Why Suspenders Deserve a Spot in Your Wardrobe

It’s a style faux pas to wear both a belt and suspenders. For practicality and for fashion, you only need to wear one or the other. The belt has long been hailed as the ‘must-have’ accessory. This seems especially true for jeans and other denim outfits, all of which are usually come fitted with belt loops. But before you overlook suspenders and go with a belt, take a moment to consider the virtues of suspenders and why they are a wardrobe ‘must-have’ too. 

What are suspenders?
Suspenders are fabric straps which are worn to hold up trousers. Their function means that they are an alternative to a belt. The suspenders may clip on to the trousers or they may attach to buttons on the inside of the waistband.

Clip on suspenders are preferred for casual wear and are more commonly used for this purpose because casual trousers – such as jeans – don’t have buttons inside the waistband to accommodate suspenders. Button attachments are preferred for formal wear and are more commonly used for this purpose because formal trousers usually do have buttons inside the waistband to allow suspenders to be worn.

The width of suspenders can vary from super slim to extra wide. You should choose what suits your build and what compliments the rest of your outfit. For example, suspenders worn casually with jeans are meant to be seen and are a fashion accessory in this case, so medium to extra wide suspenders would be best suited for the purpose. However, suspenders worn as part of a suit should be subtle and not seen when the jacket is on, therefore super slim suspenders may be the best choice.

Suspenders come in a wide variety of materials and colours. They typically have either an X or Y style which means that the suspender straps cross over at the back in either an X shape or a Y shape. Either style works for the purpose of holding trousers so which style you choose is purely a matter of personal taste.

What are the advantages of wearing suspenders instead of a belt?
Suspenders are more comfortable to wear because they hold trousers up instead of tightly pinning them against the waist like belts do. These differences in how they work mean that suspenders are also more forgiving than a belt. If your waist size changes then you may need to discard your belts, whereas a changing waistline doesn’t affect suspenders because they don’t fit around your waist.

Belts are more easily worn out with regular use. The strain of being pulled tight and of constant use wears out the fabric, damages the buckle and stretches out the holes in the belt. Suspenders, not being subject to as much physical strain, can last for years with minimal stretching and so they can make a better investment than a belt.

Suspenders are very flexible in their use. They are suitable for both under garment and over garment use, so you can choose to hide them or make them a central feature of your outfit, depending on your style. In contrast, belts can only be used for over garment use.

Despite being ever-present, belts aren’t really the fashion statement they used to be. They’re a basic part of an outfit that is almost expected now, in both casual and formal settings. When an item of clothing starts to be expected and is an ordinary occurrence, it loses its ability to be a statement piece. So, if you want to make an impact with your outfit, you’re more likely to do so with suspenders than with a belt.

This is true for all types of outfits. If you wear suspenders with a suit, you’ll achieve a more distinguished look. You can accentuate the smart look by matching your suspenders to your suit, or you can choose a contrasting colour for an edgier style.

Suspenders are also well-suited for formal, evening events. Wearing a belt that matches your shoes looks smart, but suspenders lend themselves to formal occasions because of the diversity of materials they are made in. Wearing suspenders made of silk or another luxurious fabric and pairing them with a tailored tuxedo jacket creates a sophisticated look that cannot be achieved with a belt.

Denim is also a great match for suspenders. Despite the presence of belt loops in most jeans and denim skirts, you don’t have to commit to a belt. There are a wide variety of stylish and colourful suspenders that, when paired with denim, make for a sharp casual look. You can match the suspenders to your shoes, choose suspenders in a colour that contrasts with your shirt or choose suspenders with a texture or pattern to add depth to your outfit.

You can add a stylish finishing touch to any outfit with suspenders because those with clip-on attachments can be used with any trousers – casual or formal. Suspenders offer more colour, style and material choices than do belts and are more likely to help you make a fashion statement and be noticed.

While these are some guidelines to get you started, how you style your suspenders is up to you! If you want to give them a try but are unsure where to start, find a casual or formal outfit that you wear often and then look for suspenders that would add to or accentuate the look. By experimenting with suspenders on an outfit you know really well, you’ll grow in confidence and be able to choose suspenders when you’re styling entirely new outfits in the future.