These days it’s rare to see a well-dressed man without a belt and braces have fallen from favour. However, trousers were in fact originally made to be worn with braces, which created a tension by hanging the trousers from the shoulders and thus ensuring a smoother, more refined appearance. This is because the flow of a suit is interrupted when a belt is worn and the material is cinched to the body, smiling the overall effect and overshadowing the fine tailoring of the garment
Prior to the First World War, belts were largely decorative outside of military uniforms and braces were instead the traditional device for holding up a man’s trousers. Historically men have worn suits every day both in their work and casual lives and traditionally these suit trousers were worn higher on the waist by being held up by braces, providing a more comfortable fit when sitting and standing for long periods of time. This was an everyday look for men during this time, not just for the office, but also during the evenings and at weekends so comfort was key
Most men will fasten their suspenders in the back, put their trousers on, and then re-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, this is the more traditional way that braces are produced.
The latter style 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 (situated to either side of the central button and fly, usually on the inside of the waistband).
Trousers that do not feature button-flaps for suspenders will need clamp-style suspenders.
If you’re the kind of guy who fluctuates weight, braces might be a great solution. Rather than visiting the tailor to adjust the waist on all your trousers back-and-forth, simply sew-in some suspender buttons. Suspenders eliminate the bunching of fabric that occurs when the waistband is cinched with a belt, and allows the fabric around the hips and knees to fall in a smooth plane rather than being unnaturally pulled out of the natural line.
A good pair of braces should be adjustable – you’ll want to tweak the length based on your height and the length of your torso. If you’re taller than 6’3″ you also might need Long braces, to avoid a serious chronic wedgie problem.
It’s a major fashion faux-pas to wear a belt and suspenders at the same time as both aim to achieve the same goal
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