Why I don’t wear braces

Wednesday, August 24th 2016
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Braces (or suspenders) are great. The tension in hanging from the shoulders maintains a smooth, elegant front to trousers. The high-waisted style gives a man longer legs and stops any shirt puffing out between trouser top and the jacket’s waist button.

They are also more comfortable around the waist, as they can be looser - not relying on tension in the waistband to keep them up. And, as a result, they are more forgiving of fluctuations in weight.

But I don’t wear them.

I recognise, and respect, all these advantages to braces. Some of them - like the equal height of waistband and waist button - are part of the foundations of tailoring theory. They can look great, particularly on slimmer guys and those with a more outgoing style.

But I don’t wear them. I’ve had four pairs of braced trousers made at different points over the past 10 years and each time I’ve just been reminded of the same thing - they are not for me.

Pirozzi bespoke trousers

Let’s start with the simplest but also most debatable reason: I find them uncomfortable.

Despite those different tailors, different cuts, and different styles of braces, I find having fabric wrapped around my shoulders considerably less comfortable than a simple strap-and-buckle.

I rarely wear belts either, finding them rather restricting and uncomfortable after the freedom of nothing at the waist. When I do wear a belt, it is because I want to add a little more texture or variation to an outfit - often when tieless.

Doubtless I could get used to braces if I wore them long enough. (Though I have given them a good go several times.) But then there are the other reasons.

The second reason is also simple and also debatable: they are a pain. If you wear knitwear or a waistcoat, you have to take them off to sit down on the toilet (or unbutton the braces).

bespoke cape horn trousers

Third reason, which is now a bit more fundamental: I think really high-waisted trousers (sitting on your natural waist, above the hips) look great with a jacket on, but not as good with them off. And I do occasionally take my jacket off.

Some guys look great in that look. Michael Browne of Chittleborough & Morgan is one of them. But then frankly, he looks good in anything.

Personally I think most men don’t suit high-waisted, braced trousers without a jacket. The proportion of torso to leg is exaggerated, and it is particularly bad on larger men - who are the very ones most suited to braces in other respects.

I do like slightly higher waisted trousers. My favourites, for example from Camps de Luca, still sit on my hips (the in-dipping middle of the hip bone) but are an inch higher than most modern trousers by virtue of the strap-and-buckle being on the seam, not the band. (As shown below.) A wider waistband achieves a similar effect.

This is flattering, and lengthens the leg just enough. But higher than that - for me - usually isn’t.

This point is also a little subjective and personal. So on to number four.

bespoke cotton trousers Calvo

Reason four, which is probably the most important and least subjective: braces are showy. They’re unusual; they stand out; they suggest the dandy.

My personal style is always to aim for a subtle, understated elegance.

As with the power of a bespoke fit in tailoring, I want someone to merely think I look well-dressed, without knowing why. It’s perhaps only on closer inspection, or thought, that they note the harmony of colours, the patina of quality product, or that absolute key - fit.

I don’t work in a menswear shop. I work in a business and I have to appear professional. My clothes should not be a talking point.

And more importantly, I don’t want to be known as that guy that wears the bow ties, or braces, or a bowler hat. I just want to be the guy that dresses well (and I think a lot of others want to, too).

Perhaps, if this is the aim, one has a certain bandwidth of unusual clothing available. Braces take up all of it; a tie clip takes up half of it. More fun, I’d suggest, to be able to experiment with several things, including slightly unusual cloths, colour combinations or accessories.

Braces have good and bad points, but on balance I'll stay away. And just put up with more wrinkled fronts on my flannels.

 

P.S. I do make one exception with braces, and that is where the trousers will always be worn with a waistcoat (eg my Richard Anderson tux, or Chittleborough & Morgan suit). The braces are still a pain, and they are still uncomfortable. But they make the waistcoat look so much better.

Images: Green trouser, Luke Carby; all others, Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Anthony Smith

Surely the second point is more ‘fundamental’ than the third one? With apologies.

Milsom Porter

I think that’s a pun on “fundament”. Chapeau to Mr Smith.

Oskar

Really interesting, Simon. I can easily relate to some of your points (sitting down in privacy being the obvious one). Just as interesting to see how individual taste differs: for me a tie clip would use up two full days of accessories bandwidth, while I’d view braces in non-flashy colours as relatively more subtle.

On the comfort side, I think as long as you don’t have easy access to tailors for getting exactly your perfect waistband height and fit nailed, braces can still be a good workaround.

