Style Debate: Suspenders

Style Debate: Suspenders

Published on

April 2, 2014


Dela Dem

‘Classic’ style never gets old, or so they say.  What worked then will work now.  However, there are certain aspects of old men’s fashion that should be avoided regardless of how dapper they appear in old photographs or magazine illustrations.  Detachable shirt collars, for example, are style statements the modern FashionMR can do without.  For a greater dilemma, however, we must dwell on whether it is still appropriate for men to wear suspenders to hold up their pants.  Suspenders never really went away, and of late they’ve enjoyed something of a resurgence, but are they a fashion statement the new FashionMR needs to make?

First, let us clarify that there is one situation where suspenders, or braces, will always be required: black tie.  The tuxedo has barely changed since its invention in the Victorian Age, and its classic trappings have always included black silk suspenders to hold up the trousers.  We don’t believe in being stodgy, so we support innovation and experimentation in almost every category of men’s dress.  The tuxedo, however, is special.  It is a classic precisely because it makes every man look good, and because it continues to do so, it above all other forms of dress should remain constant.  Therefore, we always recommend suspenders with black tie.

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What about less formal occasions, such as the office?  Everyone who has seen Wall Street recalls Gordon Gekko standing behind his desk, brightly colored suspenders stretched over his shoulders as he manipulates the market with his cell phone.  Suspenders were a prominent feature of the power suit in the 1980’s, but they fell by the wayside in the 90’s as business dress grew more casual.  Today, suspenders have regained some popularity as a business choice, but they have also reclaimed some very old territory as a casual accessory.  Like the men of the 19th Century, certain gentlemen today will wear their pants with suspenders instead of a belt.  This can look awkward on pants with a modern cut, because modern pants sit at a gentleman’s hips.  Old trousers were cut higher, sitting at a man’s natural waist, which made fastening them with a belt impractical.

Thus, suspenders were of old a necessity, not a choice.  We say you should take that hint when deciding whether to wear them yourself.  If you have modern pants that sit at your hips, we strongly suggest wearing them with a belt as you have probably always done.  Your modern cut trousers probably don’t have the buttons to fasten suspenders anyway, and clip-on suspenders have a haphazard quality to them that is unbecoming.  If you happen to own one or more pairs of high-cut pants, however, you are more than welcome to wear them with suspenders; in fact, it’s probably better off that you do.

wearing suspenders_FashionMR

Style Debate: Suspenders

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