How can you trust a man who wears both a belt & suspenders? The man can’t even trust his own pants”- Frank, in the movie Once upon a Time in the West
Suspenders (referred to as braces in Britain) is one of the very few classic men’s accessories used to judge a true gentleman. It was as though this stylish accessory went extinct for a while, but guess what? They are back! and this time around, they are here to stay.
Some time ago, I wrote An Introductory Guide To Wearing Suspenders and if you’ve read it you will agree with me that suspenders are truly a timeless fashion accessory for men that offer both function and style. So today we are going a step further to talk about the rules for wearing men’s suspenders. So gentlemen, here are the Top 10 Rules you should consider when wearing your suspenders.
TEN (10) RULES FOR WEARING MEN’S SUSPENDERS
#1. NEVER WEAR SUSPENDERS WITH A BELT
Here is that one formula you must always remember as far as wearing suspenders is concerned.
Belt + Suspenders = Bad Dressing
Trousers with belt loops are meant for Belts, but can still be worn with Suspenders. However, Trousers without belt loops (but have side tabs and/or buttons) is best for Suspenders, and should NEVER be worn with a Belt.
However, if you have decided to stick to suspenders, have your tailor remove the belt loops of any trousers worn only with suspenders, and replace with buttons on the inside of the waistband to accommodate button suspenders. Alternatively, have your tailor make new high waist stylish trousers that will be perfect for suspenders.
#2. NEVER WEAR SUSPENDERS WITHOUT A JACKET (FOR PROFESSIONAL LOOK)
Unless you are Larry King, when wearing your suspenders for work, in a professional setting or any special occasion where a suit is required, you must wear a jacket. It is best to keep your suspenders tucked away beneath your jacket.
Although you can remove and hang your jacket when within your office/workspace but when stepping out [perhaps for meetings], you must remember to put it back on. This rule does not apply when you are wearing suspenders for a casual look, for instance pairing it with chinos or jeans.
#3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF SUSPENDERS – BUTTONS vs CLIPS
There are basically two types of Suspenders, the Button-on type, and the Clip-on type. For professional look/settings, you should wear suspenders that utilize buttons not clip. Wearing suspenders with metal clips that clip to your waistband of your trouser are considered less professional.
#4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT STYLE OF SUSPENDERS – Y-back vs X-back
In terms of style of suspenders, you can either opt for y-back or x-back styles. Y-back suspenders form a “Y” on your back and X-back suspenders form an “X”. X-back suspenders provide better support because they can be spaced wider apart, but they are both adjustable and can easily hold your trousers up and firmly.
#5 NEVER WEAR THE “H”-BACK STYLE OF SUSPENDERS
Never wear the “H” style of suspenders, they were the first style that came into existence and is now outdated. So if you still have these, perhaps it was handed over to your dad from your Grand Pa and from your dad to you, please keep it where they belong – at the base of your big cloth box and that’s if you can’t burn them. Please help us all, terminate its existence…never hand it over to your son.
#6. CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE SIZE OF SUSPENDERS
Although suspenders can be adjusted to raise or lower the pants, it is still advisable to consider the size when buying. Ensure you choose the right length when shopping for suspenders. If you are very tall it’s best you go for long suspenders to avoid slouching when walking.
#7. CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE TYPE OF TROUSERS FOR YOUR SUSPENDERS
Note that high-waisted trouser are typically considered best for suspenders. Low-waisted pants are designed to work best with a belt and they offer less support for your stomach. Have your tailor make high-waisted trousers for you if you’ve decided to stick to suspenders instead of a belt.
#8. ENSURE YOUR SUSPENDERS MATCH THE COLOR OF YOUR SHOE, SAME WAY YOUR BELT SHOULD MATCH
If you are wearing dress shoes in combination with suspenders, the color of your suspenders should match the color of your dress shoes (important for professional occasions but not compulsory in non professional settings). However, if you are just new to suspenders, I’ll suggest you first maintain black colored ones as these are popular because of their flexible neutrality.
When you’ve become comfortable wearing that one color and you plan on getting more, then you can experiment with different colors while maintaining the basic rules.
#9. ENSURE YOUR SUSPENDERS LEATHER AND METAL BIT COMPLEMENTS YOUR ENTIRE OUTFIT
Match the leather fabric found on the ends of suspenders to your shoes, in the same way, you would match a belt. Make sure the suspender’s color matches or compliments with your tie, shirt, or other colors in your outfit.
In addition, as a general rule, you should also match the metal part of your loafers, suspenders, and cuff links. If it’s gold in color, ensure your cufflinks, the metal bit of your loafers, and the metal bit of your suspenders are gold as well. Same thing goes when it’s either black or silver.
#10. FOR A CASUAL LOOK, CHOOSE ONLY CLIP-ON TYPE OF SUSPENDERS
It’s true that suspenders will go with everything from your corporate attire to your casual ensembles and really some men love to pair suspenders with a more casual look. However, the occasion and your outfit determine the type of suspender to pick. You must avoid wearing the button type of suspenders when wearing your casual attire…choose only the clip-on type instead.
I hope I’ve been able to share enough tips on how to wear this stylish accessory which is fast becoming a must-have fashion item for modern gentlemen. I also hope these pictures I’ve shared above have given you some idea on how to wear a pair of men’s suspenders yourself. Which one do you like more? Belts or Suspenders? If it’s suspenders, which type do you prefer, Button Type or Clip-On Type? I’d love to hear from you.
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Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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