Nick Inkster

Fully agree with your observations Simon, but one plea would be that, if braces are to be worn, they are proper boxcloth with buttons, and not the nasty clip on ones………..

Paul

Boxcloth can be rather warm in summer.Look for a lighter weight material that requires bottoms.

Eric

Agreed here. Boxcloth is too warm and bulky for summer. Simple barathea is my preferred summer choice. Linen offers a nice, seasonal change of pace as well.

jamiemcp

I agree with your comment on Michael. seeing him wearing them prompted me to try and pull the look of, and it just didn’t work. as you say to dandyish.

I think though when I get a dinner suit made the trousers will be bracer ones, paired with white silk bracers.

Richard

I like the concept of the “bandwidth of unusual clothing”. Much of that of course is to do with perception and routine; if someone wears braces every day then that’s just what they do, and after a period of other people getting used to it he will have his bandwidth of unusual clothing restored to its full extent. Perhaps items of clothing can be arranged on a scale of acceptable day-to-day variability . Wearing belts vs. braces is one of those normally deeply entrenched personal habits where a day-to-day change can only raise eyebrows, whereas, of course, changing shirts merely reflects the need for laundering and adapting to the current weather.

Anonymous

Why would you be taking your jacket off to meet a client? They wouldnt know.

Paul

I agree Simon that braces are not for everybody, particularly if you work in an office and habitually remove your jacket.An obvious compromise is to have your tailor add brace buttons and straps to the trousers and therefore you have a daily choice of how your trousers should hang .I find that as long as the trousers have little or no break over the shoe, side adjusters will be fine.There will be very little unsightly pooling of the trouser bottoms that one sees with many guys over the course of the day.
Good point also about wearing waistcoats…always wear braces with them.

NickD

Agreed on all points – I have one pair and wear them with one suit, particularly high waisted, that I only ever wear with a waistcoat. They serve a purpose there. I wish more RTW trousers came with side adjusters, they really are the best solution, save the belts for jeans.

Winot

Some good points here. Personally I find the pros outweigh the cons. My strategy is generally to have my warm weather suit trousers cut with side straps (to be worn without braces) and my cold weather suits made as 3 piece with fishtail trousers (to be worn with braces). I take my jacket off in the office but keep the waistcoat on. That just leaves the ‘sitting down in private’ point which I can live with.

I have had a few casual winter trousers cut for braces and I tend to wear those with a thin sleeveless jumper so that the braces can’t be seen in public.

The main advantage for me is ensuring that the trousers hang properly. I basically don’t have a waist and so trousers always slip down over the course of the day if held up only by belt or side straps.

Geezer

Agreed Winot. I also lack proper hips I guess. No matter how they are cut, nor what the rise of my pants, without braces, they slip down and I have to adjust all day long and constantly re-tuck my shirt. With braces, I never seem to have a problem. To each there own though 😉

Federico

I have a pair of trousers with side adjusters, I have to lift up my trousers all the time. The waist fits, but I noticed you need a very tight waistband in order to make the side adjusters work.

Hristo

Nice article, Simon! I am personally a fan of high rise trousers and braces, but nevertheless your article is well written and your arguments make sense.
Unfortunately stupid comments in Instagram and here regarding the clip ons. If somebody does not like clip on suspenders/braces, than nobody forces anybody to wear them. Sometimes some people are really acting like a fashion police.
In my experience tailors do use clip on suspenders for fittings when the buttons are still not installed. This photo might be from a fitting. And some people like clip on suspenders. If somebody wants to follow some “rules” like no green and blue, no brown in town, and no clip on suspenders, this does not mean that they need to fill to comments sections with rage.

Jeff

I think Nick makes the most logical choice in that if you are to wear braces make sure they are buttoned ones. Can’t quite wrap my head around the number of well dressed men (with the exception of their clip on braces : ) that I see?!?

Michael Smith

Braces have suffered ever since Wall Street (or the Fry and Laurie send up), but an image to resurrect their use must be the Antonio Panico DB jacket at your Florence event posted on 19th June 2015.

Tim Fleming

Personally I love wearing braces and have slowly been transitioning all my trousers over the years. I even go so far as to wear them under a backpack with hiking as they are more comfortable than having a belt under a thick backpack belt. My only exception is rock climbing trousers that are best kept up with a simple drawstring – too much movement to be comfortable when reaching for a hold.

As mentioned earlier the pros outweigh the cons for myself, but this is very much a personal style preference so I completely understand your points and conclusion, Simon. I like the point about having a bandwidth of unusual clothing, like a gauge of how much of a dandy each man is willing to express.

