Turn back the clock 20 years. This ain’t no Urkel shit and you don’t have to be a member of a Polka club – suspenders are pretty snazzy these days. Jazz up your suit Bublé style or get a hip, over the shoulder grip on your trousers to add that touch of flair to your fashion. There’s swagger in the suspender, young sires.
Though the first use of suspenders can be traced back to 18th century France, suspenders originally came into use (not fashion) in the 1820s when British designer Albert Thurston began to manufacture “braces”, as they were known in England, to suit the high-waisted slacks of the day. These trousers were so high, in fact, that a traditional belt could not keep them from falling down.
According to a 2010 article in Time Magazine, suspenders were historically considered a “risqué” undergarment. A town in Long Island, New York went as far as to try and ban men from wearing them without a waistcoat, calling it “sartorial indecency”.
Though suspenders don’t currently carry such racy connotations, there are schools of thought that would place these banded beauties into two distinct categories.
Jack Livingston has been sporting suspenders since the ‘60s and will always remain the most stylishly strapped gentleman that I know. When I first quizzed him on his propensity to port these pant-holders his immediate answer was short and simple.
“They work!” he said with a familiar chuckle. “On a practical basis, my ass is so small that a belt literally won’t hold up my pants. And they do add a little dash to your wardrobe”.
Though obesity rates might beg to differ, perhaps it’s shrinking posterior girth’s that has lead to the resurgence in the suspender? More likely, however, it’s just one of those delightful accessorial touches that one can use to spark up a dress suit or enhance an everyday outfit.
“Aesthetically speaking suspenders create cleaner lines,” says Sydney Mamane of Sydney’s on Queen West. “Once you have a jacket on you don’t see that critical separation that you have with a belt. And trousers that tend to accommodate suspenders don’t have belt loops so it’s an even cleaner line”.
Bond fans will note Daniel Craig’s draw to suspenders – and there’s hardly a slicker stud in the movie biz. If you’re looking to exemplify a more laid back look, the likes of Gosling, Tatum and Kutcher have been known to get hooked along with their denim and a pair of sneaks.
Even the gals are getting into suspenders, taking that formerly nebbish accessory and making it mega sexy. But let’s not forget gents – as Jack made sure to mention to me – suspenders are as much a piece of machinery as anything.
They can replace your dog’s leash, act as a spare bungee cord, and perhaps most importantly, “When women are in a mischievous mood they’re known to pull on them”.
So lead yourself (and the ladies) into the next generation of suspended style and cop yourself the coolest pair of braces you’ve ever owned. Your only as strapping as your suspenders suggest.