Saturday, August 28, 2010

Suspenders, Braces, Galluses

Americans call them Suspenders, the British call them Braces, and the French initially named them Galluses. Call them what you want, they hold up your pants or skirt in a comfortable manner.

They are strips of elastic (generally, although they can be box-cloth or other material) that go over your shoulder attaching to the front and back of the pant or skirt. They hold the pants securely in place, whether sitting or standing, and allow the pants to flow with the body when walking. In fact, one hardly notices their presence until they are needed most – when stretching or bending down.

As Alan Fusser states, “Suspenders permit the trousers to hang best, supporting the front of the pants as well as the rear. They allow the pleat to establish its proper line and make the crease of the trousers more apparent. Additionally, suspenders are more comfortable than belts, which must be drawn tight around the waist in order to hold up the trousers. With suspenders, trousers can be worn loosely around the body, the only contact one feels coming at the point where the suspenders cross the shoulders. One might also note that during the summer months the wearing of suspenders actually promotes a certain coolness, as the roominess of the trousers around the waist area makes for improved air circulation.

Suspenders also have the added advantage of allowing the length of the trousers to remain constant. Normally, a man's trousers stretch at the waistband during the course of a day. Suspenders eliminate the need to pull them up two, three, four, or more times a day. For all these reasons and more, suspenders will always remain preferable to belts in dress wear.” (“Dressing the Man” 2002).

Furthermore, Simon Crompton points out, there are 3 main arguments for wearing braces:
  1. to wear pants at the natural waist. This is above the hip bone, around the belly button, as was the norm for much of the past century. It’s the slimmest part on your body so the shape up and over the hips is nice. (Women are increasingly realising this advantage today.) The curve down to your seat, over it and down straight in one unbroken line to black, polished calf is also attractive. Perhaps most importantly, when you put your hands in your suit pockets, no shirting is exposed, swelling ugly from the belly.
  2. for their comfort. Trousers that are hung by braces do not need to be as tight as those that need to grip onto the hips in order to stay up. They are bigger, perhaps not noticeably to anyone else but certainly to yourself. This is particularly noticed when someone puts on non-braced pants the next day. They feel constrained and needlessly tight, particularly when I sat down.
  3. for their aesthetics. Wearing braces provides a clean fall from the butt to the ankles and lengthens the legs. It really does make one look taller – perhaps even, a little broader on the torso – to lengthen the legs and shorten the trunk.

Suspenders solve the age-old problem of having to constantly pull up your pants. And they don’t just hold up pants, they can also be attached to a skirt. Men and women can wear suspenders. They are fashionable, functional, and fun. And they’ve always been there when you need them!

Links
Discussion time
  • What do you think of suspenders or braces?
  • Do you wear them?
  • Would you try them out?
  • What holds you back from trying them?
Over the next few days, weeks, months, I’ll post more blogs about everything on braces (or suspenders), including how to wear them, a history, clip-ons vs buttons, button placement, x-back vs Y-back, and much more.
So make sure you leave comments and subscribe. Go out and wear braces!

Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

25 comments:

  1. I like wearing suspenders and have worn them for most of my life.I like the way suspenders hold up trousers at the natural waist and allow the crease to fall straight to the shoe.You should always wear the button type suspenders though because of the comfort.

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  2. Agreed, the button-on type is more comfortable - all pants and skirts to be worn with braces should have buttons sewn in. Check out my blog post on this topic on Sept 2, 2010.

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  3. Can you hekop me. I'am looking for braces/suspenders in cachmere-design. Where can I buy such things?

    robschiess@swissonline.ch

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  4. Hi robschiess,

    To find cashmere braces/suspenders, I'd recommend Steve & Co (www.steveandco.com). They have a wide selection and different styles of suspenders for reasonable prices.

    Happy shopping and enjoy wearing braces!

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  5. Back to braces. just wondering whats your favourite outfit that you pair with braces? How many do you own and how often do you wear them? Is their other types of clothing that you enjoy wearing? I love weaing braces anywear but love putting them with my work outfits. there is a picture of a women with a high waisted skirt with braces on this page which i have the same outfit. today i bought a white satin y back button on pair which i cant wait to wear tonight on the town with the girls and that takes my total to15 button on pairs and 5 clip on pairs. there is one other item of clothing which i love to wear when im not wearing my braces and that is jumpsuits. i have a whole cupboard full off them which i love and cant stop wearing. i would love to see some plctures of your braces and i will also take some of my many outfits with my braces and upload them very soon

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  6. @rachael: Thanks for the idea! I'm working on a post of my favorite outfits with braces. I'll go into more details on what I like to wear them with and how often in the post. Stay posted!