This article reminds me of one Will Boehlke wrote years ago in A Suitable Wardrobe where he explained the typical transition for a man interested in tailoring to gradually leave belts for braces … and how it all starts with formal-wear.

Surely you wear braces with a dinner suit, no?

John

Hi Simon,
Eventually, you have decided to devote a post on this surprising popular item in today’s menswear. It was high time! Personally, I do not wear braces. They are still strongly associated to my childwood.
John

Scott

The fourth point is the only reason needed actually for not wearing braces . Anything that suggests, even slightly, the dandy is to be absolutely avoided.

Marko

Why do you say that wiastcoat looks better when worn with braces? If you have side adjusters on pants and wiastcoat covers the shirt what do braces add to the style?

Robert

Simon,

The green moleskin (?) trousers in the last picture are splendid.

Can you please share the fabric choice?

Regards

Rob

Anonymous

There is one area where I think braces should be worn; that of traditional formal dress. A visist to Ascot showed that morning suites are best worn with braces. The look of slightly loose (after a days wear) trousers with belt hanging below a smart waistcoat and morning coat looks ill fitting and wrong. Those with braces held a better line through the three garments. There is an aspect of comfort, that of the weight of trousers (and pocket contents) being suspended from the shoulders rather than waist. Your point about practicality, however, trumps it; using the lavatory, undressing at the gym etc. become harder through, what is, essentially, an outmoded design for dressing.

Richard M

My reason for always wearing braces with a suit is simple. My pants slip down if I don’t.

Pliny

I couldn’t agree more, Simon… ‘My clothes should not be a talking point.’ Hasn’t that been the essence of men’s’ style since the Beau?

I’ve been at the same workplace for the last 5 years, and recently someone said, referring to yours truly, ‘Ask ***, he’s always nicely dressed’. It’s pretty much the only time anyone’s ever commented on what I wear (to my face). So much more gratifying than any number of comments along the lines of ‘Love your red shoes!’, ‘That’s an interesting tie’ or ‘Love your braces!’.

Bernard Weiss

I have never, ever, read a set of such concisely written and well reasoned arguments against braces. For that alone I applaud you, Sir. Although I completely disagree with you, and am a fervent lover of braces, I have never had a debate with someone about braces who could argue convincingly the reason for their lack of enthousiasm for the things. Until now.

Sir: you are absolutely right. But I still love them. Probably for all the wrong reasons.

Keith

1. Braces are great if one has lost a little weight and has not yet made it to their tailor with a trunk full of clothing.

2. As a lad, I was taught that braces were considered underpinnings and that one would not be seen in them unless they were in the company of their closest friends or family. They should always be covered by a jumper, waistcoat or jacket. This works in autumn and winter but when it gets warm, and the layers are abandoned, braces must be put away.

Matt

I disagree with the suggestion that braces are the hallmark of a dandy. To my mind, tarring an item of clothing with the dandy brush means that one is implying that it is of no practical value and is being worn purely for show.

There are arguably a number of very common items of menswear which fall into this category, most notably pocket squares, but not braces. Braces are almost entirely practical, in the sense that they stop one’s trousers from falling down around one’s ankles and thus minimise the risk of arrest on the grounds of indecent exposure.

Even a Drakes pocket hank can’t do that!

ANM

Braces and Bow Ties are two items that when they work, it just seems right. If it ‘works” one is never consciously thinking you are looking at a person wearing something only say 5% of individuals have in their catalog of looks.

When they don’t “work”, they appear highly affected.

It all seems to come down to the individual.

One thing though, I find that if they “work” for an individual they migrate to become the everyday default look almost by necessity, otherwise, they then become something one notices again.

Sort of like getting stuck with the same haircut, facial hair etc., one developed right after university….

Tom Clark

Not convinced 😉 – well, really this is about conviction, not convincing, of course. Belts do not fulfill their upholding function on me due to slender hips and a modest belly, and braces were a godsend. Even my best fitted trousers with side adjusters don’t hold up by themselves through a day of piggly-wiggling. I don’t notice the braces on my shoulders anymore than I notice my glasses, and, as with ties, I take pleasure in pretty designs, such as the lovely silk Trafalgars woven on vintage looms. With images of Pitti in mind I really can’t find anything extravagantly flashy about them at all (they’re certainly no stranger in quotidian life than Fedoras or superwide-lapelled double breasted suits) and, besides, the really shouldn’t generally be seen, as the jacket stays on except in the privacy of the office or under climatic duress (and then I’ll go with Bermudas and a polo rightout, having no busioness dress obligations). Lastly, we live in an age of fashion when superlow waists have made a regular waist loook radical and a high one almost outré (but wait five more years) – it’s all cultural and once you’ve immersed yourself in Hollywood stills of the high waisted superstars who defined 20th century sarotrial finesse it all becomes quite relative.

