Suspenders are back.
They’re affordable, easy to wear, and a fun addition to your wardrobe. Whether you want to look stylish at an upcoming wedding, stand out at a formal event, add a little flair to your work attire, or spice up your casual wear, suspenders provide a colorful and versatile solution for just about any occasion. life choose to send your way.
Reading: How to connect suspenders to pants
but confusion still reigns, in particular: which types of braces are appropriate for which occasions? which colors go with which? is there any particular width that is correct? Should I choose the type with clip or with button? can i wear a belt with my suspenders? How do I wear colored suspenders without looking like a clown?
This guide will answer all those questions. plus some you may not have known you had.
choosing the right type of braces
Suspenders come in two basic types:
1) the kind that clips onto pants (or shorts)
2) the type that buttons up your pants
Clips can be attached to almost any pants or trousers, making them the more versatile of the two. Plus, they’re considered a bit more casual and look especially stylish with urban shorts, funky jeans, and on-trend outfits. to attach them to whatever you’re wearing at the bottom of the waistband, start at the back by pinning them in the middle of the waistband. then loop them over the shoulders to the front to attach the remaining clips to the front waistband.
check out our collection of clip-on suspenders here >
Button up suspenders are considered a bit more formal than hook up suspenders. they also require pants or jeans that have six hidden buttons inside the waistband for the suspender ties to fasten. If your pants don’t come with suspender buttons, you can always add them, either yourself if you’re handy, or have your tailor take care of it. they should be positioned so that at the back of the waistband, they are located approximately 1″ on each side of the center back seam, meaning they are 2″ apart, and approximately 1″ below the waistband. top of waistband. in the front, tuck them inside the waistband about 1″ down from the top and 2″ apart. when worn, the straps should fall in a straight line from shoulder to waist. To put the button-down suspenders on your pants, start at the back, once you’ve buttoned them up, pull the pants on, pull the straps over your shoulders, and snap them into place in the front.
check out our collection of button up suspenders here >
width of straps
for a relatively thin piece of fabric, braces certainly encourage some strong opinions, particularly issues related to the “correct” width. While subtle changes can have a dramatic impact on your entire look, the simplest rule of thumb to remember is that spaghetti strap styling happens on a scale: the slimmer the spaghetti strap, the more casual the look, while at the extreme broader of the spectrum, they become classics. and even formal.
if you want to go further, here is a detailed article on how to choose the perfect width of the straps >
and-back vs. x-back
When the straps cross in the back like the letter “x”, they are known as an x-back. if instead they meet around the mid-back and become a single strap, like a “y”, then they are called a y-back. Of the two, y-back is considered the most up-to-date and on-trend. while the x-back has two straps that attach to the back waist, compared to the single strap of a y-back, unless you are facing unusual problems keeping your pants up or have very slouch shoulders, the y-back is the best option for braces fans.
One of the really great things about suspenders is how easy it is to customize the fit to your particular proportions. if the straps are made of leather, the front strap can be loosened or tightened like a belt: through a buckle and holes. all other braces have a metal clip on the front straps that you simply slide up and down until you reach the exact length for your frame.
you can get more information about the characteristics of the straps here >
five different ways to wear suspenders
first things first: never wear suspenders with a belt
Prior to World War II, the waist of typical men’s trousers was much higher than is common today, reaching just above the wearer’s actual waist. to keep the pants up, the boys wore suspenders. however, due to wartime rations, manufacturers found that they could save fabric (and thus money) by lowering the waistband of pants. at the same time, belts began to replace suspenders as a way to keep pants from sagging, which is why it’s considered a faux pas to wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. since they both do the same thing, it’s kind of function overloading, plus it doesn’t look good.