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  7. I think the idea for calling button-on's "braces" and clip-ons "suspenders" is a useful distinction. In Australia, the term "braces" is used for both, although "suspenders" is catching on among younger people, possibly thru American influence. persoannly, I would prefer suspenders as a general term - braces sound a bit surgical. However, suspenders can be confused with the cheerful items my wife uses to keep her stockings up!

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    1. @Phil: yes, I agree that the distinction is important. But both of these words have other meanings - in some places, braces also mean a dental apparatus to straighten your teeth, and suspenders (as you mentioned) are synonymous with garters to hold up women's stockings. We really need a new word to describe this helpful article of clothing - any ideas?
      If you do a simple google search, you will find the wide range of meanings.

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  8. I wear braces almost everyday but most of my trousers have belt loops.I have been told that the loops should be removed as it would give a cleaner look.Just wondering if you think this is a good idea as it would preclude ever wearing a belt again with these pants.Also do you think that striped braces give a more formal look when wearing them with a suit or do plain braces work just as well ?

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    1. @Anonymous: Thanks for the questions. I'm glad to hear that you wear braces "almost everyday"! Join the braces club.
      Because you wear braces on a regular basis, the belt loops are redundant and won't be used. In fact, they leave by passers wondering if you forgot an article of clothing when you got dressed in the morning.

      I trust you are not wearing a belt and braces at the same time, so you don't need both. The technically correct style is to have belt loops removed from your trousers. This is a big commitment, as you cannot wear a belt with the trousers, so be sure you will only wear the trousers with braces in the future.

      I have a number of pants that I wear with braces, but have not removed the belt loops. I'm hesitant to live with the results of poorly removed belt loops. So I have yet to remove the loops, but plan to!

      Regarding your comment on styles of braces, solid color braces should be worn for the most formal of occasions (read: White Tie events). White or black-colored braces are the only acceptable choices. You may be able to stretch the rules with a faint pattern or design on the brace straps, but the colors must be either white or black.

      For less formal events, you can show your creativity by wearing solid color braces that are not white or black, or by wearing stripped-colored braces to give a splash of color.

      Enjoy wearing your braces!

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  9. I'm a young woman ,and I like especialy wearing my "black leather clip on suspenders with metalic bukcles" ( I've got 2 pairs of them),and they are allways c"classic" they fit with all of my skirts and pants and the nice feeling you have when put on ,and with the metall buckles your brest points out more,a succes everywhere you go !

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  10. I remember when I was pregnant,and waiting...With my husband going oftenly every year, we went to Germany or Austria,and we liked ( like a lot of other persons),to wear "our Lederhosen with the leather suspenders and cross bar in the middle),and that year with my" big tummy",my husband bought me another "Lederhosen" but 3 times my size,so I was "swiming" in it ,and it went up to my breasts,luckly I had the thick leather suspenders to hold it up,and the bar came up to my breasts,so there I was my husband with his lederhosen and me in my "huge" and large lederhosen ( actualy when walking it was going "up and down(,but all the same I felt great in it thanks to the thick leather suspenders,and really nobodt took notice of me dressed up like this,My husband was happy and so was I too,anyway it was a great feeling,I really apreciated feeling "being held by those thick lederhosen suspenders!

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  11. I agree with the previous comment posted on december ,2 2013,Nothing is comparable with LEDERHOSEN,not only is it getting more and more widespread" ,because you see all types of people of all ages ,(men and women),wearing them,a matter of fact we went to a "volksmusik festival" in tyrol this year and everybody including the ladies and girls were wearing them and all with the leather suspenders with the cross bar at the level of the breasts "they looked very sexy and elegant at the same time,me and my wife were practicly the only ones not wearing one,so as this "volksmusik fest lasted 1 whole week,the next day before going to it,we stopped at a "trachten shop" ( wich sells dirndl's and lederhosen),and me and my wife bought ourselfs one,mine was a brown suede one with the suspenders and reaching my knees,and my wifes one was a ladies one,a black glossy shinny leather type one with the matching suspenders,and we ars over 60 years old,and beleive me once you're in it it's so comfortable and practicle ,once you've tasted it you can't go without it anymore,and the advantage of it ,is that we live in the VOSGES MOUNTAINS in eastern France on the border line with Germany and switzerland, and everytile we go out for a walk or shopping we put them on,LEDERHOSEN has no frontiers!,and we are french but both of us like the " german cultur,I mean they are so great,they are modern but keep their traditions at the same time,unfortunatly, our traditions here in France are going down the drain!

