Saturday, April 2, 2011

Position of Back Junction

Nowadays braces (and suspenders) cross over in the back. Originally, braces were simply straps of material that were made of leather attached to pants, similar to this...
These straps will slip off
the shoulders
Case in point - the strap slip off
the shoulder
Because of the normal body movement, the straps were prone to slip off the shoulders and not serve their purpose. Therefore, to rectify this problem the straps were crossed over in the back. Additionally, the invention of elastic and application to suspenders greatly improved the flexibility of braces to remain on the shoulders.

The straps on X-back braces and Y-back braces come together in a junction. The position of this junction relative to the wearer is important for comfort and style. If the junction is too low, the straps will be more prone to slip off the shoulders and will be uncomfortable on the shoulder blades.

If the junction is too high, the straps will be nestled around your neck and feel uncomfortable, as illustrated below.

Not all junctions are movable (see above). In these cases, you will have to live with the style, or get new suspenders. However, if the junction is adjustable, you can move it to the correct location, as described above.

Take note of this vintage photo of 2 men strolling down the street, wearing high-waisted pants, reminiscent of the zoot suit era in the early 20th century:

Here's a close-up with emphasis added to show the 2 different styles and the detail of the back junction. The man on the left is wearing X-back braces with the junction rather high and the rear buttons spread apart, in line with the back of his legs. His partner on the right is wearing Y-back braces with the junction very close to the neck.

These appear to be identical pairs of pants, with brace buttons in the same place on both pants. However, there worn with two different styles of back junctions. The spacing matters: X-back braces have more distance between the junction and the waistline, while Y-back braces are shorter. The pants of the man on the right are being pulled together at the middle seam from the brace tabs of the Y-back braces, while the pants of the man on the left are neatly in line.

Where should the junction be located? 
So where should the junction go? The junction should be located just below the shoulder-blades, to allow the straps to run over the shoulders and above the shoulder blades. This results in the junction being just above the centre of the back and provides the greatest comfort. Here are photos illustrating correct position of the junction:
Notice that the junction is mid-back – so the straps cross above and around the shoulder blades.

Discussion time:
  • Where do you position your back junction?
  • Where do you find it most comfortable?
Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.

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