Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What to wear with braces?

Braces are more formal than belts, and so generally go with more formal wear, such as suits and dress skirts. However, that doesn’t exclude them from wearing braces with jeans, shorts, or khaki pants – they all need support!

Instead of describing the different looks, I think it’s better to just show photos of people who know how to wear their braces correctly.




Based on these looks, you can notice the trend of high-waisted pants or skirt, and a fitted shirt. You can also check out this helpful guide.

Discussion time:
  • How about you? What do you wear braces with?
  • Have any photos or links to share?
Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Brace Materials

    Braces are meant to support your pants. Therefore, as little movement in the braces is desired. However, no movement will mean that there’s no flexibility, and the buttons could pop-off more easily. Therefore, balance is needed in the level of stretch in the braces.

    •    Traditionalists will claim that box-cloth is the only true material. They are made of durable material, but don’t stretch very much when wearing them.

    •    Certain elastic braces can be suitable, when they are firm and retain their shape. I generally prefer firm elastic braces that have some give.

    •   There's also braided braces. These are bulky, like wearing two belts running down your shoulders, and appear uncomfortable.

    •    Pants or skirts may also have fabric braces, which are made from the same material as the bottoms. These could include denim material. Fabric doesn’t stretch very much, and so do not provide the necessary movement when wearing them. But they do make a good fashion statement!


    Regardless of the material, the back strap of the braces is generally elastic. This is to provide stretch in the area it is most needed – the back half for bending over.

    You may not want to get the super stretchy braces, like those shown below, unless you are planning to do some major stretching!
    Discussion time:
    • What brace materials do you prefer?
    Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

      Wednesday, September 22, 2010

      Brace Colors and Patterns

      Braces come in all different colors and patterns. There are solids, strips, pastels, slogans, and even hand-sewn patterns. The countless colors and patterns are by far the main reason braces offer a fresh and interesting twist to any wardrobe.

      When wearing a business suit, braces share the same vertical plane as the tie. As such, they should be coordinated (but not necessarily match) the tie. Solid braces are easier to coordinate than striped or pastels. Choose a blue or red colored tie and then pair it with blue or red braces. The shades don’t need to match exactly, in fact, they may complement the look more when they are slightly different.
      These pants braces coordinate with his tie, and pants
      Novice brace wearers generally try to avoid being noticed. As such, white colored braces are prevalent. But why not be proud of your braces and that your pants are comfortably in position? Break out of the white mold and try some more daring colors, like blue or red!

      If you are very ambitious, go for rainbow color suspenders such as these:


      Stacy London, fashion expert and co-host of TLC's “What Not to Wear", suited up her father with red, showgirl braces for a valentines day date. Check out the video from the 4:15-4:49 minute mark.


      Here’s some examples of color with braces:






      Suspenders can turn a good outfit into a great outfit. For example...


      Discussion time:
      • What’s your favorite brace color/pattern?
      Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

      Saturday, September 18, 2010

      Who can wear braces?

      Anyone! Young, old, tall, short, male or female, fat or slim, everyone should wear braces. Recall the previous discussion about placing the pants at the waist rather than on the hips. This allows the pants to smoothly pass over the stomach bulge (however small) that occurs (refer to previous blog).

      Additionally, people that don’t have hips are almost required to wear braces. They cannot wear belts, as their pants will constantly slip down and eventually end up at their ankles. As a result, they have turned to braces.






      For ladies, wearing braces can be awkward, due to their … assets. This is where button placement is key (refer to previous blog). The shoulder straps should come down from the shoulders and pass on the outer sides of the assets.
      The buttons are too close to
      the middle seam
      The buttons are to far apart
      from the middle seam

      Tyra Banks weighs in on the topic on Access Hollywood Live. I disagree with her comment that the suspenders should be on top. If you notice, the left strap shifts to the side by the end of the video clip showing that they should be positioned to the side. Tyra has worn suspenders before:



      As well as on her own show in December 2010.

