How loose are your pants?

Are they so loose that you need to be double sure they don’t fall down? Braces hold your pants up, belts also hold your pants up. If you’re struggling with either, then you probably just need smaller pants.

I see this mistake all to often, and excuse my French but it is a major fashion faux pa – You thought I was gonna say fashion fuck up didn’t you? I would never : ) Locally there is a little joke which goes something like this “You know it’s a South African wedding when the groomsmen are wearing braces and a belt”. I mean, sure, it’s not that funny (at all actually) but it really drives home my point. Pick one guys, just one!

To avoid confusion, and to be clear, this rule applies to suspenders and braces alike. Yes, there is a difference, so let me show you what that is.


The images above shows a pair of braces. Braces attach to your pants with buttons and are usually made of leather or cloth. Dating all the way back to 18th Century France braces were an undergarment made of ribbon that attached to the buttonhole of your pants – sounds comfy.

Modern-day braces as we know them were designed in the 1820s’ by Albert Thurston as a way to keep your pants at an exacting height. High-waisted pants were the fashion of the day and unfortunately, belts just weren’t cutting it…or should I rather say, ‘belts were letting them down’. Heyyyooo. Bazinga!

It wasn’t till metal clasps were invented in 1894 that braces could be clipped on rather than buttoned. Not only did this mean that pants no longer had to come with buttons sewn in the waist but it also meant we would now get confused between braces and suspenders for the next 120 years.


The images above are suspenders. Suspenders are attached to your pants via a metal clip. This is unless of course, you are British. To the Brits, there is no distinction between the two and ‘suspenders’ are something ladies use to hold up their stockings. Go figure.

Either way, this little mancessory can bring a bold look to your outfit! I mean it did a hell of a job for Larry King right? I’m a big fan of going belt-less, but if your pants don’t fit you perfectly you just find yourself constantly pulling them up – This is where braces come in handy. Personally, I’m a big fan of braces, I just prefer the neatness of the button in variety – Pants don’t usually come with buttons sewn in anymore, but any tailor can sew a couple of buttons in quick stix. The best thing about braces is that they are mostly hidden and reveal a nice surprise when that jacket comes off. Like I always say…the devils in the details.

Now, don’t worry if you didn’t know the difference between braces and suspenders before reading this. Before writing it, I didn’t know the difference myself. In the end, I’m pretty sure you can get away with calling them either or, just please don’t wear them with a belt.

Okay. Stay fancy.

28 thoughts on “Braces or Belt, Never both

  1. That pinstriped suit is so nice man! I had no idea there was a difference between suspenders and braces, great to know! Really loving your blog posts. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much Kiersanii, glad you enjoyed the post and picked up some new information along the way!

  2. Awesome read! I’m forsure a belt guy but you rock the braces with style! Such a fresh suit selection

  3. As a tailor, it is a constant concern among regular suit wearers as towards if it’s appropriate to wear both at the same time. I always tell them pick one or the other. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is aware of this!

    1. I feel your pain Alejandro…glad there’s at least 2 of us out there driving the truth!! : )

  4. I learned so much from this blog post! Thank you for sharing!!! I really had no idea the difference between the two.

    1. Glad you found it use-full Myles, I think very few people know the difference and most will say that the terms are just regional – they may even be right! : )

  5. Glad to see braces are becoming popular again. They are much more comfortable and efficient than a belt! Just wish i had the guts to be seen in them!

    1. You dont need guts Joe, you just ned to not give a f*ck about what other people light say or think! It’s simpler than it sounds I promise : )

      1. This hot weather has meant that the world has now seen my braces, as it has been too warm to keep a jacket on, and the compliments I have received have more than offset the odd ribbing from my mates!

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  7. What do you think of the popular trend right now of wearing neither with your suit trousers? Creates sort of smug hip look to leave belt loops empty and pick out tie and perhaps pocket square to match suit.

    1. Personally, I love it! It’s one of my go to looks…in fact, I hardly ever wear a belt or braces to be honest!

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