Saturday, October 16, 2010

Adaptations of Braces

Braces were originally designed to hold up pants. As Alan Flusser states, “Trousers were originally made to be worn with suspenders, which held them on the waist, not the hips, and that is where they look and hang best.”

Braces were then attached to skirts, as they also need support.

In recent years, braces have also been added to other articles of clothing such as vests and skirts.

Or adaptations on the braces themselves. Such as 

  • Wing-tips on the braces

    • Fur braces

    Regardless of where braces are used, more people should start wearing them!

    Discussion time:
    • Do you wear braces on other items of clothing, besides pants and skirts?
    Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Stories about Braces

    Everyone has them: stories about braces. It could be their first experience, the first time a button popped off, or people’s comments when they see you wearing braces. I’m interested in hearing your stories.

    To get you thinking, here's two stories from newspapers:
    Swank Injured By Suspenders In Freak Set Accident
    06 January 2007

    Actress HILARY SWANK needed stitches while shooting new movie P.S., I LOVE YOU when she was hit by a co-star's suspenders. The Oscar winner was acting opposite movie husband GERARD BUTLER in the film when his braces snapped and hit Swank in the forehead. She says, "It came undone and flung across the room and hit me in the forehead... I had stitches. "Blood is trickling down my head and it left a perfect suspender mark - you know, the jagged edge of a suspender and then the straight edge."

    This would have never happened if Gerard was wearing button-on braces. Be ware of clip-on suspenders!

    Suspenders save Life
    From November 9, 1918

    His heavy suspenders saved Horace Gibbs, of No. 1125 Clover street, from being killed in Camden by Emanuel McKimm of No 742 Sycamore street. When McKimm was arraigned before Recorder Stackhouse yesterday on a charge of firing teh shot, Gibbs showed where the bullet plowed through his vest and shirt and then was stopped by steel in the suspenders.
    It was explained that when Gibbs was taken to the Cooper hospital the bullet fell to the floor as the physicians were about to probe for it. The accused man was committed to jail in default of $1,000 bail. The two had quarred about a trivial matter.

    Wear suspenders - it may save your life!

    You may also want to check out this story.

    Start wearing braces, no matter what your friends say!

    Discussion time:
    • Share your stories!
    • Any memories from your first time?
    • Any humorous stories?
    • Any stories of the first time a button popped off, or a suspender snapped off?
    Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Vests and Braces

    Winston Churchill in classic attire for his day
    There’s a direct connection between wearing braces and a vest. Alan Flusser (“Dressing the Man” 2002) describes it further: “The vest as we know it today originated with the postboy waistcoat of nineteenth-century England. It was worn for warmth by the postboy, or postillion, who rode as guide on the horse attached closest to the coach.

    “Up until World War II, men always wore vests in the wintertime with their single-breasted suits. In recent years the vagaries of fashion have brought this custom in and out of favor. “Fashion” should not be your guide. If you have an opportunity to purchase a vest with you suit, do so. There are numerous advantages to owning a vest, not the least of which is the increased versatility of a three-piece suit. A suit worn with a vest always gives a slightly dressier look.

    The vest gives a clean, smooth look
    Vests should fit cleanly around the body, covering the waistband of the trousers and peeking just above the waist button (or middle button) of the suit jacket. Good vests are often cut so that one doesn't button the bottom button, a tradition that began when a member of English royalty appeared at a public function with his bottom button mistakenly undone. This faux pas was picked up by the middle class and has remained with us ever since, producing a casual, somewhat more open look.

    “Of course, there's no sense wearing a vest if it's not worn correctly. When the jacket is buttoned at the waist, one should be able to see just a small part of the vest above it. Any higher than this and the effect becomes strained, concealing too much of the tie as well. Also, the neckline of the vest should not cover the collar points of the dress shirt but should instead clip them slightly. In addition, the entire elegance of a three- piece suit is destroyed if the trousers are worn on the hips, below the inverted V at the bottom of the vest. This allows the shirt or belt to interrupt the smooth transition line from vest to trousers.

    “A well-made vest has a definite waistline, which is where the waistline of the trousers should hit. The front of the proper vest is normally made from the same fabric as the suit, while the back uses the same fabric as the sleeve lining of the suit jacket.
    The correct way to wear a vest
    After removing the vest, it's visible to see the pants are supported by braces
    “Vests are adjustable in the rear and traditionally have four slightly slanted welt pockets - two just below the waist and two breast pockets. The breast pockets are deep enough to hold a pair of glasses or a pen, while the shallow lower pockets afford one the option of sporting a pocket watch.

    The pants pass over the waist
    “In the last twenty years, the popularity of jeans and European-style pants has unfortunately accustomed most young men to wearing trousers that are too tight and rest on their hips. Trousers were originally made to be worn with suspenders, which held them on the waist, not the hips, and that is where they look and hang best. No well-dressed man would wear trousers that rested anywhere else. This is not an arbitrary gesture. Every man, no matter how thin, has a slight bulge in his stomach area. When trousers are worn on the waist, they pass smoothly over this bulge in an even drape. Furthermore, waist-worn trousers emphasize the smallness of the waist. They sit there comfortable, supported by the hips. Trousers worn on the hip, however, must be belted tightly, for there is nothing to hold them up. In consort with a vested suit, trousers resting on the hip can only detract from the overall appearance, particularly when there is a gap between vest and trouser top. There is nothing more unsightly - and nothing that draws more attention to the waist - than to have a visible bunching of the shirt or the belt sticking out from between the vest and trousers. The solution is to reaccustom yourself to the way men used to wear trousers. It made sense then and it still does today.