so remember the cardinal rule of smart suspenders: Regardless of the type of suspenders, don’t wear a belt at the same time. not convinced? here are a few more reasons why you should never wear belted suspenders >
Wearing suspenders to work can be as formal as Michael Douglas’ Master of the Financial Universe Gordon Gekko look in Wall Street, as discussed here. or oozing a more mid-century modern style a la Don Draper (here). If you want to wear a suspender with work clothes but aren’t sure how to proceed, start with a pair in a more classic hue (navy, black, brown) that matches the color of your shoes. this combination adds easy authority to any work appearance, whether you’re dominating the real world or a virtual one located in the cloud. read here for more information on how to pair business suspenders >
and here to find out what types of ties go well with suspenders>
for weddings & formal events
Suspenders have long been a staple of the groom’s wedding day attire, which has undergone a welcome change, from less “ruffled” to more fun and personal. And often the only item a groom will buy new to wear his usual suit from going for a walk, as in: the aisle. For more tips on wedding suspenders for grooms, be sure to *go* here. And what’s good for the groom is good for the groomsmen! check out our top tips for dressing up your side of the wedding party with a high-strap look (here and here). For more ideas, here are 50 groomsmen with suspenders to inspire you.
For formal events in general, be sure to pair your suspenders with a quality shirt. French cuffs are always a great option because they are evergreen in style, and you can also add some eye-catching cufflinks to your look. For more ideas on ways to accessorize your suspenders, including stylish pocket squares and bow ties, click here. Of course, the quintessential formal ensemble is the tuxedo. we’ve got you covered (of course) right here.
learn more about how to wear suspenders for weddings & formal events here >
in the city
Most self-respecting lists of the world’s “most stylish men” include Cary Grant. especially his iconic gray suit look in hitchcock’s classic north by northwest (discussed here). Like any style icon, Grant found the “uniform” that best suited his body and stuck with it, adding a modern look with accessories. like braces. As a general rule of thumb, non-work straps tend to be a bit skinnier, but if you wear denim from head to toe, a wider strap might be the best option (for more on skinny vs. wide, click here ) . finally, here are 10 suspender styles by “suspender type” to inspire your own off-duty adventures with stylish suspenders.
Ever since suspenders escaped the halls of power and made their way to hipster hangouts and hip bars around the world, this trend continues to gain momentum. And for good reason: Suspenders are an easy (and inexpensive) way to make a custom style statement. From jean-on-jean, plaid to preppy outfits – we discuss the most useful casual suspenders takeaways right here >
The world’s most stylish women like to “borrow” (well, steal) menswear to give their style that extra edge and oomph. And what could be sexier than a sexy woman in suspenders? here are 50 women who look amazing in suspenders. Also be sure to check out our expertly edited mini style guide for women with braces, plus see if you agree with our thoughts on braces for men and women and the difference between them (hint: not much).
tips from a fashion editor: more inspiration for suspenders
Straps that come with snaps allow most pants or shorts in your wardrobe to be brace-friendly. for a sleeker look, choose a pair with a looser fit. if you want to wear a pair with buttons, you (or your dry cleaner’s tailor) can always sew buttons inside the waistband of the pants for you. alternatively, you can buy pants (or shorts) that already come with suspender buttons. Here are some of our picks for stylish suspender pants and accessories:
- pants with suspenders & accessories
- pants with suspenders that inspired cary grant in north by northwest
- ties to match your suspenders
how to wear suspenders of any color
From vibrant fuchsia to not-so-soft yellow to army green, here are our most helpful how-tos and cool outfit combinations that will have you wearing any color of braces like a style pro:
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inspiration: braces on celebrities & at the movies
Celebrities look so stylish because they have some of the most talented fashion experts and stylists on their payroll. that’s why they are a wonderful source of style inspiration, just like the movies. For some of our favorite braces movie moments, plus a plethora of ideas to inspire you, check out these:
- gordon gekko’s worn suspenders on wall street
- the gatsby leonardo dicaprio-rich retro suspenders
- christian bale designer suspenders in american psycho
- james bond suspenders
- suspenders with a robert downey jr. twist