JoeFromTexas

As a bigger guy, I love braces and higher waisted pants. The braces are more comfortable and functional and the higher waist of the trousers removes some the “weight” from the top half. To reduce the excessive “dandyism”, I try to choose simple, solid braces that are similar in color to the shirt I am wearing, though it’s not always possible.

David

What an interesting article and discussion.
I’ve often considered braces but have ultimately refrained because my wife doesn’t like them.
That said, I don’t necessarily think that they evoke the dandy more than a pocket square. An accessory that, with the exception of with an evening suit, I studiously avoid.
What it comes down to is some guys look like they’ve been born in braces and with some it looks like an affectation.
If you are in the former group good luck to you. Personally I’m sure I’d fall into the latter so it’s side fasteners for me.

Calvin Man

Simon, interesting viewpoints from you and others. My suit trousers are all made with a high fishtail back for wearing with braces. I find braces more comfortable (compared to having to tighten the waist with adjusters or a belt – I am fortunate in being slim and not having lots around the waist…) and the trousers hang better. I accept that they can “make a statement” but I invariably go for braces in more subdued colours (not Wall Street-style red!) and people who see me regularly just accept it as part of the usually well-dressed me! I do agree with you that silk braces are preferable to boxcloth.

Fraser Robison

Hi Simon

Like John I don’t wear braces because of childhood memories. Goes back to my grandfather who always wore his even after he had taken his shirt off! Memories of him sitting by the fire in his vest trousers and slippers but still with his braces on!!!
It got fixed in my mind then that braces were for old men and I can’t shift it.
I’m now 67 and still feel I’m too young to wear braces.

Emanuel

The problem is not with the braces.

It is your mind. And your body.

Here, simply, you are wrong. I am not saying you are stupid (tet), but definitely mistsken.

Persist if you wish. Risk the value of your other views, if you dare.

But here, you are entirely wrong. Everybody worthwhile in tjd business will agree.

Orin

Dandy? I am afraid all readers of this blog are dandies. Whether its our shoes, ties, shirts, suits or braces, we all have our need to be noticed by our own signature items, What attracts us to our desired bespoke apparel? Our individual style. Whether it’s green shoes, pink paisley jacket linings, or naked lady braces, it is our tastes and experiences in our lifetimes that create a style that only we can call our own.

leonard

I have quiet sloped shoulder and I found braces a bit uncomfortable / annoying when the length is not right

Jorge

I believe that broad, T-shaped shoulders and a toned body are a requirement to achieve a smooth and preppy look. Anything else will increase the visual size of your belly and hips. ( a Swinging car spare tire)

Sadly, lots of men fail to achieve the correct look anyway.( think Wall Street)

Rob Fletcher

I agree with previous comments re boxcloth & buttons or not at all, certainly for me, and with your general sentiment that braces aren’t for everybody. The dandy point is the interesting one for me. When I wear my braces, that is exactly the reaction I get. Surely though, that’s because they have fallen out of favour. If they were still worn by many, such a reaction wouldn’t occur. Same is true of hats I’m sure. Once they were ubiquitous and no man would be dressed without one. Now, they are viewed with some suspicion, and are perhaps the mark of the eccentric. Not that good old fashioned English eccentricity isn’t a good thing. As a follower of the truism that form follows function, my vote goes for braces. Still the best way to keep your trousers up. Quite right about doing a number two though. Real pain.

Tom Hannah

I had to go through security at Stansted Airport in braces – horrible experience – never again!

Burt

Cannot see why. I have done so several times at several airports.
By the way, it’s not the Thurston braces that cause a beeper alarm, since they are nickel plated brass.

RichardM

One more thing.I don’t mean to be rude but one wearing clip on braces should not opine on the wearing of same.

Michaelis Maus

I was under the impression it was a faux pas to allow your suspenders to be seen, and so the etiquette of wearing then would typically preclude being “showy…”

Coolguy

I am young (20’s), so braces should not be on my radar. However, being slim, and having no hips to speak of, belts either need to be uncomfortably tight or simply do not keep my pants up! So, despite everything, I have started to wear braces – narrow to match my frame, and clip-on since jeans/chinos etc. do not have the required buttons, and I am so much more comfortable, particularly when being active, that any adverse comments (mainly from male friends, not the girls) have not dissuaded me. If more guys took the plunge, I am sure braces would become more mainstream, and i am pleased to note that they are now universally available in “young” menswear shops. Perhaps our forebears did actually know best!