      Ladies wishing to wear braces should try to position the buttons as close to the main pleat as possible, so that the pants or skirt are adequately supported. Too far to the side seam and the pants will droop in the middle. Too close to the middle seam and it will squish the assets (refer to previous photo). The braces illustrated by Vixen Vintage below are worn correctly and look stunning.


      Women have been adopting menswear for a number of years, and I think it can be very fashionable. In 2010, Lena Hoschek has a fabulous Fall/Winter 2010 line hits it right on the button – this is how braces are meant to be worn by women.


      Remember that pants to be worn with braces should always be worn a little larger at the waist so that they are actually "suspended" from the shoulders. But avoid going too far, as shown here:

      This man needs to wear braces to support his pants. He does look fashionable for his time.

      As Alan Fusser points out, “Perhaps the only person who might encounter some difficulty wearing suspenders is someone with sharply sloped shoulders. In such a case, the back fork of the suspenders can be raised to compensate. This may be accomplished simply by using the excess material from the hem of the trousers to make tabs that can be sewn to the back, thereby effectively raising the fork higher on the back, which in turn will keep the suspenders from sliding.”
      The brace junction is higher to compensate
      for this ladies sloped shoulders

      Braces are also used for these shorts/skirt to hold them up:


      Discussion time:
      • What about you?
      • Are you wearing braces?

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

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      History of Braces

      Where did braces come from? According to Alan Fusser’s, “From the time man first chose to wear trousers, either leather belts, rope, or cloth sashes were used to hold them up. It wasn't until the time of the French Revolution, however, when short vests and trousers reaching to the armpits were worn, that the suspender first appeared. These early examples were merely straps of leather that fell directly over the shoulders and were fastened to the waistband of the trousers by means of a hook.


      Within a short time, suspenders, which were originally quite heavy and rather uncomfortable, became the favored choice of nobility and were eventually considered the mark of any well- dressed gentleman. In fact, no properly attired Victorian man would have dared consider himself affianced to any young woman of breeding until she had presented him with a pair of suspenders embroidered by her own dainty hands.


      In this country, suspenders were also considered the only choice of the well-dressed man, but by the end of the nineteenth century, this thinking began to undergo a slow yet inexorable change. This change was due, at least in part, to the uniforms men wore during the various wars that flared up during the late nineteenth century. Belts became more popular as shoulders were emphasized and waists pulled in, simply in an effort to appear more threatening and imposing.


      By the early 1900s, folded belts were all the rage. They were fashioned by joining two-inch strips of cowhide, then stitching the edges to produce a rounded, pliable belt one inch in width. Also popular during this period was the Sam Browne officer's belt, which appealed not only to veterans but to other men as well.


      But it was probably S. Rae Hickock, a successful dealer in leather goods, who did more than anyone to ensure the success of the belt industry when he began to manufacture belt buckles with etched monograms around 1910.


      By the time American men returned home from world War I, they were wearing coarse yarn belts, which quickly caught the fancy of the general male populace. However, during the summer, when vests and jackets came off, belts went on as men chose not to expose their suspenders. Also during this period knickers became popular, further limiting the use of suspenders. And although suspenders maintained their popularity well into the decade of the 1920s, by the time the stock market fell, most men's trousers were being held up by belts.




      Though they have recently experienced a renaissance of sorts, today suspenders are but a small part of the haberdashery industry. Belts, on the other hand, come in many colors, widths, and all sorts of materials, ranging from leather to fabric to plastic.” (“Dressing the Man”, 2002).


      Women have been wearing braces for as long as men have, because they work and are stylish!





      As you can see, belts have taken over for suspenders, not because they are functionally superior, but because it was considered a source of embarrassment to display suspenders. Considering that we now live in the 21st Century, this embarrassment has slowly dissipated, and now, in 2010, suspenders are not being hidden underneath vests and suit jackets, but being proudly displayed. The range of colors, fabrics, and designs has increased significantly.

      Discussion time:
      • How long have you been wearing braces for?
      • Do you wear braces proudly or with embarrassment?
      Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.