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Suspenders Originally Were Ribbons And Considered Undergarments Not To Be Shown In Public

What do you wear when your pants are too high to support the use of a belt? When you have fantastically, almost comically huge pants like a clown, no mere strap of leather wrapped about your waist is going to do the job. Time for a formal party? Nothing says formal like a strapping pair of suspenders slung over your shoulder. Suspender’s day is the day to make sure the world remembers the fashion and handsomeness of the much maligned suspender.

  • Suspenders date back as far as 18th century France, where strips of ribbon were attached to buttonholes of trousers for one reason or another. Back then, suspenders were considered undergarments and were not meant to be seen in public.
  • In Europe, the first mention of suspenders appeared during the reign of Louis XIV. Suspenders looked like a sling for a sword and only much later were transformed into a trouser-supporting accessory.
  • The year is 1820, and an old idea is being cultivated into a new rendition. Albert Thurston was the man who brought this fashion sensation into the modern age.
  • Pants were high in the 1820s, so high that a belt was simply impractical, and so it was that a new solution was needed.
  • Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, hated suspenders.  Hated suspenders so much, in fact, that he invented and patented an alternate solution for keeping his pants up.  The patent was granted in December of 1871, for clasps. 
  • At the time, these suspenders were worn almost universally under a waistcoat. There was a shift to belts in the 1930s as the waistcoat went out of fashion.
  • Suspenders, also known as suit braces, are long strips of fabric worn over your shoulders with the purpose of holding up your trousers. They attach to your pants with either suspender clips or suspender buttons.
  • Some will argue that both clips and buttons are perfectly acceptable. Most suit pants still have interior buttons meant for attaching suspenders. However, for pants without suspender buttons, you can easily sew them in yourself (Here’s how! )
  • How Many Inches Wide Should My Suspender Straps Be?
    • 0.5″ – 1″ Trendy and Sartorially Daring
    • 1.25″ – 1.5″ Standard Width
    • 2″ Functional and heavy-duty
  • Suspenders add a dapper touch to any outfit, from your most casual ensembles to your white-tie attire. Just be sure that the suspenders’ fabric pairs well with the other fabrics you’re wearing and the overall formality of your outfit. If you’re wearing leather suspenders, it is a general rule that you should match these with your shoes. Suit jackets and overcoats go well with suspenders, but you should feel free to rock them sans cover.
  • Prior to WWI, the only known, accepted and loved apparatus for holding up one’s trousers was–you guessed it–a good ole pair of suspenders (also known as braces). Belts were basically only used for military uniforms as a decorative piece.
  • Throughout the 1920s suspenders became a sort of medical aid that doctors would prescribe for better posture and a slimmer gut. Suspenders continued to be considered undergarments until the late 1930s and early 1940s.
  • In the 1960s, working-class Brits adopted these accessories, combining suspenders with tight jeans that really didn’t need help staying in place.
  • Later, in the 1970s, working women in England and the US incorporated them into their wardrobes to achieve a sort of “unisex” look (think Annie Hall).
  • In the late 1980s, People magazine dubbed the trend of suspenders hanging from one’s waist to be a very “sensual” and fashion-forward look.

Sources:

Days of the Year

Bewooden

Faith Based Events

Ties

Smithsonian Magazine