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How to Wear Braces

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Section: Formalwear and Accessories - Blog

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Suspenders, braces or a belt – which is best for holding your trousers up? Is there a preferred option prescribed by fashion or dress code regulations, or is it a matter of personal choice? The well-dressed man knows braces do more than just hold up trousers – they are stylish, practical and at times, a formal necessity. Here’s a quick guide to the basics so you can decide when to wear them and when to skip them.

Men's leather belts are a recent invention; suspenders were the traditional device for holding up trousers. Suspenders, or braces as they are referred to the UK, are cloths straps that go over a man's shoulders and down to the front of his trousers, where they clip or button to the waistband.

Most join at the back in either an X or Y shape, to keep pairs from being separated.

If you prefer, you can buy them as two individual straps. Depending on the brand, suspenders can be made from silk or rayon; however, woollen box cloth is a traditional, durable staple.

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They are usually elasticised – either at the ends or all the way around the strap. Typically, they end in a leather flap that affixes to the buttons in the trouser's waistband, or in clips that grip the top of the waistband.

Advantages of braces

Where belts tend to bring the waistband tighter to the body, suspenders give either three (Y-shaped) or four (X-shape or separate) fixed points from which the trousers hang. Well-fitted suspenders usually provide a waist-shaped hanger on which the trousers rest. This eliminates fabric bunching, which occurs when a tightly-fitted waistband is secured with a belt, and permits the fabric around the hips and knees to fall in a smooth plane rather than ballooning out from under the belt.

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When trousers are held up by suspenders, your appearance looks neater. Additionally, it is more comfortable because you can adjust the suspenders to raise or lower the pants, so the point where the legs join is comfortably situated.

You can wear your trousers higher with braces, so larger men can drape their trousers down from their narrower natural waist, instead of belting them uncomfortably beneath their stomachs. Suspenders add comfort by eliminating a band of leather or cloth that presses against your waist, even though the buckles or buttons are still felt.

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Suspenders are useful when a neat arrangement is essential, since the trousers hang straight down from wherever the waistband is affixed. The trouser's pleats or creases can be aligned precisely with a vertical element on the upper half of the body. Suspenders also help keep the front button and fly of the trousers in place, thereby easily aligning the shirt buttons with the fly and keeping the plumb-line straight.

Disadvantages of Suspenders

Despite being the more comfortable method of supporting trousers, suspenders are not always as sturdy or as useful as a belt. There is an added chance of snagging, or they may rip free if they catch on something, which damages both the suspender and the trousers. A loss of fit or elasticity in older suspenders can cause trousers to sag embarrassingly.

Well-made belts provide more utility than suspenders because they can hold small items. Typically, suspenders are less expressive than belts. However, for men who worry about details such as belts not matching their shoes, suspenders are a stress-free choice.

How to Wear Suspenders

Fasten your suspenders in the back, put your trousers on, and then fasten the suspenders in the front. While some designs employ a metallic clasp that grips or pinches the trouser's fabric, others feature small buttons at each end of the suspender. The latter are the best type of fastener because they do not compress or damage the trouser fabric, but they can only be worn with trousers featuring button-flaps.

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Trousers without button-flaps require clamp-style suspenders and usually also have belt-loops. While it is perfectly acceptable to wear suspenders and trousers with belt-loops, wearing both suspenders and a belt is a faux pas. Just. Don't. Do. It.

Prior to the early 20th century, suspenders were considered underwear; therefore, it was improper for them to be visible. However, today, it is considered acceptable to let your suspenders show.

Because of their flexible neutrality, black suspenders are popular. Suspenders are also an important part of black tie outfits and should be worn with your tuxedoes; there is no such thing as a formal belt.

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They tend to be black or white and are not meant to be seen beneath the jacket. Quality formal suspenders end in braided silk ends rather than leather tabs. While tabs are acceptable, clips are not.

Style Recommendation

In our opinion, as long as suspenders are well-fitted to hold the trousers in place and worn at the natural waist, without too much sag in the crotch, they are a perfect fashionable choice. If you'd like to learn more about rocking your suspenders with odd trousers or a custom made suit, pop into Montagio Custom Tailoring's Sydney showroom. Our style specialists will help you create a personalised look that makes you stand out in a crowd and strut your stuff with bravura.

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