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A note from the field


Aug 22, 2018

Louis Antonio Orefice wears Smart Turnout Household Division Braces whilst enjoying Coffee

Pictured: Household Division Braces (Ph: LouisAntonioOrefice)

First manufactured in the early 1820s by British designer Albert Thurston, braces (suspenders) were created to accommodate the men’s fashion du jour of truly high-waisted trousers. At the time, fashion was adjusting in response to the French Revolution and reacting against the disdain of excessive wealth. As such, men’s trousers were starting to be tailored with a longer leg and looser fit. Belts were no longer of use for holding up these garments, thus creating the need for braces or suspenders. Doctors in the early 20th century even used to prescribe practising “posture, exercise, and the wearing of suspenders”.

The accessory was first patented in the United States by the acclaimed author Mark Twain and remained hugely popular, never disappearing from the gentleman’s wardrobe over the following two centuries. Instead, braces have constantly been re-purposed, resurfacing in popular culture when worn by the likes of Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, or Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

For any who ever feel hesitant about embracing braces, we are going to demonstrate how seamlessly they can complete a look, whether for work, a wedding, or Windsor racecourse.

Brace Yourself for the Everyday

A gentleman will always prefer braces over a belt: they are the definitive choice when looking to add a touch of colour to your shirt and trousers or for the perfect complement to your jacket and tie. They hark back to a time of suave sophistication, yet remain a contemporary wardrobe staple; part of ensuring their modernity, however, comes in choosing the superlative colour or pattern. You can choose to match your braces to your trousers, your socks, your wallet, or even to act in contrast with your other garments. Braces are a great opportunity for you to be creative and to add a degree of individuality to your casual wear.

steven d elliot of genuine mens magazine wearing smart turnout royal fusiliers braces

Pictured: Royal Fusiliers Braces (Ph: @StevenDElliott)

Regardless of whether you are at home, at work, or out and about, braces should effortlessly elevate your style.

How To Put On Suspenders

Suspenders are often associated with being tricky to put on and may deter some gentlemen from using them as a wardrobe staple. However, that reputation is unfairly deserved, below our short guide will tell you not only how to put on suspenders but how to feel comfortable and style them appropriately.

First – A few rules of thumb:

  1. Never wear braces and a belt;
  2. Never wear with slim-fit trousers, as this renders the braces redundant;
  3. Always leave a little comfort room;
Putting On Your Suspenders

Now to the important part, how to put on your suspenders. At first glance the format of braces can seem quite daunting, but look a little closer and the process is rather simple. The first thing to note is that there are two types of brace attachments. Firstly you have a clip fastening, a slightly newer method and firm favourite for those looking for a quick fix. Next, you have a button fastening, these can be notoriously tricky to attach, but when perfected give a real old school look that is very dapper indeed.

Clip Method:

We shall start with the clip method first. The great thing about suspenders is that they have plenty of give and ours are also adjustable, allowing you room for growth and movement. As with all braces you will need to start from the back, you will want to position the clips adjacent to your two back belt loops. This will give you the optimal brace distance for a comfortable fit. You must now bring the two frontal brace fastenings over your shoulders and ensure that they sit vertically and parallel down the front of your chest. Pull the front of the clip up to open the clip and then pull this down snuggly ready for attachment. You can now fasten the clip. There are two options for this and it is entirely personal preference. The first option is that you clip the clip to the waistband of your trousers, avoiding the belt, or alternatively, you can actually clip the clip to your belt depending on the desired look. Adjust to your desired fit, and voila, that is how you attach your clip suspenders.

Button Method:

On to the button method, now, most trousers do not come with suspender buttons already attached and this is what makes this method significantly more tricky than the clip fastening. This method takes commitment of sorts, but once you have got your trousers ready you are set for good. If your trousers of choice do not already have suspender buttons in place you will need to sew these on yourself. Our braces come with one button fastening at the back and two button fastenings at the front – this will be pivotal when marking your sewing points.

Firstly, search out the centre seam in your chosen pants and use this as a reference point. Measure 1 inch either side of this line and draw a mark on either side (we recommend chalk as this will wash out from the fabric.) This will give you a nice overall distance of 2 inches, a perfect distance for the attachment. For the frontal markings you will need to draw 2 markings (as you did with the back) 2 inches apart, just above your hip bone, repeat this to the right and left of the zipper. Now you are ready to sew. We recommend sewing your buttons on the inside of your trousers, this give a much more chic and formal overall look. You will need 6 plain, flat buttons before you can start sewing. Sew each one individually atop of the chalk markings you have made. Start by threading the the needle through the trousers and then thread the needle through the hole on the front of your button. Next, loop it through the second hole in your button and back through the pant. Continue this until the button is secure. Once all buttons are in place you are ready to go. Follow the same rules as stated for the clip on method, the buttons should fit nicely through the attachment holes on your suspenders.

Don’t forget at Smart Turnout, we sell both button and clip fastenings, so whatever your preference, we have you covered.

Getting Comfortable

Regarding comfort room, braces are also the flattering choice. Braces allow you to hold up your trousers whilst floating your natural waist, rather than underlining or emphasising your gut in the way that a belt might. Moreover, for those men whose weight has a tendency to fluctuate, choosing suspenders can save many a trip to the tailors.

Follow the doctor’s orders by improving your posture and your wardrobe. With your new braces, you will easily become the classiest man around.

Smart Turnout Princess Louise Braces and Savant Rose Gold Watch

Princess Louise’s Braces

Savant Watch Rose White Princess Louise Edition

The Perfect Finishing Touch

Not only for the everyday, braces are an essential addition to any gentleman’s evening wear. They hark back to a more traditional era, back when belts were mere decorative ribbon. As such, braces provide the ideal finishing touch to your formalwear.

For instance, you could easily add our Royal Artillery braces to your suit: they offer a rich band of colour and can be used to complement anything from your tie or pocket square to your wallet or partner’s attire. To complete your classic style and solidify your fashionable status, accompany the braces with our matching Military watch.

Royal Artillery Braces and Military Watch by Smart Turnout

Royal Artillery Braces

Military Watch Royal Artillery Delivery

Braces to the Races

Finally, whether off to Epsom or Royal Ascot, a trip to the races requires the most attractive of accessories. Attempting to follow in the style footsteps of Hollywood icons and the Royal family may feel daunting, but you can be sure that braces are a critical component to blending in, and standing out, at the racecourse. For those in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, braces are just as critical as a vintage silk top hat.

Smart Turnout’s choice:

We at Smart Turnout would recommend our Royal Regiment of Scotland braces. They are the ideal width to complement your morning suit and have an elastic insert to provide comfort and flexibility. To round out the look, why not add one of our Master Watches.

Smart Turnout Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces and Master Watch Black

Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces

Master Watch Rose Gold Black Oak Edition

We hope you have enjoyed reading our post and have learnt something about how to put on suspenders, with some added history thrown in.


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