A Brief History of Men’s Braces
Posted on July 12 2018
Today we want to talk about braces, otherwise known across the pond as ‘suspenders’ (and certainly not to be confused with the variety commonly worn with stockings). Though worn today as more of a fashion statement than an essential, here we uncover the history of braces.
The original purpose of braces was to hold up trousers
That’s because trousers were cut differently than they are today and needed to be held in place. Centuries ago in France, the original braces were created from strips of fabric tied in place, which rapidly became the norm across Europe and the rest of the world as French fashion trends travelled through the continents.
It wasn’t until 1820 when braces became commercially available in Britain. Albert Thurston started manufacturing them as we might recognise them today, made in leather and designed to support trousers as an item of underwear.
It was considered indecent to show your braces in public
As underwear, braces were not meant for public show and would have been hidden under clothing, usually a waistcoat. This didn’t change until the 20th century when braces changed to become a stylish emblem of social class and became more prominent and visible in their appearance.
This trend was subverted in the 1960’s when working-class British men would adopt the wearing of braces with jeans, not because they needed keeping in place but as a statement against social attitudes and the class system at the time.
Women jumped onto this trend in the 1970’s and began wearing braces themselves to create a unisex look that echoed their feminist fight for equal pay and rights. Since then, fashion designers have taken braces as an accessory to make a style statement.
These days braces are available in a wide range of styles
Worn as an accessory, braces today are still long straps of fabric like the original invention but are attached with clips or buttons. The actual design can vary from an “X”, “Y” or “H” shape depending on preference and how much support is needed, although you’ll seldom find the “H” design anywhere except for a fireman’s uniform.
The thickness of the straps depends on the look you’re going for, and the trousers you’ll be wearing the braces with. Aiming for a mid-range width of 1.25 to 1.5” is a wise choice. Thicker widths are generally best for men of a bigger build or trousers made from heavier fabric.
The great thing about braces is that you can wear them with just about anything
Suit and a tie? No problem, just stick to a slim width and buttons rather than clips. You could always take your fashion statement further by opting for a bow tie.
Just be sure to never wear a belt and braces at the same time, that look isn’t a good one and is more of a fashion mistake than a statement. What do you like to wear braces with? Drop us a comment below and let us know how you rock the look!
- How to Wear and Care for a Linen Shirt
- Shirt Collar Types Plus Who should and How to Wear Them!
- What to Wear For Men Spring 2021
- The Three Types of White Shirt Everyone Should Own!
- how to stay focused, professional and productive while working from home.
- Is it acceptable to wear a short sleeve shirt for business?
- Why pink is proving to be a popular choice in menswear
- How to overcome that office stress by working out at your desk
- The Most Popular Menswear Colours For Spring and Summer 2019
- Suit wearing rules you really should follow
- How Adaptive Clothing Is Making Fashion More Accessible
- 7 Menswear Trends Set to Dominate in 2019
- 7 Types of Trouser Every Man Should Own
- A Gentleman’s Glossary to Buying a Suit
- Sweater style – how to wear knitwear well
- What to wear to the office Christmas party this year
- Why you should be comfortable with cardigans this winter
- How to Wear White Jeans the Right Way
- 8 Essential Items Every Man Should Have in His Wardrobe
- 4 things to consider when buying a shirt
- What to wear with a black shirt
- Discover the best jackets on the High Street this Autumn and Winter 2018
- 5 Autumn Winter Fashion Trends to Wear in 2018/19
- 3 Hacks for Looking Sharp as a Shorter Gentleman
- Slim fit or regular? Which one should you choose when it comes to buying a suit?
- Linen shirts vs cotton – which is better this summer
- Everyman’s Guide to Wearing Tailored Separates
- Wedding Suits and How They Started
- A Brief History of Men’s Braces
- What’s the best way to care for my bespoke shirt?
- How to wear a blazer this summer
- The remarkable history of the necktie
- Summer shoes and how to wear them
- Top Tips for Staying Cool in the Office this Summer
- This Summer’s Big Shirt Trend – Vertical Stripes
- How to wear a checked shirt with style
- A gentleman’s guide to organising his wardrobe
- How to wear a short-sleeved shirt well this summer
- Formal Dress Codes Revealed – what they really mean
- The Denim Jacket – for the casual smart look this summer
- Why every man should own at least one Oxford shirt
- Suit colour combinations that work
- From field to shirt – explaining the cotton industry
- Nanotechnology – the future of modern clothing
- The impact of social media on menswear
- 21st Century Office Wear - have we seen the last of the three-piece suit?
- How to get the most mileage out of your shoes
- The gender differences of shirts and suits
- From Nightgowns to Business Wear – the Interesting History of the Humble Shirt
- Upcoming Fashion Trends for Spring/Summer 2018
- best white shirts
- home working attire
- top tips for working from home
- what to wear on zoom meetings
- what to wear when working from home
- working from home