Braces or Suspenders? What to call them, why to use them, how to wear them

I think most of you have seen the infamous Gordon Gekko sporting his braces, (or suspenders?) in the 1987 film Wall Street. Gekko was portrayed by actor Michael Douglas, whose performance in the first film won him an Oscar for Best Actor.

wall-street-douglas
Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street

Suspenders or Braces – what’s the difference?
Traditionally, the term “braces” refers to button-on suspenders, while the term “suspenders” refers to the clip-on variety. However, in the United States, the word “suspenders” is often used interchangeably to refer to both the clip-on and button-on styles. Likewise Brits use the term “braces” in a similar fashion to encompass both types of attachment styles. (source: suspendersformen)

06082015-20150806_161828110_iOS
John Henric by Albert Thurston

Short history lesson
There have been several ancestor to braces throughout the past 300 years, but modern braces were first invented in 1820 by Albert Thurston. They were worn, due to the high cut of mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century trousers that made a belt impractical.

20160424_192341000_iOS
Sharp and Dapper by Albert Thurston
20150803_124222000_iOS
John Henric by Albert Thurston

Usage
Which style you choose is a matter of your own personal preference. I prefer the button-on version and a wider model in different materials. It can be a nice detail to match the leather part of your braces with the color of your shoes, but not a must.

The trousers for braces have buttons in order to attach the leather tabs; these may be either on the outside or inside of trousers. I prefer the latter. I also think it look better if you don’t have belt loops on the trousers, but this of course is also not a must.

12122015-20151212_112153000_iOS
John Henric by Albert Thurston

Can you use them in business occasions?
If Gekko can wear them at work, anybody should be able to wear them at work =)

20160427_064223000_iOS
Sharp and Dapper by Albert Thurston

How to sew on buttons
The buttons should be placed about 7.5 to 9 cm apart, an equal distance from the back seam preferably on the inside of the waist band of your trousers. At the front, the first button should be set over the main pleat or crease, the second button again about 7.5 to 9 cm apart. If you don’t want to go to the tailor to get your buttons sewed on, or have a mother och grandmother that can help you, here is a great video on how to easily fasten your buttons made by Sharp & Dapper. I’ve actually tried it myself and the buttons are still there =)

Leave a Reply