Brace yourself (or not): A thought on suspenders



Braces, or suspenders if you prefer, are a rarity these days. But they still have very definite uses. They should be thought of as a functional tool for particular jobs, rather than a style choice.

The advantage of braces is that the trousers hang from the shoulders, not from the waist. This inevitably creates a long, flattering line. When trousers are held up by a belt or side-adjustors, they need to be very tight at the waist to avoid slipping. It is difficult for material to flow from this tight point out into a clean, unbroken line down the leg. Braces, by contrast, can be that little bit looser at the waist, and have a head start.


There are, however, disadvantages. Braces work best when worn higher on the body, around the belly button (the natural waist). This looks fine under a jacket, and great under a waistcoat, but not always good when uncovered. Slim men can get away with it; others not so much. And there is also the disadvantage, of course, that braces require you to wear strips of cloth across your chest and back. Many find this uncomfortable.

Braces, then, should be worn with waistcoats and under jackets. They are better suited to standing than sedentary jobs: one reason they often look good on tailors, but not office workers. And they should be particularly explored my slim men – especially those with relatively short legs.

It’s a functional thing.

[images by Tommy Ton]