As far as holding your trousers up is concerned, the choice is between belts or suspenders (“braces” in British English). We will use the terms interchangeably here.

This article will discuss the benefits of braces, how to put them on, the history of the accessory, and general tips for looking your best in them.

You can certainly read the entire article from start to finish if you’d like, or feel free to jump to the section that most interests you by clicking one of the links below:

braces with belt loops

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Top 10 Best Suspenders & Braces Brands For Men

In this guide, you will discover everything you need to know about braces or suspenders from how to wear them and why. We’ll also cover their history and the various styles you can buy. To give you a better idea of our taste in braces, we’ll take you through some of our favourite brands.

Currently, we recommend the following suspender brands:

  1. Albert Thurston
  2. Turnbull & Asser
  3. Hawes & Curtis
  4. Suitsupply
  5. The Tie Bar
  6. Charles Tyrwhitt
  7. Rampley & Co
  8. Indochino
  9. JJ Suspenders
  10. Historical Emporium

Simply use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to discover them all!

1. Albert Thurston [Best Historical Brand]

Turnbull & Asser Evening Shirt In James Bond Casino Royale
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Boxcloth, Silk or Cotton
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $140 [Buy On Amazon]
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As you’ll later learn in this guide, Albert Thurston are often accredited with having invented the modern adjustable suspender. In fact, they have been producing them in England since 1820 and continue to do so today!

You’ll notice above that we’ve used a still from Casino Royale (2006) to provide commentary and highlight both their historical and contemporary significance as they were worn by James Bond in this very film!

Furthermore, Albert Thurston supply many British brands with their braces. Therefore, if brands state that they’re made in England then there’s a high probability that they were actually made by Albert Thurston!

Surprisingly, Albert Thurston are conveniently available on Amazon. You’ll find a wide variety there including beautiful paisley patterns as well as white suspenders that can be worn with a tuxedo.

2. Turnbull & Asser [Best Luxury Brand]

Turnbull & Asser Shirts, Braces & Accessories
  • Fastening: Loops Only
  • Strap Material: Boxcloth, Silk or Cotton
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: M, L, XL
  • Pricing: $170 – $220 [Buy On Turnbull & Asser]
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Turnbull & Asser, a celebrated Jermyn Street brand, continue to embrace English-made craftsmanship. From their shirts to their braces, all their products are still made in the UK.

Unlike most brands, Turnbull & Asser offer a rich selection of braces. For instance, their cotton and nylon dress suspenders can be worn with a tuxedo. Meanwhile, they also have a colourful selection made from wool boxcloth felt. Finally, their more luxury ranges are crafted from elegant and lightweight silk.

3. Hawes & Curtis [Best Value For Money]

Hawes & Curtis Flower Print Braces
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Polyester or Cotton
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $63 – $79 [Buy On Hawes & Curtis]
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Another heritage Jermyn Street brand, Hawes & Curtis retail a wide selection of braces with a dizzying assortment of designs. If you fancy something a little fashionable an unique, they have a selection of floral printed suspenders.

Alternatively, you can opt for something more conservative yet elegant with their pin-dotted or block-colour suspenders instead.

4. Suitsupply [Understated Design]

Suitsupply Braces
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Non-Elastic
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $69 [Buy On Suitsupply]
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We’re quite fond of Suitsupply’s understated yet elegant braces. Although they have a modest range between black and navy suspenders, they’re well-made with high-quality leather loops and fasteners.

5. The Tie Bar [Wide Selection]

The Tie Bar Braces & Bow Tie
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Silk or Wool
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $25 [Buy On The Tie Bar]
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It comes as no surprise that The Tie Bar should be featured in this guide. With their eclectic and exciting selection, there are suspenders here for every possible taste and planned colour scheme.

Furthermore, they’re not expensive and their suspenders retail for only $25 each. Even better, The Tie Bar sells discounted bundles where they combine bow ties and matching braces in a single convenient package.

6. Charles Tyrwhitt [Affordable Jermyn Street Brand]

Charles Tyrwhitt Suspenders
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Polyester & Elastodiene
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $50 [Buy On Charles Tyrwhitt]
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Although their selection is somewhat limited, Charles Tyrwhitt is well-known for providing excellent quality and value for money. Their suspenders are available in a small selection of colours. Additionally, they’re made with both clips and loops so you can wear them even if you haven’t retrofitted your trousers!

