Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brace Tension

How tight do you wear your braces or suspenders? Are they lax and falling off your shoulders? Or are they firmly pulling up your pants and giving you a constant wedge? How do you find the right balance?
Braces and suspenders have different material – elastic, boxcloth, leather, and more (see Brace Materials). You can find the balance of tautness versus slack in the tension of braces over a short period of time simply by wearing them.

If the material is boxcloth, braided leather, or cloth, there is very minimal tension so the straps should remain at the same tension when you are standing as to when you are sitting. Set the length that you find most comfortable standing, sitting, and bending. You should be able to determine this within 10-20 minutes of wearing the braces.

If the material is elastic then there can be anywhere from minimal to super-stretch tension in the straps. If your pants are bobbing up and down every time you move, then the elastic could be worn out and you will need a new pair. If your braces are too tight and do not provide sufficient stretch when you bend down, you should loosen the straps. Firm suspender straps can cause stiffness in your shoulders, so be careful when wearing a new pair of elastic braces.
 


Generally, the wider the braces strap, the stiffer the tension, and the narrower the strap, the more stretch will be in the strap.

Avoid super-stretchy suspender straps, like these...

To find what works for you, try a few different brace materials (elastic, boxcloth, leather). Wear them for a day to determine their comfort and feel. You may discover that you prefer boxcloth over elastic straps.

Discussion time:
  1. How do you find the tension in your braces/suspenders?
  2. Do you find your pants ride up by wearing braces?

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

15 comments:

  1. I find that folks who are new to braces often have the tension too slack - saggy braces look untidy, can slip off your shoulders or catch on things. It an also means that the waist of your trousers sit too low, and your trousers dont "move with you" as they should. Therefore, I find that you are better off setting the tension tight enough to feel the straps on your shoulders (although, not too tight so they are uncomfirtable or to give your waist band an unnaturally "hitched up" look). To avoid a "wedgy", two straps at the back are mandatory.

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  2. Do western pants require suspenders that are extra wide or tougher than my regular braces?

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    1. @Anonymous: It is true that western pants generally are worn with wider braces and heavier materials. This is because they were designed for rugged work on the land. The pants, and braces holding them up, needed to withstand the pulls and strains of daily life of working in the country. In the country, when you are out for most of the day, you can not afford to have your braces fail - either from a button popping off or a strap tearing. When you are out in the country you don't have the supplies to repair it. As a result, braces for western pants are generally wider (about 3-4 cm). The wider brace width provides more comfort over time compared to narrow braces (1 cm), as the straps do not "cut in" to your shoulders. Refer to a previous post on the topic of brace widths.
      Additionally, the braces may be made of leather to provide extra strength. However, leather is not very flexible. I would recommend elastic materials for western-wear, given the stretching, pulling, and tugging that the braces will need to endure all day.
      Enjoy wearing western pants with braces, knowing that they are held comfortably in place!

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  3. I like mine taught but not too tight or too slack. I like to feel supported by my braces!!

    Andie

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  4. I like mine to be quite tight not too slack!! I really like the way they hold my trousers up and if they were slack I would not enjoy the sensation at all. I have the adjusters just below my shoulders and they are incredibly comfortable!!! I seem to have re-kindled my love affair with braces recently !!!

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  5. Cannot stand any slackness with my braces - pointless wearing them! I like to feel they are hitching my pants up just a bit higher than I would wear them with a belt, Just wish more guys would wear braces, as I wouldn't feel so self conscious when in my shirtsleeves!

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    1. I am male and I wear my braces so that they pull my jeans up tight so I get a permanent tight wedgie. that way I feel the braces are doing their job holding my jeans up and therefore get no bagginess in the jeans. I cannot stand slack jeans. Don't know what you good people out there thinks about it.

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    2. wearing loose fitting braces seems pointless to me.I prefer wearing my braces tight so that they actually support my trousers or shorts.

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  6. I agree with the comments above. The straps should be tight enough that I can feel them (lightly) on the shoulders and the pants' waistband slightly higher than with a belt, but not by much or uncomfortable. Still self-conscious about wearing suspenders/braces without a suit jacket or sweater...

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  7. I'm wearing a stretch red polka dot pair of clip on suspenders . They are super stretchy, had them for years but they always seem to snap back fine !!! I think ideal tension for me is holding your pants in place so they don't move whilst not restricting your movements. There is no point in wearing slack braces i.m.h.o . I'm a woman and I like they way braces and suspenders hold your trousers up. I also dont want to be told (by some people) that just because I have hips I should wear skin tight waisted trousers with a belt . Anyone who scoffs at brace wearers clearly hasn't tried wearing a pair themselves!!

    Andie

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  8. Cant handle slackness in my braces.I prefer to wear my jeans and shorts a little high waisted and therefore wear my braces on the tight side.And it is way more comfortable than any belt I have ever worn.Men and women alike should all try wearing braces-you will be amazed how comfortable they are.

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  9. I wear high waisted trousers all the time and I like to adjust my braces quite tightly. I like the feeling of the straps over my shoulders and I really like the look of them.

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    1. @Anonymous: Agreed, high waisted trousers demand braces. They look and feel best that way. Enjoy wearing them!

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  10. I always liked the look of braces but never got up the guts to wear them myself until about a year ago, I ordered myself some clip on black suspenders. It took some getting used to at first as is often wear them so tight, with the clasps at my shoulder that they'd pop off but I eventually got a proper balance.

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    Replies
    1. @Anonymous: good to hear you took the step out and are wearing suspenders now, and with the right tension. It sometimes takes time to get it right. Enjoy wearing them!

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