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Suspenders - When and How to Wear Them

Suspenders are not exactly top of the list when it comes to must-haves for the average suit-wearing gent. But it’s an incredibly versatile accessory that can completely change your look. Let’s take a closer look at when you should wear your suspenders.

From plain solid colors to stripes and patterns, you surely have a lot of options available when it comes to choosing suspenders. Like your tie or your pocket square, suspenders can be an extension of your personality and style, so play around with different options and have fun with the designs available.

Choose colors that contrast well with your shirt and that have minimal patterns such as thin vertical stripes, or patterns that make use of subtle hues to retain a refined, understated look.

Choosing your size
As you may well know, suspenders are adjustable, and one size quite literally fits all but in terms of width they can be anything from super slim to wide and chunky. Slim width is unsurprisingly most suitable for a thinner man especially if he is wearing a skinny or slim fit suit. Extra wide is those that are worn in extreme casual settings and are often part of the more edgy punk look or worn by the blue-collar man.

Medium width is the happy middle ground where most of us find that the porridge tastes just right. This is the perfect size for the majority of men and the majority of their suit styles.

Lose the clips
There’s nothing cheesier than clip-on suspenders. It’s just bad design, really. The only way for the metal clip to actually function is to take a bite out of the waistband of your trousers. If you’re going to wear suspenders, make them traditional braces with leather or fabric button attachments.

Typically, on trousers the buttons are found on the interior of the waistband, but on denim or heavy canvas work pants they can be found on the exterior. We give the option to all of our clients to include braces buttons in their custom trousers at no additional cost.

Leave some room
Suspenders are best used on trousers that are a little loose in the waist and have some room through the hips and upper leg. They are a comfort choice, and part of that comfort is having the cloth of the trouser hang around your hips and legs a little, rather than fastening them tight enough to your body that gravity doesn’t pull them down. Suspenders attached to overly slim pants are obviously non-functional and just look like an unnecessary fashion accessory.

When to wear them
While we love a good leather belt, suspenders have become quite popular lately, and their upfront visibility makes them the ideal catalyst for making a statement in style. So, to be frank, there’s never a wrong time to retire the trusty old belt and don the suspenders. And just to give you an idea of what you can do with the right pair of suspenders here are two looks you might try out:

  • Casual – A pair of patterned clip-on suspenders used to hold up your chinos or vintage jeans paired with runners sets you apart from the crowd and is a surefire conversation starter.
  • Formal – A pair of button braces in a contrasting color to your business shirt, say tan suspenders with a blue shirt, is a great formal look for the office no matter what style of suit you have chosen and gives the impression of both confidence and professionalism.

The benefits
A belt cinches a waistband tighter to the body; suspenders on the other hand give either three (Y-shaped) or four (X-shaped or separate) fixed points for the trousers to hang from. Well-fitted suspenders also provide a waist-shaped hanger that the trousers rest on.

This eliminates the bunching of fabric that occurs when anything but a very tightly-fitted waistband is cinched with a belt, and allows the fabric around the hips and knees to fall in a smooth plane rather than ballooning out from under the belt.

The neat appearance of trousers held up by suspenders is also widely recognized as a more comfortable arrangement for most men. Suspenders can be adjusted to raise or lower the pants so that the point where the legs join is comfortably situated.

Another benefit is that trousers can also be worn higher with suspenders, allowing larger men to drape their trousers down from their narrower natural waist rather than having to belt them uncomfortably beneath their stomach.

Suspenders are extremely useful in any outfit where neat arrangement is essential: since the trousers will hang straight down from wherever the waistband is affixed, the pleats or crease of the trouser can be precisely aligned with a vertical element on the upper half of the body.

Most men will fasten their suspenders in the back, put their trousers on, and then fasten the suspenders in the front. Some designs use a metal or plastic attachment that grips or pinches the fabric of the trousers, while others have small buttons at each end of the suspender. The latter are ideal in that they do not compress and eventually damage the trouser fabric, but they can only be worn with trousers that feature button-flaps for suspenders.

With suspenders being so popular, it’s no wonder they are making a comeback. They are perfect for men of any shape and size, and will definitely complement any look. Exchange your belt for a pair of suspenders and enjoy a sophisticated, modern look.