7. Rampley & Co [Luxury English Brand]

Rampley & Co Suspenders Braces
  • Fastening: Loops Only
  • Strap Material: Cotton, Boxcloth & Wool
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: No
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: From $100 [Buy On Rampley & Co]
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Firstly, Rampley & Co’s braces are handmade in England. They’re beautifully presented with a variety of luxurious colours and fabrics. Furthermore, some of the suspenders feature old-fashioned adjustments where the excess material falls to the front. As a result, it has a more countryside gentleman style.

8. Indochino [Custom Trousers]

Indochino Suspenders
  • Fastening: Loops
  • Strap Material: Polyester
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: See Description
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $39 [Buy On Indochino]
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While Indochino’s suspenders are great, they’re not exactly the reason that we’re featuring the brand in this list. What we love about Indochino is that you can have you custom trousers made for wearing braces without breaking a sweat.

In most cases, you’ll have to remove the belt loops and retrofit the trousers yourself by adding buttons. However, you can simply ask for your custom trousers to be made with interior buttons for holding braces instead. You can also ask for side adjusters rather than belt loops for a clean and finished look.

9. JJ Suspenders [Rich Selection]

JJ Suspenders & Black Lapel Suit Lining & Monogram
  • Fastening: Loops & Clips
  • Strap Material: Cotton, Polyester or Leather
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: Yes
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $79 – $89 [Buy On JJ Suspenders]
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We reviewed JJ Suspenders a while ago and continue to wear their braces today. JJ Suspenders offers a wealth of options on their site including leather braces, skinny contemporary designs, and wide, formal suspenders.

Furthermore, you can benefit from an additional 15% off your order on their site with our exclusive discount code “BESPOKEUNIT2019“.

10. Historical Emporium [Vintage-Style Braces]

Historical Emporium Suspenders
  • Fastening: Loops
  • Strap Material: Cotton Canvas
  • Fastening Material: Leather
  • Adjustable: Yes
  • Buttons Supplied: No
  • Sizes: One-Size
  • Pricing: $30 [Buy On Amazon]
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If you love suspenders but are looking for a more pioneer, vintage look, then Historical Emporium may be the brand for you. Although made with contemporary tools, Historical Emporium use traditional materials to produce their period-inspired garments.

We’re particular fond of the Stagecoach model, which has thick leather tabs. Nevertheless, they have lots of other styles including braces made from braided leather!

The History Behind Braces

yellow albert thurston suspendersAlthough Albert Thurston invented the first modern pair in 1820 (and who still makes them in Leicester, England), it is generally accepted that suspenders were born in France as the “gallus,” though the exact timing of this is unknown. The originals were made from silk ribbon and were made in a wide variety of patterns and colors.

These accessories were originally designed to accompany the high waisted pants that were in fashion. These high pants were worn so high, belts could not hold them up! The suspenders designed by Thurston attached to the pants by leather loops, still being made today.

Suspenders were sold to American colonists by traveling peddlers and technically qualify as the first ready-to-wear item in history, hundreds of years before Brooks Brothers’ Number One Sack Suit.

A Hidden Detail

JJ Suspenders Formal Braces & Black Lapel SuitBraces were considered to be an undergarment, never to be seen in public. As a staple of every mans wardrobe throughout the 1920’s they lost favor during the 1930s as the waistcoats that used to cover this essential piece of ‘underwear’ were worn less.

Not wanting to expose their intimates to all and sundry, men promptly switched to belts and herein we see the demise in the braces’ popularity.

Braces were far more popular than belts up until the First World War, at which point soldiers, having worn yarn belts with their uniforms, returned home with a preference for belts over braces. As more lightweight clothing became available during the Jazz Age, suspenders began losing some steam, sales-wise, compared to belts.

The Popularity Of Braces Wanes

This trend continued through the 1980’s, as men returning home from World War II preferred donning belts with their grey flannel suits, and the slimmer fits of the 60’s and 70’s made braces nearly obsolete, at least with young men.

