders fell out of favor for a bit. Luckily they did never disappear completely and made a strong comeback a number of years later. From Robert Pattinson in Water for Elephants to Beyonce and Tyra Banks, suspenders became hot for the practical to fashion minded men and women.
Types of suspenders
Nowadays, there are many different materials available for suspenders. The most basic and functional braces are made from quality elastic webbing and can be worn at almost any type of event or occasion, from job interviews to weddings.
The product definitely evolutionized and has become more original in materials and look. Take leather suspenders for example: not only do they look great under a sporty suit, they are just as dapper on a pair of jeans or chinos. If you dare to be different it is a great idea to combine uni colored suspenders with flower power or Hawaii style shirts. But with a uni colored shirt it always looks good and you’re safe to hit the world.
Full leather braces have limited flexibility. But don’t let that hold you back: leather Flex suspenders, with a back strap in elastic webbing, are an easy way to resolve this issue.
There are still lots of new and interesting materials being used in braces manufacturing. So don’t be surprised when the new upcycled (US Army tent) material drops! These will have an elastic webbing back strap for that added bit of flexibility and thus comfort.
Suspenders come in different widths, from 0.7 inch (2 cm) to 1.3 inch (3.5 cm) and beyond for the brave. Some love them slim and others want them wide. That depends on your taste and mood and attire. Best is to have them in all widths, materials and colors to always be ready for action.
The science of putting on suspenders
Many people don’t know how to put on suspenders. But in fact that’s hardly a problem. With fashion becoming more individualized, you can make your own decision how to combine them with an outfit or the connector system you choose to attach them to your pants. Whether you like clips, lobster hooks or loops and buttons for that old school look, the video below shows the details of how to put on your suspenders.
Still not sure what connector system is for you? Visit our fit guide blogs for inspiration!
How to wear suspenders
The easiest way to wear your suspenders is to start with attaching the backstrap. With an adjustable backstrap, it’s good to have the back panel (the part where the front straps and the back strap come together) between your shoulder blades for ultimate comfort. Once the back strap is attached to your pants, pull the front straps over your shoulders and attach.
Rule of thumb is to wear them in a vertical line down your chest. Adjust them such that they keep your pants up but still fit comfortably. When done right, they should always feel less restrictive than a belt.
The adjuster on the back strap and front straps can help you to maximize adjustability for ultimate comfort.
Your suspenders can be worn with clasps, lobster hooks (on the leather ones) or optional loops. The connectors to which the clasps are attached open up for the possibility of switching clasps to loops or lobster hooks. If you want to wear yours with loops you’ll need to hammer or sew buttons in your pants.
You can choose for the more casual look (on your jeans for example) with metal hammer-in buttons on the outside or the more classic way with sewn-in buttons on the inside of your pants.
Note that when attaching loops to buttons, you’ll most probably need to shorten your suspenders with the adjusters as loops will add length to the straps.
Are loops worth the trouble? Definitely. Who doesn’t love the look of old school loops? Besides, they can be a bit more comfortable too as you don’t have metal clasps on the edges of your pants!
If you’re still looking for an alternative, you’ll love slide-on buttons. These easily slide over the edges of your trousers and the advantage is that there is no need to sew or hammer in buttons.
Sizing your suspenders
Suspenders with adjustable straps - both the front straps and back strap - make it possible for most to wear the ‘one size fits all’ braces. Most of our suspenders fit both men and women. The product is unisex and depending on your personal style, one can choose almost any model.
If for some reason you are exceptionally small or big, don’t write off suspenders just yet! Customization is the way to go for you. Just ask for this option as a number of manufacturers offer this possibility. This way, your purchase can be even more unique due to the many possibilities of combinations of parts and colors.
Once you decide to go for suspenders
Suspenders are timeless and a great addition to your wardrobe. They are timeless and have been around for centuries.
It’s not for nothing that they have not gone out of style and are worn by individuals with style for fashion. If there is not a pair to your liking, feel free to ask us about customization. Don’t forget to think about or discuss the different options for fixing them to your pants.
Check out our other suspenders blogs
Interested in learning more about braces? Click on below links for more information on the art of suspenders.