Arif Sevimli

Very good points.The one even more serious reason for not wearing them for me is related with the stress they put on the back and spine.In the long term ı believe this can cause serious health problems.Well cut trousers don’t need braces anyway and the extreme dandy show without jacket is absolutely a concern.

Jason

Hi Simon – I have just had a pair of trousers made to be worn with braces – my first. They are a nice dark grey and I want to get a couple of pairs of braces to wear with them. I want the colours of the braces to be nice and basic – navy blue and darkish grey initially, but I was wondering about moire braces and whether you think it’s acceptable to wear these (in a navy blue or dark grey) during the day with my trousers and jackets/blazers? I have a white pair of moire braces I wear with my evening suit, but wondered if moire should only be worn at night and are too dressy for daytime use? Many thanks!

Daniel Lichtenegger

Very interesting point of high-waisted trousers with jacket 🙂

May I ask for you advice concerning a versatile Minnis Fresco fabric for some dark navy trousers I want to have made by Luxire.

There is two options in terms of weight that I have:

3-ply Fresco in 15-16oz (100% wool)
and
2-ply Fresco in 9-10oz (70% wool / 30$ mohair)

After already owning 2 linen trousers from Luxire I can say that 9oz is the minimum weight requirement for me (which both fulfill).

I am unsure tough if 15-16oz might be too heavy for summer. I do want to use them in spring and autumn as well so it might be of advantage to have them made in some heavier weight fabric.

Additionally, I am unsure of the wool & mohair combination.

What of those would you go for considering my “requirements”?

Thanks in advance.

Dylan

Hi Simon,

Out of curiosity, why would you lean away from the mohair mix?

Thanks,
Dylan

Henry

I find using belts uncomfortable and, in my opinion, they are not very good at keeping your trousers up, however I am mindful of your comments, Simon, of not wanting to appear as a dandy.

Would, as an alternative, side adjusters be a good idea? I have no experience of them.

Henry

Thanks for this, Simon, much appreciated.

Do trousers with side adjusters sit higher than those with a belt (though presumably not as high as those with braces), e.g., above your hips or around your waist? The real problem I have with a belt is that, after an hour or two, my shirt comes out the top of my trousers because they are sitting too low. I assume that this is not an issue if I were to get a pair with side adjusters?

Thanking you in advance for your advice, Henry.

Bob

Being a bigger guy of the current generation,bracers have always been seen as a “fat man’s” style. I’m kinda of scared i guess s to wear them because of that label. Wearing a high waisted pant is very different.

Bob

In the USA all pants have belt loops. I think wearing bracers with pants with belt loops and no belt looks weird. I would have to make my own pants.

Hugh

In the US, Suitsupply usually have some without belt loops, though the leg line is slim to tight

Bob

I will look here in the US, fingers crossed.
Thank you

Mark D Kimball

Great discussion! I started buying trousers (and suits) with no belt loops and side adjusters or buttons about three years ago. Mainly Reiss and CT (both UK companies). Have also had belt loops removed by tailors from suits. Cleaner look, and no belt to break the vertical line.
Really like the look, and made airport security way easier. Most suit pants have brace buttons, although I’m not ready to take that sartorial plunge other than when I wear a suit, or trousers with a sweater or vest (waistcoat). I only have a few suits and trousers that even still have belt loops.

Lindsay Eric McKee

Can braces and side adjusters be used in combination?
Say, a tailor could have both side adjusters and brace buttons on a bespoke pair of trousers and utilizing both together?

Charlie JW

Hi Simon, I hope you’re well. I am hoping you can please give me some guidance for my upcoming wedding. I am trying to decide on suspender colour – should they match the tie, the suit or not match at all? Colour scheme is dark navy suit, white shirt (both P Johnson and reasonably light cloth being Aus) burgundy tie, cordovan loafers. Any pointers much appreciated!!

Sam Saloff-Coste

Hello Simon,

Thank you for your inspirational and informative blog.