Visible suspenders were risqué; in 1938 a town in Long Island, NY tried to ban gentleman from wearing them without a coat. The town called this risky move a “sartorial indecency.” The ban was overturned after residents complained.

Slowly, even after the waistcoat was worn less often, pants were fashioned to start sitting lower meaning suspenders began to fade more. However, they didn’t completely disappear. Doctors in the late 1920s recommended suspenders to patients with larger stomachs. Actors, like Humphrey Bogart and Ralph Richardson both wore them. Richardson even bought six pairs when World War II broke out in anticipation of fabric rations.

Post World War II Style

The 1960’s brought back braces in pop-culture. They can be spotted in the movie A Clockwork Orange, worn by famous hooligan, Alex DeLarge (Malcolm MacDowell). The British skinheads adopted suspenders into their working-class look. They can be seen attached to blue jeans that didn’t need help staying up.

The movie Annie Hall even brought around braces being worn by working women who wanted a more “unisex” look. Note: In Britain, suspenders refer to the undergarment holding up ladies stockings.

People Magazine released an article in 1986 recommending that “fashion-forward teens” wear their suspenders hanging from their waist, not worn on their shoulders. Movies in the late 1980s also began to associate suspenders with wealth while TV gave suspenders a different vibe: the nerd.

Modern Revival of Braces

JJ Suspenders Formal Braces BackWhile braces were mostly absent from wardrobes in the 1990s and early 2000s, they could still be seen in the Punk and Grunge scenes. More recently, hip-hop style icon Fonzworth Bentley popularized the preppy dandy look in pop-culture.

This look has also pushed for a fascination with early 20th century culture. Men are looking towards the dandy style of the early 1900s for inspiration for their wardrobe and lifestyle. More speakeasy themed bars, mustaches and, of course, braces are being seen.

Suspenders are still less popular than belts, especially with men under the age of fifty. Still, many of us are re-discovering their virtues from both sartorial and comfort perspectives. We get into that more below.

Why Wear Suspenders?

Tan Suit With Red Houndstooth BracesIn a nutshell: increased comfort and ease of movement, vertical lines to make you appear taller and / or slimmer, and general nattiness.

Lots of men are afraid of suspenders, and it’s understandable why that’s the case. We’re concerned about looking affected, we don’t know how they should be worn, or we simply don’t want to rock the sartorial boat too much. If you’re a younger guy, wearing braces will draw a lot of attention to you, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling if you’re not 100% confident in what you’re doing.

Still, it’s worth a try. Let’s explore the reasons we gave above as to why you should wear suspenders:

  • Increased comfort: Belts cinch your pants around your waist. Anyone who’s ever worn a belt (which is everyone) knows that you have to tuck and re-tuck your shirt over and over again when wearing a belt.

Braces, on the other hand, make your trousers hang from the shoulder, essentially letting them float around your waist. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the comfort and freedom of movement this allows is second-to-none.

  • Vertical lines: Braces instantly add two vertical lines to your torso. If you are a short or heavyset body type, this is hugely beneficial. These vertical lines give height to short men and work to slim heavyset men.
  • General nattiness: Suspenders look rakish for a number of reasons. First, their rarity relative to belts gives them some instant style points. Second, they occupy the same visual plane as your shirt and tie, which means that they offer an additional opportunity to accessorize in terms of color and pattern. While this presents an additional challenge, the payoff is exponential.

Conversely, if you are tall but not heavyset, you may want to avoid braces. They will simply amplify your height, which you need no help with.

Wearing Your Suspenders With Style

Dotted Suspenders With Striped Tie

There’s quite a bit to know about how to best wear your braces. So much so, in fact, that we’ve given this topic its own page.

Our comprehensive guide covers everything that you need to know about how to wear your suspenders including some general style tips like color coordination and buckle placement, as well as some examples of classic suspender pairings, such as braces with jeans.

Take a look at our guide on how to wear suspenders for more info.

How To Put On Your Suspenders

Blue Floral Braces With Black Leather TrimJust getting into wearing suspenders but aren’t sure how they work, exactly?

Putting on suspenders really is a simple task and ultimately becomes second nature you’ve done it a few times.

However, for men who may not be accustomed to wearing braces on a regular basis it can seem quite difficult when trying to put them on at first.