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  12. As german born in the DDR( east germany),Life was not at all happy during the" communist regime, but concerning ",fashion"and " musik",it was not too bad,we listened to UK and US records a lot,,but even when the "wall" broke down in 1991,I left the DDR and moved to the UK where I have been living ever since.Just to mention the two messages on top,well yes,I think that "Lederhosen" is good to wear ,even for non germans,why not in a sense it's making honor to the german kultur.,and being married and having 2 boys and 1 girl aged from 6 to 13 I too put them in lederhosen,Me and my husband like's it and so do my 3 children ,you can put it anywhere at anytime..As for me back in the 70's ,there was a mode wich lasted some years,and made especially for DDR girl teenagers,wich you could find in all shops,and my mother bought me one,It was a long narrow skai ( faux leather) pant in skai black,with the matching suspenders wich were sewn straight in the back, (you could not cross them),and in front the suspenders were crossed and with a large leather piece in the middle,so you could not "unrcoss them,and attached by two very big nickel clips,and theese " black skai suspender pants had a lot of succes, sometimes the older people would say to us why don't you uncross your suspenders in front,and you had to explain to them that with the big leather piece in the middle ,they had to stay crossed in front,butme and my other girlfreinds really liked them,and they lasted up till I was 19,and it was so nice to feel the crossed suspenders in the front pulling your pants up when sitting in the grass,it's not Lederhosen of course but It was a skai suspender pant with crossed suspenders in the front. this mode kasted till about 1980,otherwise girls and boys and teenagers even in the DDR did wear "lederhosen with suspenders,( wich came from BRD ( west germany),But I think it is rather sad to see less and less men and ladies putting on suspenders,it's so "chic"

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  13. Having a little book store here in Northen France ,selling,books,newspapers,magazines,cards,souvenirs,and nice Martinets for bad children in fact they are in a big round metal bin with the leather tails hanging out,wich invites the mothers of coming in and buying one to whip their children .As for me I'm allways in my black and white checkerd bermudas with the matching large suspenders held with big black buttons in front and crossed in the back, allthough being 50 and quite strongly built I love wearing them.although I am aware that my suspenders point out with my breasts and when I lean down my ass stick's out too,but I've never had any bad remarks ,a matter of fact the men coming in and seeing me ,say " madame! you really are impecable with your suspender bermudas!.,and my husband love's me too in them,He even told me to order another one ,but in a larger size,because I'm gaining a bit of weight,the one I have is a 50 ( european size so I orderd a 52 european size),Actualy I put them on everywhere,going out,shopping in the big supermarkets etc...,but it's such a great feeling feeling the suspenders holding you!!,and so feminine!!!

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  14. Thank's for the support of other women who like wearing suspenders with pants or skirts!,what ever how old you may be!.I agree also that it's so pleasant to feel the suspenders pulling up your skirts ,pants or shorts!I personaly I have two very long tweed skirts with big buttons all the long of it and to hold it up I wear brown leather clip on suspenders ,plus a brown leather beret too with it,and I could'nt go without them anymore,and guaranteed succes !What is thrilling too is when we go to the beach and after swiming in the evening I keep on my bathing suit and put over it my long tweed skirt but unbuttoned,and my brown leather clip on suspenders just to hold it up ,wow what a great feeling,with the wind blowing my skirt all sides but not falling thanks to my lovely leather suspenders,and my skirt has two very big pockets in the front so when opened as said before,I just dig my hands in the pockets and pull on my suspenders wich dig in my skin ,you should try it it's so exciting

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  15. I agree too being a suspenders lover for years,and the best ones I like to wear is with my long black long leather pants wich have 4 big metal buttons in front and 2 behind to attach my 4 cm large and thick black leather suspenders wich I can regulate with the huge metal buckles in the front,,I'm proud to show them , but in the summer when it get's hot,I put them on my skin underneath my transparant thin white nylon blouse,and pulling them real hard up too,so I can't even bend down ! What a nice feeling !+as I said before people can see them through my nylon transparant blouse,and i put also a big flat hat so I really look sexy dressed up that way,letting alone that I allways have an immense succes !!

