Three Tips To Look Your Best In Suits With Suspenders
Though a highly functional article of clothing, suspenders have notoriously been associated with pocket protectors and coke-bottle glasses for ages. Mainly being sported by the Steve Urkels and the Larry Kings of the world, trouser braces, as they say in the U.K., have been making a surprising and fashionable comeback. Originally created for functionality, suspenders’ main purpose was to hold up a pair of trousers. Belts were merely decorative outside of the armed forces up until the 1920s. However, like most fashion trends, suspenders, also known as Mark Twains, are making quite the return to the world of style even after being labeled as a staple of “nerdwear” for so many decades. So, if you’re looking for a stylish way to spice up your look with a classic twist, here are three tips on how to pull it off like true boss, and no, not Bill Lumbergh.
1. Choosing the Correct Width
Classic suspenders range from half an inch to two inches in width, and your decision on which size you prefer really depends on if you’re wearing your braces for fashion or for function. Let’s start with fashion: fashionable suspenders generally range from a half an inch to a whole one. Sure, the clips provide enough stability to hold your pants up, but the thinner the strap, the less support it will provide. That being said, thinner suspenders are usually what people choose to wear if they care more about making a fashion statement than practicality. In addition, women tend to lean towards thinner cut suspenders, as their frames are generally smaller and, therefore, less overpowering.
Mid-range width suspenders span from 1.25 inches to an inch and a half and are commonly chosen by individuals who walk the tightrope of business wear versus casual wear. A standard width of 1.38 inches has become a go-to size for many suspender manufacturers. This is the main width that is designed in fancier patterns and materials, as it is considered the most versatile, appropriate for a day in the office or a night on the town.
Now if you’re looking strictly for a guaranteed way to keep your trousers on your waist, the 2 inch suspender is the top choice. Typically made in more rugged and durable materials, 2 inch wide suspenders are notoriously known for the working man, made tough enough to hold up pants even with a tool belt attached.
2. Connecting The Dots
Most suspenders lean towards the clamp down method for connecting to your pants. Though a classic system that will work with any pair of pants, when it comes to dressing up a snazzy suit, metal clips on your braces aren’t ideal. The teeth on the clamps can damage a nice pair of slacks, so it is advised to save these Mark Twain’s for your jeans or old khakis.
Men’s suits with suspenders generally utilize the button up feature for the clamps. It is a much cleaner look for a nice suit, but you have to be prepared. Most suit pants these days do not come equipped with clamp buttons so they will need to be added after the fact. It isn’t a difficult task, but necessary in order to use them. So, unless you’re a seamstress, some pre planning will more than likely be needed.
Can’t decide? No problem. In recent years, a convertible style of lock has surfaced featuring both options; the metal clamp as well as the button up and most times either are removable. Dress it up with the buttons or relax it out with the clamps.
3. The Suspender Formula = (X or Y or H)
Adding braces to your trousers can really enhance your look, but the shape of them can add an entire new level of character. Though hidden when worn with a suit jacket, upon removal the details of the suspender shape are revealed. The placement of the front attachment stays the same throughout, but the back configuration alters on each version.
The most common version is the Y shape, one clip/button in the center of the backside that then splits into two straps right below the shoulder blades, leaving two clips to attach to the front side. The alternative to this is the X shape, two clips in the back that crisscross below the shoulder blades and continue over the shoulder leaving two clips in the front again. The last version, and most rare in my opinion, is the H shape, featuring two clips on the front and back. The differentiator is the extra strap that goes lateral across the middle of the back for added support.
Regardless of which width, connection option or back shape you choose, there is no denying that a pair of suspenders can thoroughly enhance the entire dynamic of your outfit.