You can check out our detailed page on how to put on braces for a graphic-driven, step-by-step guide.

How to Store Your Suspenders

Hanging on your Trousers

Hanging Pants and Suspenders TogetherWe recommend storing your trousers with the suspenders still on them. This means you would follow the first set of instructions above on how to put on your suspenders. Storing your trousers with their suspenders means they’re ready to go for the next time you are ready to wear them.

Of course, you’ll want to take off the suspenders when you get your pants cleaned. You also may want to switch out your suspenders to a different design if you enjoy wearing them and are building a collection.

To store everything all together you’ll want some trouser hangers and a high closet bar, if possible. Fold your trousers on the front and back crease, not the seams along the side.

Holding the bottom cuff of the trousers, attach the hanger, leaving the suspenders attached at the waist. Hang your trousers on a high bar, preferably your suspenders wouldn’t touch the floor.

Alternative Methods

If you do not have access to a high enough bar, that is fine as well, your suspenders can drape along the floor at the bottom, or you can even put a small box to collect the hanging suspenders so they are not touching the floor.

There are various types of pant hangers. You’ll want the type of pant hanger that clamps the end of the trouser and allows them to hang down. We recommend either Allen Edmond pant hangers or a generic type that has a strong grip. Be careful not to choose one that has a sharper grip so you don’t ruin your trousers.

Pant Hangers for Storage

Storing Detached From Trousers

If you’re not ready to commit your trousers to have your suspenders on them at all times, it is perfectly normal and acceptable to remove the suspenders when you are putting away your trousers.

The best way to store your suspenders, when they are not attached to trousers, is by hanging them in a place where they can be straight. Belt hooks, wall hooks or even movable garment hooks can be used to hang your suspenders.

Suspenders Hanging on a Rack

You’ll want to make sure the hooks are about 2 inches apart. This will allow the back “Y” loops to gracefully loop onto each hook with the front straps extending straight below. You don’t want the hooks to be too far apart were it will put strain on the straps, potentially damaging them, so having them closer is always better.

We recommend the black hooks on the left from Ikea or from a wire storage rack. If you can’t find either, look for a hanging belt rack that has hooks spaced about 2 inches apart. We recommend one with a cedar block to keep your suspenders smelling fresh and any moths away.

If you do not have room to hang your suspenders, folding them will also work. If you do opt to fold them, be weary of the fabric / material. Too much pressure on the folds can cause creases. Fold the suspenders in quarters lengthwise and store them in a drawer or box.

Making Your Own Pair

Tools For Making Custom SuspendersIf you’re more of a DIY kind of guy, then you might be up for making your own suspenders. The benefits of making your own braces are numerous, and two huge ones come to mind:

  • Fully customizable: You pick out the colors and materials, so there’s no aspect of the suspenders that you don’t like.
  • Perfect sizing: While braces are adjustable, men with pot bellies or particularly long or short torsos do well with braces that are sized specifically for them. Making your own pair allows you to achieve a perfect fit.

If you’re curious for more, here’s our full guide on how to make suspenders.

How To Retrofit Your Trousers With Suspender Buttons

Red needle and thread on trousers with braces buttonsDo you have trousers you love that don’t take suspenders? We’ve been there…

You can take your trousers to a tailor and have them put brace buttons in.

Alternatively, you can just do this yourself with a few items and some determination.

If you would like to add suspender buttons to a pair of pants and are up for fun DIY project then check out our guide on how to retrofit your pants for suspenders. Enjoy!

Conclusion: Rules Around Wearing Suspenders

how-to-wear-braces

  • Never wear braces with a belt, ever. Under any circumstances. You’re better off with your pants falling down.
  • Never, ever, ever wear clip-on braces. Popular as these are with Disneyland’s Dapper Day, they are decidedly bush league. You’re a grown man, you can wear proper braces.
  • Your trousers’ waistband should be looser than you’re used to. This isn’t to say that you should be swimming in your pants, but to allow them to “float” with suspenders as they should, they needn’t be snug.

You can also access the rest of our suspender content by clicking any of the links below:

For more information on suits and the accessories that go with them, we invite you to visit our suiting home page.

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