Getting creative with your fashion choices is landmine-ridden territory these days, with fashion snobs at one moment telling you to run out and buy a fedora and then the next turning up their nose and saying “that’s so yesterday,” often barely months apart.
Update: We wrote an in-depth article on wearing suspenders with jeans. Check it out now and learn how to look awesome by wearing jeans with suspenders.
If it were left up to us to just decide what to wear based on whim, we’d probably try just about anything, but then you have to worry about coming across as too try-hard, or even worse, being labeled a hipster.
One clothing item men sometime feel cautious around due to possible hipster connotations is the suspenders, otherwise known as braces. So let’s take a pause – can non-hipsters still pull off this fashion accessory?
In a word, yes.
The Straight Talk on Suspenders for Men
Admittedly, it’s shaky ground, but suspenders can still be worn with style and finesse if you do it the right way. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it.
For instance, certain fashion staples and accessories are seen as outdated or overwhelmingly hipster. Some examples include big-framed glasses, fedoras, unique scarves, and…suspenders.
You wouldn’t want to pile all these items together on your bed and compose an outfit from them. That would indeed be hipster. But these items have all been around far longer than the hipster movement and the hipsters that wear them; they don’t lay claim to every fashion item they touch.
If you want to pull these items off, use them as they’re meant to be used, as unique complements to otherwise ordinary outfits.
When Do Suspenders Make the Cut?
Obviously, braces are a rather formal fashion statement and will usually be worn in formal or semi-formal situations.
When worn with a formal jacket, they should not show at all and are just meant to keep your outfit in place and looking crisp. In situations that don’t call for a jacket, or don’t demand one, try them with a pair of nice black trousers and a white cotton shirt.
Of course, some guys go all out and wear suspenders with jeans or more casual pants, breaking out the patterns to add some flair. It’s possible to pull this off, but keep in mind you’re now wandering into the territory of stereotypes you might be better off avoiding it they don’t fit your image.
In other words, someone can pull off braces in just about every situation; the question is are you that someone?
How To Wear Suspenders
To put your braces on, first attach them to the back of your pants. Then put the pants on, pulling your suspenders over your shoulders and clasping, or buttoning if you have button-flaps, in the front. Which is better – clips or buttons? Well, the clips can damage your trousers over time, but not all trousers come with buttons, so while the buttons are seen as higher-quality, the suspenders with clips do offer more versatility.
Oh, and feel free to rock your suspenders even when not wearing a jacket or shirt. While they were originally meant to be worn as underwear, it’s standard fare to show them off now.
Do You Wear a Belt With Suspenders?
Absolutely not! Though doing so is a great way to look silly if that’s the look you’re after…
Suspenders are an alternative to a belt, and in fact were the original means of holding up pants. In addition, they’re more comfortable than belts because they don’t cinch around the waist when sitting or throw off the natural form of your pants. Finally, they allow you to wear your pants at your natural waist or, indeed, wherever you want, as you can adjust the length as needed.
So a great option instead of a belt, but don’t do both…ever.
- Keep in mind that suspenders have been embraced by punks and skinheads, and thus certain styles come with connotations you’re better off without. The best way to get around this is avoid anything too wild when picking out your colors and patterns. It’s okay to express yourself, but keep it somewhat subdued.
- Suspenders are more likely to snag than a belt and can even break. This may take some getting used to.
- Replace old suspenders when they lose their elasticity, as they can give a sagging, deflated look to your trousers.
Braces offer a timeless, masculine look that men with less fashion confidence can’t even touch. Try it for yourself, and you’ll know by the compliments whether its working or not.
Image Credits: Sergio Delgado / Alejandro De La Cruz / Flickr