Suspenders are a great element to be included in the sartorial arsenal of a well-dressed man and are the right accessory to make a statement of personal style. Not only are they a classic staple but they’ve made a comeback. In this complete guide, you will learn everything you need to know about how to wear suspenders and be the best-dressed person in the room.
The belt is a relatively recent invention, as in the period before the First World War, the preferred method to hold on pants was the use of suspenders, while the belts had definitely a more decorative role than functional.
Today, while some are still considered a relic of past times, the suspenders remain the preferred method to hold onto trousers by many men who love to take care of their dress.
Whether for a wedding, formal event or even a casual day at the office, suspenders are a versatile item in your wardrobe that many men are just waiting to wear.
The problem comes when it’s time to put them on. What color suspenders should you wear? Do you wear a belt with suspenders? How do you wear them without looking like a 1920’s gangster?
We’re here to show you. Let’s get started.
Invented in 1822 by Albert Thurston they were considered part of intimate clothing, and as such, they had to remain hidden, from vests, jackets and so on.
Today times have changed so you can now wear them with or without a jacket or vest. In fact, half of the charm is showing them off with an open jacket.
The straps are not all the same; they can be found in different materials, colors and patterns, so before adding them as a functional and style piece to your wardrobe, there are a few things to know and consider, and then make the right choice for you.
How to Wear Suspenders: Buttons vs. Clips
Some suspenders have what’s called “whiskers” of the eyelets to be hooked to the buttons of the trousers, and others that have, instead, clips that are fixed by pinching the waistline of the trousers.
For an intimate occasion or formal wear, you should try to wear suspenders that can be fastened with buttons.
It gives more of an elegant look compared to those with clips. You definitely need a pair of trousers that have buttons in this particular area, which is why most men wear clips. They’re easier to adapt to whatever pair of pants they have in the closet.
Clips are an easier and casual choice and depending on the type of clips you can still pull off a semi-formal attire. Also, keep in mind there are suspenders that have both interchangeable options, clips, and eyelets.
Easy to wear and remove.
They can ruin the fabric of the trousers.
Not always appropriate for business, elegant and formal clothing.
Always elegant and appropriate, regardless of the occasion.
The appropriate buttons in the trousers are required.
Normally the buttons are inside the pants but on jeans and chinos can also be placed outside for a more relaxed look. Note that originally the buttons were always placed outside the pants, and were hidden by the waistcoats.
Not all trousers are designed to hook to a pair of suspenders, but we have an awesome method to show you where you can easily transform any pair of trousers with belt loops to hook onto suspenders.
Size of the Risers: Skinny vs. Wide
The straps are an accessory, and like all the accessories it will be important to keep them proportionate to their physical structure.
Men with a large thorax will need wider suspenders, more minute men with less wide suspenders.
Consider that the very thin suspenders, while they can work well on a certain type of trendy clothing, are useless in terms of function. The wider suspenders in addition to supporting the trousers well, give a stronger and more powerful appearance.
Choosing an intermediate measure may be the best option.
Also, consider the length according to your height. Normally, the straps have metal length adjusters, but if you are taller than 190 cm, you may need to use standard oversized suspenders.
Choose Your Suspender Material
The straps are available in different materials: from elastic fibers to grosgrain, silk and even leather.
Those in elastic fibers allow greater and better adjustment in length while the others are a bit ‘less flexible, not to mention those in leather that allow very little adjustment.
As a first step, I advise you to do some practice with the traditional elastic that can be worn on most occasions and therefore very versatile.
The straps can be in leather or fabric in different colors. Be careful to match the color of the leather to the color of your shoes, and that the color of the fabric harmonizes with the rest of the outfit.
Colors and Patterns for your Suspenders
There are no limits to the colors and patterns you will find, especially in recent times that are used more as an accessory of personal style than for an effective function.
When choosing the color, always think about the occasion when you have to wear them and the colors of the outfit you will wear.
If the colors you wear are mostly neutral, like beige, white, blue, and gray, you will not have big problems combining a pair of brightly colored suspenders.
There are some colors and patterns suitable for business or for elegant clothing and other totally casual. Usually, stripes and polka dots in classic colors are a very versatile choice, while unusual patterns will be better in casual situations.
When you wear suspenders with patterns, make sure that they are different in size from those of the shirt (if the shirt is not in a solid color). For example large lines on small lines. The rule also applies when the patterns are different, for example, stripes and polka dots.
Off the Belt?
Do you wear a belt with suspenders? Absolutely not. Here’s why:
Although it is acceptable to wear the straps on trousers with belt loops (although for a more sophisticated look, without belt loops is better), it is absolutely not tolerated to wear suspenders with a belt. “How do you trust a man wearing a belt and suspenders? A man who does not even trust his own trousers “(Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West)
If done right, your suspenders will always hold up your pants. Also, it helps to make sure your trousers are fitted in the waist and not baggy. Baggy pants with suspenders look sloppy.
