Right, so something you may not be so familiar with, the suspender. It’s believed that they were first invented in 1820, however there are multiple precursors as to where they first began. 1820, when men would wear trousers just shy of their nipples, back then a belt just simply wouldn’t suffice. Heavily made due to the weight of the leather, and the bulks metal hooks/buttons.
We saw a dramatic decrease in the popularity of the suspender due to military men becoming more accustomed to their uniform belts as they were much more practical in the war. However, braces were still worn throughout the early 1900’s by predominantly upper class families, and royals, woven intricately with delicate patterns.
Interesting fact, suspenders actually began as little more than underwear. Of course as fashion moved forwards, the suspender is now worn as an outer layer, seen nowadays as a casual accessory to a pair of chinos.
‘It is from the shoulders, and from the shoulders only, that all garments should be hung’ – Oscar Wilde, 1884. When it comes to holding up your trousers there is no match to the suspender. As we all know, and have woefully witnessed, your waistline, and so your trouser waist will expand during the day. We’ve all had a heavy lunch, or gone out for an evening meal, and felt the need to adjust our belts, taking it back one hole. One of the biggest bonuses to suspenders is that you never need to adjust them; they adjust themselves. Being able to stretch to the perfect height, and allowing plenty of circulation around the waist.
Soon enough, the 20th century hit, and with that we saw the decline of the suspenders. The belt as military uniform grew from strength to strength in popularity across the world. It was seen as an essential accompaniment to the war hero for multiple reasons, longevity, practicality, and strength. There were no buttons to possibly fall off when the strap of a suspender gets snagged. There are no slim straps that could get caught in the battlefield.
In terms of fashion, especially in the area of more conservative, formal wear, the belt will succeed the suspender. Saying that, there are alternative ways a belt can be used, where a suspender simply wouldn’t suffice, demonstrated by non other than the male protagonist Mr Grey…
Right so let’s bring this to a close, I really do recommend adding a pair of suspenders to your wardrobe. OK so maybe not necessarily for an interview or a formal meeting, but possibly to spruce up a Saturday drinks outfit or to pull out the bag at special occasions. One thing to remember, never wear a belt, and suspenders at the same time, they will counteract and damage each other, the belts will be weighing the trousers down, whilst the suspenders are desperately trying to keep them up.
Perhaps a more adventurous addition to your wardrobe, but nevertheless, one that we see as something that can really give off a more unique vibe to an outfit.
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