I am going to start this off with the golden rule of suspenders. Don't wear a belt!
First off, it's redundant. Second, it's unflattering and third, it's redundant. No good can come from wearing suspenders and a belt at the same time - it's just plain wrong.
Now let's get to the good stuff...questions like: Suspenders are appropriate for which occasions? What are the right type of suspenders? Are there different ways to wear suspenders? X or Y back?
Last question first: We say Y-back. Because Y-back suspenders are considered more up-to-date and on-trend. The top choice of suspender aficionados.
Now that the X vs Y back is settled. Let's start with the types of suspenders.
Style: Business and Formal
Required: Buttons - trousers, pants or jeans that have six rounded buttons hidden along the inside of the waistband for the suspender's loops to button onto. Where are the buttons? In the back, they are located on the inside of the waistband, about 2 ½ to 3 inches apart, 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches on each side of the center seam - and 1" below the top of the waistband. In the front you will find them inside the waistband about an inch down from the top and 2" apart. If there are no buttons - don't panic. A tailor will know the correct placement and techniques for adding suspender buttons to your pants for under $20. If you're buying un-hemmed trousers, just ask the tailor to add the buttons when hemming your pants. If you intend to wear only suspenders with your trousers you can ask the tailor to remove the belt loops. This will give the pants a much cleaner & sophisticated look.
Required: trousers, pants, jeans, city shorts. Clip-on suspenders are more versatile but definitely more casual. Clip them in the back middle of the waistband, pull them over your shoulders, attach the remaining clips to the front-waistband. Easy – clip them on and go!
But now you're thinking "But, how do I choose the right width?" There really is not a right width so much as a scale: the skinnier the suspender, the more casual the look. Subtle changes in width can dramatically impact the look. At the wider end of the spectrum, suspenders become classic, and ultimately, formal.
Thin or Wide Suspenders
Thin 'skinny' suspenders, like our Chestnut-Brown Leather Suspenders or our Jet Set Skinny Suspenders, offer up a more trendy and casual appearance. These .75" wide 'Skinny' suspenders can be worn with khakis or jeans and a dress shirt, a t-shirt or over a slim-fitting sweater. Elevating a casual outfit that can be worn out on date night or a night out, streetwear, office casual; even casual weddings. For versatility in fitting keep this in mind -- leather suspenders have a front strap that can be loosened or tightened just like a belt: via a buckle and holes.
Classic 'modern' suspenders like our Autumn Harvest Classic Suspenders, allow for more versatility. Casual to dressy, these 1.15" wide 'modern' suspenders can be worn with dress pants; a suit or tux; nice jeans or khakis. Neither skinny enough to be hugely casual, nor wide enough to be considered formal, these "Goldilocks" suspenders are perfect for t-shirts & khakis or jeans (casual); dress shirt & dress pants (less casual). Wear these to work, weddings (perfect for your groomsmen) or cocktail parties.
Formal 'traditional' suspenders, like these Royal Sapphire Formal Suspenders, send the message that you’re in charge. These 1.5" wide classic 'traditional' suspenders are dressy, classy, and formal. Perfect for red carpet events, business settings, weddings and formal occasions. Be sure to pair your suspenders with a quality shirt. For formal events in general, french cuffs are always a great choice. Add some eye catching cufflinks to your look to finish it off.
Let's Button This Up (did you see what I did there?)
A quick search on the internet will bring you a ton of suspender articles to help you hone your suspender skills. Just remember, suspenders that come with clips allow most pants or shorts in your closet to be suspender-friendly. Suspenders with buttons require more up front work, but are generally a more traditional/dressy look. Whichever way you go with suspenders, you're making a style statement that is part of a great looking trend that continues to gather momentum.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on suspenders. Tell us what you've learned in the comments below.