    As illustrated below, compare the difference in these two photos. The outfit on the left shows a large, white gap above the waist-line and draws attention to the mid-section. The outfit on the right has a clean, smooth line that passes over the mid-section. If you look closely you will notice that the one on the right also has braces attached.
    As you can see, braces are required when wearing a vest, to keep the shirt from sticking out between the pants and vest, or having a bulge from the belt buckle.

    Discussion time:
    • Do you wear vests?
    • Do you wear braces with vests?
    Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

      Wednesday, October 6, 2010

      Snapping Your Braces

      Ever since elastic was used as a materials for braces, people have been snapping the brace straps. Be it by yourself or by others, this is a fun fashion accessory to play with.

      Elastic braces provide the flexibility to support your pants, but also give someone an easy opportunity to inflict some pain. The person pulling the brace straps always has a smile on their face.

      People snapping your braces shouldn’t deter you from wearing them though. It’s part of the territory of wearing braces.

      One could wear non-stretch brace, such as braid, leather, or cloth, but these then perform poorly when the individual bends down or stretches.

      Brace straps are frequently used for hanging on - for example, in piggy back rides.

      Or similarly, this man’s braces are likely being used to anchor his sons' ride.

      Some people snap their own braces.

      So go ahead snap your braces. And if someone else does it for you, treat it as a pat on the back!

      Maybe you just like to hook your thumbs behind your braces. This is very comfortable!

      Or even your whole arm!

      One things for sure, they make for a good hand-hold for kissing.

      Discussion time:
      • Do people snap your braces?
      • What do you do when someone snaps your braces, especially from the back?
      • Do you like to hook your thumbs behind your braces? 
      Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

        Saturday, October 2, 2010

        Braces and posture

        In general, posture has been on the decline for the past few decades.  One reason may be that people are not wearing braces as they used to. Braces actually help posture and have numerous medical benefits.

        “We use our muscles reflexively to balance ourselves when we sit, stand, sleep or work. Our bodies would fall forward without muscles pulling us back. When your body is balanced, it is self-supporting and requires very little help from your back muscles. Taking strain off of your back can help to avoid many injuries. This can become especially important in certain types of jobs or activities. With correct posture, your internal organs have room to function normally, and blood circulates freely to create the best total fitness.

        Wearing suspenders contributes to better posture by applying pressure on the shoulders, stimulating the brain and the body to straighten and balance itself front to back, in much the same way that balancing a book on your head stimulates the body to straighten and balance itself in all directions. The body naturally wants to balance itself. The brain and the body take in many sensual cues for sustaining balance and posture, including visual, inner ear (cochlea) and pressure exerted on the muscles and joints. We feel balanced based upon the information sent from the muscles and joints to our brains, and our brains assume that we are balanced when there is equal pressure from side to side and back to front.

        Suspender straps provide an additional physical sense to give the body even more cues. The gentle pressure exerted by suspender straps on the shoulders “tricks” the body by creating the necessary stimulus that forces it to respond by straightening and balancing from front to back. This, in turn, has the effect of making the person “stand taller.” Good standing posture is when the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are “stacked” in a straight line, shoulders relaxed and knees slightly bent. Poor posture causes muscular strain that can cause injuries and wastes energy. Good posture, enhanced by wearing suspenders, makes the person look healthier, allows clothes to fit better and makes a better impression on others. The result of wearing suspenders then, is healthier for the entire body.

        They cause the body to reflexively straighten itself, encouraging the person to stand taller. Suspender wearing also creates better posture and eliminates pressure on abdominal organs while sitting or standing, since pants can be worn more loosely. Habitual suspender wearers can now claim health rewards as well as fashion rewards. To prove that suspenders encourage your body to stand straighter, try this simple test:
        1. Draw a line approximately 6 inches away from a wall.
        2. Facing your body away from the wall, place your heels on the line that you have drawn.
        3. Stand how you would normally, and have someone use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the distance between the wall and the top of your shoulders.
        4. Then, put on a pair of suspenders (and preferably the pants with them), adjust the tension enough so that there is a gentle pressure on the shoulders.
        5. Face away from the wall with your heels on the line, and re-measure the distance between the wall and the top of your shoulders.
        6. Depending upon the original standing posture, there will be from 1/2 inch to 2 inches less distance from the shoulder to the wall in the second measurement.
        The back will be noticeably straighter in the suspender wearer than the non-wearer.

        Wearing braces provides better posture, doesn’t restrict blood movement (which a tight belt would), and the person stands taller. This also results in more confidence. So go out there and wear braces!

        Discussion time:
        • Do you wear a tight belt and feel stomach cramps?
        • Try the test – did you notice a difference in your posture?
        Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.