Choose your shape – Y or X Suspenders?
The shape of the shoulder straps is presented in two different styles in the part that attaches behind you. They can be Y-shaped, when the two bands are joined in the middle back, forming only one) or X-shaped (when the bands fall down crossing)
Y suspenders: they are more formal, and perfect for business suits, semi-formal, or formal occasions.
X suspenders: they are more casual, robust, suitable for work clothing (intended as heavy work). These are mostly found with clips.
If you can always go for the Y shaped suspenders. These are very stylish and come with a variety of patterns and fabrics. The X shaped suspenders are usually worn when working in a job that requires hard, usually manual, labor. These are usually not suitable for any formal event.
DIY – Make any Pair of Pants Perfect for Suspenders
The Y model will be the one we’re focusing on now to see how to turn a normal pair of trousers into suspenders. This method is for trousers that do not have the buttons attached to them on the outside. As well as those who prefer to wear clip suspenders instead of those that attach with buttons (or whiskers).
There are precise techniques for attaching buttons to trousers for suspenders, but consider that standard techniques may not be suitable for everyone, as they may not work on big or minute physicals, so it’s best to adjust for a nice look, rather than follow the perfect technique.
So we start from the idea that the straps should be placed in the middle of your back, pass comfortably on the shoulders and go down in a straight line until the hooking with the buttons,
- 6 buttons
- a thread of the color of the trousers
- scissors and pins
Spread the pants on a table, open them so that you have the inside back in front of you and place the buttons on the sides of the internal central seam (about 4 cm distant from each other) so that they are symmetrical and central to the height of the waistline of the trousers.
Once the two buttons are fastened, fasten your straps and wear them.
At this point, pass the shoulder straps on your shoulders and let them go straight in on your torso.
With the help of a partner, partner, wife, mother, etc. make a pin the optimal point for you where the front buttons will be positioned., bearing in mind that the straps should go down parallel and should not be too close or too far apart.
Attach the buttons first on one side and then specularly on the other making sure that the buttons keep the same distance and height on both sides.
If this seems a little too DIY for you, there are plenty of places that sell pants that have a place for suspenders. Also using the suspenders with clips is not a deal-breaker either.
Suspenders with Business Wear
Using suspenders in the workplace is also the perfect way to show your style and personality; depending on the look as they can be used to create various personalities like the serious, authoritative, playful, or creative imagination. Suspenders are also an excellent addition to your cocktail attire. Check out our Cocktail Attire for Men guide to give you a few examples of how cocktail attire and suspenders can go hand in hand.
Selecting the right pair of suspenders to wear at work depends largely on the type of work, your position, and the dress code to follow.
Opt for suspenders in a fun color or pattern. This is not only playful (perfect for creative work), but also great for a flash of color that will surprise you when you take off your jacket.
Try the ones below.
If you are in an authoritative position that recalls respect you will always need an elegant and powerful appearance and the suspenders will be a great addition to your business wardrobe.
For an authoritative look, match your blue or gray tailored suit with a pair of suspenders in classic color and motif or totally contrasting like red or yellow.
Suspenders with Casual Wear
With casual clothing, you can only let your imagination go. Wear it on a denim shirt and a pair of chinos (now that you know how to attach the buttons 🙂 Or with dark blue jeans and a checked shirt.
If you have a shirt with a very obvious pattern, keep it as simple as possible, if you wear a sober outfit then you can blow up the colors and patterns you like the most.
For a decidedly preppy look, wear striped suspenders with the Bermudas. White, blue or seersucker, white shirt with rolled-up sleeves and slip-on.
Leather suspenders would also work very well in a casual environment.
Note: Pants should not be low-waisted unless you want to look like someone who is making a desperate attempt not to lose them on the way.
The straps are a great accessory, knowing how to choose and wear them in the right way will make you feel at ease, safe and in selection.
Suspenders We Recommend (H2): JJ Suspenders
Because we love suspenders so much we take them a little more seriously than most. In our opinion suspenders should always be high quality, stylish and dependable. After all, if these are supposed to keep your pants from falling the last thing you want is a clip to loosen or a button to fall off.
The suspenders made by JJ Suspenders are very high quality and they look amazing. We never worry about if they’ll fall apart and they’ll last you for a very long time. They have all different styles and elegant patterns. From skinny to leather. Check them out below:
We do receive commissions on our recommendations through the amazon affiliate program.
Also, we have an amazing deal on a box full of accessories that include a pair of suspenders. Check out our Top Shelf Box here.