Friday, December 5, 2014

Ramblings of a Brace-Wearer: A Popped Button

It is inevitable: when you wear braces you are bound to have a button pop off occasionally. The 6 brace buttons undergo strain and tension throughout the day to support your pants from the constant pull of gravity. Yesterday it happened to me: one of my brace buttons popped off on my jeans. I was wearing a pair of jeans that I only wear with braces (no belt loops). I should not be surprised, but I am!

My surprise came from the fact that I was not doing strenuous activity. The braces were not being pulled or stretched - I was simply walking in the kitchen, when I felt my left brace strap suddenly shift to the left. I looked down to find the freed button on the ground and a dangling brace tab.

Drooping waistline from the popped brace button

I think most people assume brace buttons pop off when pulled or with a significant tug. But I share this story because buttons can also pop off simply by everyday wear and tare. This gradually results in the threads losing their hold with the button slipping from the threads and coming off.

Fortunately I was wearing inverse-V brace tabs so the change in brace tension was minimal. The braces continued to support my jeans and I made it through the day. If I had been wearing braces with inverse-U tab, the strap would have been ineffective to support the pants. Here's the result:

My front, inner brace button popped off
The button that popped off was the front, inner button on the left side. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that the front-inner buttons are frequently under a lot of strain; hence they are likely to pop off. Now I’m wearing lopsided braces until I spend time to sew on the button.

Where the brace strap should be

Buttons are better than clips - even when they pop off

Braces are designed to be attached to pants or skirt with 6 buttons – 2 on the front left, 2 on the front right, and 2 in the rear. Any less than 6 buttons and the equilibrium is thrown off. Brace wearers will feel that the pants/skirt isn’t correctly supported without 6 buttons. Because the left strap is further to the side and not as taut, the strap has started to slip off the shoulder. I should sew this button back on soon!

A few days later I decided to wear clip-on suspenders with another pair of pants. I haven't worn clip-on suspenders in a while, so I thought I'd try them out again. This was a big mistake: within 2 hours of wearing them 3 of the 4 clips had snapped off. I was constantly reattaching them. I wondered why I was even wearing suspenders, as they were not keeping my pants up! 

Button-on braces attach and stay securely attached to pants much more than clip-on suspenders. Even though I didn't have all the buttons attached to the jeans, I was not constantly reattaching clips. When suspender clips pop off, you lose the only anchor on that part of the pants. With braces, when a button pops off, you still have 1 anchor holding your brace strap in place. I will wear button-on braces over clip-on suspenders any day!

Now you might think that buttons should be sewn in so securely that they never pop off. However, this is counter-productive as a popped button will save the brace tab and strap when under significant strain. A good tailor knows how much to sew the button on to keep it in place but also to give way if needed.

Given my particular situation, I think it’s fitting to explain how to sew on a brace button in my next post. Stay tuned!

Discussion time:

  • Have you popped any buttons? How did it happen?
  • Which button(s) do you find pop off?