Saturday, June 25, 2011

Suits and Braces

Trousers were originally made to be worn with suspenders, which held them on the waist, not the hips, and that is where they look and hang best.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 professionally 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. This bulge is very evident when a suit is worn. The flow of the suit is interrupted when a belt is worn, as the trouser material or the belt buckle bunches up at the waist. In addition, unless the trousers are perfectly tailored, they will constantly be slipping down (and constantly be pulled up). This constant adjusting also bunches up your dress shirt. These problems are easily solved by wearing braces with your suit.

Historically men have worn suits every day. By the fashion of the day, suit trousers were worn higher on the waist and held up by braces. This was a day to day look, not just for the office, but in the evenings and weekends. Men would come home from work, hang up their suit jacket and then keep their pants and braces on for the evening. If they were going out, they may put on a cardigan.


Show your Personality
Braces allow you to show your personality when wearing a suit. In addition to the color and design of a tie, socks, and shirt, a pair of tasteful braces adds a special touch to an otherwise standard business suit. If you have interest in a sports team or hobby, for example, you can wear braces with that theme underneath your jacket. You are professional and clean, but able to display your personality when you take off your jacket. And you will take off your jacket to display your braces!

Women can wear braces with suits too...

Discussion time:
  • Do you wear braces with your suits?
  • What brace colors do you coordinate with your shirt and jacket?
  • When wearing braces, are you hesitant to take off your jacket to show your personality and style?
Note: all photos are used solely for non-commercial use and to illustrate braces in fashion. No plagiarism is intended.


  1. Yea, I wear braces with my suits, but I see no opportunity to wear them matched with a suit unless I am wearing a tie.

    For sure, I like to show my trousers hanging on braces. Just like the others show their belts.

    From my point of view braces rule.

  2. I bought my first pair of braces from a chain clothing store and they have been leaving stains from the leather button straps on my dress shirts. They salesmen told me they have never heard of this and suggested I get a new set of braces and return the old ones. The new ones do the exact same thing... I love the feel and look of braces but can not afford to ruin every shirt I own with the ones I have been using.

  3. That's a good question. I've heard of the problem before, but not encountered it myself. Without seeing photos, I'll try my best to help.

    The problem may be that sweat is coming into contact with the leather straps and causing the dye on the leather to leak onto your shirt. Try wearing an undershirt for moisture control.

    If this doesn't work, you may also try a leather shampoo or oil for protection over the leather ink. Rub leather shampoo/oil on the leather brace straps and then wipe smoothly. Let them dry before trying the braces on with the shirt.

    From doing research online, it appears to be a common problem for leather items. Search online for other tips.

    Let me know if the 2 suggestions listed above solve the problem!

  4. Hi,
    I have a question for you that no one seems to be able to answer and I am thinking you might. When did clip on suspenders become popular with men. I am thinking the late 30's early 40's?



  5. Hi Nancy,

    Thats a great question. I think I'll write a post on that. Check back here this week!

  6. I recently aquired a pocket watch and was wondering what would be the best way to wear this watch with my suspenders? Is there a special way to attach it to the suspenders or is a complete other way of doing this ?

    1. @Anonymous: The pocket watch likely has a certain color of leather. As with shoes and braces, the leather should match. This isn't as big a deal with suspenders, as there is no leather.

      For attaching the watch, it could be placed in pockets with the chain draped between. This classic look is accomplished by placing the watch in one of the front pockets of a vest and running the chain through the button hole that is at the same level as the top of the opposing pockets, and then into a pocket on the opposite side. The chain should sag equally on both sides of the button.
      Or you can wear it in a side pocket of your trousers and keep the fob in the Fob Pocket, which is a small pocket at the front waistline of trousers or on a vest front designed to hold a watch or fob. You don't need suspenders to wear a pocket watch, but you generally do wear them with a vest.
      Enjoy wearing the pocket watch.