Without braces, I have found that my trousers either hang low on my hips, and just barely, or they restrict my breathing, especially at the end of the day. Thus I have begun wearing braces, and I was wondering if you could advise me as to the fit of the waist. I currently have my trouser waist about one inch wider than my waist measurement when I exhale. I still find them uncomfortable at the end of the day, especially when sitting. I am thinking of letting it out by another half inch to one inch, but I am concerned that it will look sloppy when I exhale. (If comfort was my only concern I would let them out even more.) About how much looseness is appropriate in the waist with braces?

Sam S

Thank you for your helpful answer. I have also found that with braces, I wear the bottom of the rise lower than I would otherwise. If I wear the bottom of the rise where I would without braces, they are too tight when I sit down. I was thinking of shortening the inseam to compensate. I have also seen trousers advertised for use with braces that feature a lower bottom of the rise, and the seller advises choosing a shorter inseam to compensate. Have you (or has anyone reading this) experienced this? Is a lower bottom of the rise and correspondingly shorter inseam appropriate with braces?

Anonymous

I really like the look of high-waisted trousers, but I live in a warm weather environment and often a jacket is not comfortable. What are some easy ways to wear high-waisted trousers without a jacket and look good? I am 5’9 and relatively slim.

Mark

Hi Simon
Interesting relevant article. Is it really a ‘cor-blimey’ historical association’ that is the root of ‘discomfort’?
Aesthetic qualities of braces useful. Better hung trousers can add to a perception of height. Style guides helpful eg. advantages of button-on braces: leather end colour in coordinating an ‘outfit’. I agree on general use of waistcoat and suggest ‘neutral’ braces colour to avoid ‘making a statement’ if circumstances like removal of jacket dictate. Obviously this is a matter for personal desire.
Is the ‘error’ in thinking of braces as an alternative to a belt? I just feel the two have a different function, particularly with suits. Is the cut of the trousers for wearing braces just as relevant for comfort?.
Overall I just feel braces are better (and less irritating) than wanting to frequently ‘hitch’ trousers – as can happen with the use of belts: I have found generally ‘if you need braces use them’ and much better than trouser ‘alteration’ .

mark saniez

speaking of pant suspenders since I was a boy I have allways wore them!and even latter on when I knew my wife she encouraged me of wearing allways pant suspenders especially large one’s with 4 huge clips!Even medicalwise I have been told by doctors that large pant suspenders really maintain your back better ,plus women like to see boy’s and men wearing suspenders too! Even when we go out she like’s to hold our boy’s or mine by the crossback puuling us by them Even when she help’s me to cut the lawn or do the gardening she too lik’s to wear with her working pants a apir of my suspenders and I admit she does look great too wearing suspenders !

Maxwell

Great post. I agree with essentially all you’ve said other than that I don’t find them physically uncomfortable; quite the opposite, honestly. To me, they feel very reassuring in the way they press on my shoulders and remind me to keep proper posture. I also enjoy the sensation of how they keep my rise floating around my waist all the time.

Something I really appreciate about braces is the look they exclusively let you pull off by allowing you to pull your jacket quarter back and tuck your hand into your pant pocket; you get to reveal the entire length of the trouser line and pleat and how it seamlessly runs up until the jackets buttoning point, without revealing any of the shirt or perhaps waistband under the jacket. I find this to be a really attractive, clean and nonchalant look that you’re not afforded without braces.

The peculiar thing about braces that sets them apart from other menswear garments is that they’re almost entirely practical and functional, yet they still must be treated as a visual accessory such as a tie or pocket square due to how uncommon they tend to be. Because of this, it’s certainly true that suspenders always carry that risk of appearing “dandyish” if not done properly and it’s very easy to end up looking like you just stepped out of a best men’s wedding photograph. Fortunately, I think there are a handful of simple yet key steps one can take to remain understated and thus elegant when wearing them. Always: Button braces + high rise and pleated trousers + no belt loops + jacket/coat (wearing a sweater over braces is a great substitute for a jacket, however)+ match leather tabs to shoes and ideally strap to jacket. I have a few pairs of braces and by far and away the one that gets the most use is the 1.25″ width navy strap + dark brown leather and silver hardware. They shut up and do their job, only seldom offering others a moments glimpse when I sit down or stand up.

My other piece of advice would be that if someone chooses to wear braces, they should likely try and remove another accessory. I find that when I’m wearing braces, at most I have a watch and either a hat or tie or pocket square (oftentimes just a watch). Even if you’re more reserved with your tie and pocket square, it’s already too easy to enter affected territory in the minds of many, simply by the nature of wearing relatively unconventional accessories. You don’t need your braces bringing you even further down when they should only be pulling you up.

Cheers.