A belt is a very common and a very practical accessory, but it’s also a fairly recent invention; whereas suspenders are very effective, and very stylish. Let’s take a closer look at how you can wear your suspenders just right to look your absolute best.
Belts were originally more of a decorative item than anything else. Before the first world war, they really were only a fashion accessory. However, the traditional way of holding up your trousers was to wear suspenders. And to this day, they remain one of the most preferred methods by many fine dressed men around the world.
Here are a few great tips on how you can wear your suspenders just right:
Always choose buttons
Clip on suspenders are definitely not stylish and they are even seen as bad taste. Clip on suspenders only really work if they take a bite out of your waistband, so if you're serious about wearing suspenders, choose the traditional ones that have braces with leather or fabric at the attachments. You will typically find on trousers that the buttons are found on the interior of the waistband, but on denim or heavy canvas they can be found on the exterior.
No belt loops
Never, ever wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. They serve the same purpose, but suspenders with a plain waistband without any belt loops are preferred. It makes for a much cleaner look and it shows that you are serious about your style.
Consider the rise
Suspenders will look best on trousers that have a mid to long rise. Low cut European trousers with an eight-inch rise that's not on your hips will look very silly. Keep in mind that suspenders are meant to keep your trousers hanging just above your natural waist.
Adjust the length
Keep in mind that a good pair of suspenders should always be adjustable. You should be able to tweak them based on your height as well as the length of your torso. In general, if you are longer than 6’3″ you may also need longer suspenders, to avoid a serious style issue.
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.
Mind the waist
Suspenders or belts are worn by guys that have large bellies. Wearing suspenders allows you to float your natural waist, as opposed to having to endure a belt and the pain it can bring. This can become quite irritating, which is why suspenders are often preferred by larger individuals.
Consider your weight
If you are one of those guys who regularly fluctuates weight, suspenders can be a great solution. Rather than having to adjust your suit at a tailor every time you gain weight or lose weight, simply sew in some suspenders buttons. Suspenders will help to eliminate the bunching of fabric that can occur when your waistband is cinched with a belt, and it allows the fabric around the hips and knees to fall in smooth rather than be unnaturally pulled out of the natural line.
Suspenders are best used on trousers that are a little loose in the waist (“comfort room”) 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.
It's a formal necessity
Never wear a belt with your formal wear. Formal suspenders should preferably be white silk, so that it can easily blend in with your white shirt. You can also choose colors like a very pale cream or light grey, or the same cloth as the trimmings on your tuxedo. In some rare cases, you can choose to wear a pair of novelty suspenders, but be sure that you can pull it off.
Do it DIY
Preparing trousers for suspenders is as easy as sewing 6 buttons (and unstitching some belt loops, if you’re going all the way). You need three sets of two buttons (usually jacket sleeve sized), each of which will be sewn 2.5″ apart from each other on the interior waistband. One pair straddles the center back seam. The other two pairs are on each side of center front: about 3″ (& 5.5″) in from the zipper.
When it comes to choosing suspenders, choose a style that not only works with your outfit, but also brings out the best in your look. Go for traditional suspenders as opposed to clip-ons, and never wear a belt with suspenders – in fact, exchange your belt with a pair of suspenders to always get it right.