  7. As a child I use to wear braces and suspenders and as I went through my senior years of school braces were added to our school uniform so being seen with them on was never really a major concern to me. Then along came steve urkal which changed the way people looked at braces. When I started in my first office job I dressed in suits everyday and would always wear braces or suspenders with my pants. I loved the look and felt comfortable wearing them but was not sure if they would be accepted on a female in my work environment so I never really ever removed my jacket. Then a week or so into my job the boss called me in for a chat about sizing me up for a uniform. It wasn't much of a uniform it was more so the colours to choose that represent the company which all were monogrammed but to also choose the styles I wanted to wear and what items. The first booklet blew me away. You chose what you wanted in regards to skirts, pants or both which I love my pants so that was my choice. But then they gave you a choice on leg width that ranged from straight, bootcut, wide leg & even wider than wide leg but not as wide as palazzo. Then you could choose high waist, normal or low rise. I love my high waist and wide leg pants but also dared the wider style also. Then chose multiple styles in shirts and jackets. Then she handed me the men's booklet as I could choose some additional items. I chose a couple of ties and left it at that. Then she asked do I want to order some braces thats when I asked am I allowed to wear them and she laughed. Then told me that only the females there were the only ones that ordered them. I was shocked and relieved but wondered why I didnt see them being worn daily right in front of me which I then showed I was not making much eye contact with others as I was worried about me being seen. "Stupid"!!!!!. End of the story I orded multiple braces in different colours but when I got back to my desk I took my jacket off with relief to expose my braces to find all the other women loving them as they had a light glitter to them then the boss giving me cash to go get a pair for every female there as they became part of our uniform.

    1. @Rachel: Wow, that's a great story! I imagine there are a lot of people either wanting to wear braces or hiding the fact that they are wearing braces every day. As more and more people wear braces, it will help to remove the stigma.
      Braces look great on women.

    2. Hi Rachael, I really admire you for having the guts to ear suspenders to your office. That's great! Happy suspender wearing. I own one Y back suspender but haven't overcome the shyness to wear it in public.

  8. Hi Rachael! That's do amazing!! I'm a woman that loves to wear braces but am shy about wearing them out much !! I wish I worked at your company!!

    1. Yes, I think most readers of this blog would love to work for that company Rachael.
      We can do our part, though. If we each wore braces to work at least once a week, and were confident in our outfit, we could start a revival of braces! Go out and wear your braces with pride!

  9. I'm going out with my jacket unbuttoned so I can give people a peek at my red and white button ons!!! I can't stop pulling them or snapping them. I feel taller as well!!


  10. I got two questions:
    1) people say that braces should worn under three piece suits; not two piece.
    2) They also say that braces should only be worn with shirts that have no patch pocket.
    Is there any truth in these statements ?

    1. @Anonymous: I have not heard these statements before.
      Braces were originally considered underwear, and thus a vest was worn to cover them. After WW2, vests came out of style in addition, men started preferring belts. There is no solid reasons why you cannot wear braces with a 2-piece suit. In fact, if you are wearing a suit, you should wear braces to keep your pants in place and avoid damaging the hems.
      I also don't see any reasons for not wearing braces with a patch pocket.
      In short, I don't think these statements have any truth.

      Enjoy wearing braces!

    2. I wear suspenders (braces)with two piece suits because I don't like vests. They were made to hide suspenders as it was more socially correct in the past. Now it is acceptable to show your suspenders without offending anyone's sensibilities.

  11. Excuse me , but from which film was the black and white picture of the chubby man in the tieless suit and fedora hat taken ?

    1. @Anonymous: I'm not sure what film this was from. I think it's a photograph from that era.

  12. Can someone please give me an answer as to whether braces can be exposed in public or not these days. The ladies seem to love catching a glimpse of mine under a jacket, but the lads give me stick. Whilst I like wearing braces, it is too hot not to remove a jacket in the summer.


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