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  16. My work leather work suspenders sometimes slid off my shoulders. Does anyone know of an accessory that stops this? hortond2000@yahoo.com

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    1. @Anonymous: I'm not aware of an accessory that stops suspenders from slipping off the shoulders, unless you use an elastic band to hold them in place.
      Generally there are 2 reasons for straps slipping off your shoulders. First, the stretch in the straps. Suspenders with leather straps do not stretch that much to accommodate the body's movement. During the day the straps will sometimes be loose and sometimes be taut. Straps should adjust to these different situations. Consider a more elastic strap, if you can. Here's some more information about brace tension.
      Secondly, if the back junction is too low, the straps will tend to slip off the shoulders. Back junction that are adjustable can be simply shifted upwards towards the shoulders. However, if the back junction is permanently fixed, use small tabs to extend from the pants to the brace buttons. Take a look at this blog post for photographic suggestions.

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  17. The other day I saw my freind aged 30 and having 2 children she was wearing a superb "high waisted black leather bermudas with a large belt plus the matching buttoned large leather braces ( suspenders in the us) attached to the 6 metal buttons 4 in front and 2 behind and it was really "pulled" high up by the large leather braces ,and she looked terrific in them,I asked her where she got them she said on "amazon.fr .I said that I would like a pair too and that my husband would surely like them aswell!.So we went on the site on internet and I found one at my size 50 ( european size),and orderd one,being very exited even aged 40. And 8 days latter I received my order,and of course tried them on strait away,wow what a wonderfull feeling,feeling all this thick black leather on me,especialy the large and thick leather braces with it's buckles and the large belt much lower I felt as I was harnessed ,( actually the name of the item was called " ladies black leather shorts harnessed type",and once again I did feel as I was "harnessed",,The only thing is that being tightly "strapped like this I could'nt even bend down to pick something off the floor,but anyway what a feeling,I left it on for my husband for when he came home,and as I guessed "he loved them,and told me how elegant and sexy I was .And evertime we go out I put them on,and ,and me too in turn falling apon another freind in the neighbourghood she asked me " hey wow! where did you get this outfit you look superb!,and this time I put her on the site and she has bought one too,so now in the street all three of us wear our " black leather shorts harnessed type !Really I think even as adults we really like and miss our chilhood and love to put back braces,straps ans so on,it's not bad what do you think about it ?! Especialy when your husband takes you on his knees and bounces you up and down + holding you by your leather braces ...If you have a similar stories please state it on this site ladies...

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  18. I did not use the term suspenders when I was a small lad but I did wear galluses. I only wore them because my hips were too small to hold my pants up! As soon as my hips grew a little, I deserted the galluses and started wearing belts..

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    1. When I was a small lad, my mom used the term "batman's, superman's, flashes, green lanterns etc." for suspenders. I wore batman’s because nobody in 3rd grade wore suspenders and because my aunt, in the midst of family financial crisis, graciously gave my mother a load of my cousin’s outgrown, nearly new clothes. Turned out the clothes were a bit large for me. My beloved “batman’s” kept the pants up splendidly, were really cool, and far easier for Mom than altering the pants. As I grew, usually right before the start of school, new loads of my cousin’s clothes showed up. I soon deserted the beloved superheroes and started wearing suspenders. My cousin for some reason was always two years older and larger than me.

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    2. Suspenders to the rescue! Thanks for sharing. Hope more moms put suspenders on their children.

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  20. I too took a similiar step when I got pregnant ,as I like to put on suspenders with my pants and skirts,when I fell pregnant and with my big tummy I found the solution,as my husband is taller and larger than I am I took one of his jeans with leather end suspenders attached to it,and it fit me impecably !+I appreciated those large leather end suspenders wich rolled over my big tummy ,anyway I felt great in them ,and when my husband came home ,I said that I was sorry taking his stuff without asking him but he answerd me saying "oh thats perfectly allright ,because what is mine is yours darling " and even when we went out with our van he even managed ( as his suspenders were very long to pass them over the seat so I was strapped in it with security!,then stepping down from the van he regulated the suspenders back to my big tummy size ,so there you go

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