The Well-Rounded Gent: Suspenders 101

Pablo Griff in Suspenders

One of the questions we get regularly from Chubstr readers is “Can I wear suspenders?” My friend – you are in luck. Suspenders aren’t just for Larry King, your Grandpa, and your financial services provider anymore. Many younger men are discovering the benefits of braces, and how they can integrate them into some of their looks.Today, we’ll take that a step further and discuss why suspenders might just be a big man’s new best friend.

As a larger man, wearing a belt can be a pain. Literally. They’re either too tight or too loose, and if you’re carrying most of your weight in your belly, the waist of your pants probably hangs lower than it would on a gent of less stature. Because of this, many of us have gotten used to life with uncomfortable belts, or we just skip them entirely, sometimes with dire consequences (click with caution – thar be arse here). You know what I’m talking about, right? Well, it might be time to consider suspenders.


Why Wear Suspenders?

Pants aren’t supposed to sit as low as we wear them. Suspenders get your waistband back to where they need to be without slicing you in half like a belt does.

Suspenders are an easy way to class up your look. With most outfits, it’s all about the details. Adding suspenders gives you a more unique look, and makes you stand out from the crowd. You (generally) look more put together when you wear them.

They’re slimming…if you care about that sort of thing. According to GQ , the vertical lines created by a pair of braces are slimming. If you’re going for slimming, we’d probably recommend you stay away from skinny suspenders and the like.

If you’re going for a vintage look, suspenders help you sell it. Your Dad’s Dad’s Dad was probably wearing suspenders back in the day, and though they’re in style again, they are a nod to a simpler time when men generally dressed more awesomely. Whether you’re a dandy, a punk rocker (1974 is vintage, right??), or a mountain man, you can find suspenders that’ll help complete your old school look.


How Should A Big Guy Wear Suspenders?

Any damn way you please! Well, you’re reading The Well-Rounded Gent because you want tips, right? Here are a few:

  • Choose a type. In general, you’ll find two types of suspenders: button and alligator clip. Button suspenders are a bit more formal, and they require that you have buttons on the inside of your pants for them to connect to. You can always buy the buttons and have them sewn in to your pants. Alligator clip suspenders generally have shiny metal clips at the end that clamp onto the waist of your pants.
  • Color coordinate. You (probably) know how to put together a look, but it might be confusing to figure out what you match your suspenders to. I’ve always heard that you match them to your shoes. To be sure, we spoke with professionals at Brooks Brothers and Ted Baker, and were given two different answers. The verdict? Match your suspenders to your shoes, pants, or jacket – depending upon your preference.
  • Size certainly matters. Many types of braces come in one specific size (normally a 46, which fits many types of people), so you might not have been aware that there are options out there. Sizes are based on height, and you’ll generally find them between 42 inches and 52. Here’s a handy guide to help you find the right size.

Where Can I Buy Suspenders?

Loren Wears SuspendersThere are a ton of shops selling a variety of styles of braces – certainly, you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs. Here are a few places to search first:
  • Nordstrom: You’ll find a small, but varied collection of suspenders to choose from.
  • Trafalgar Big & Tall Suspenders: The selection here is a bit more classic, but the sizes are perfect for big guys.
  • American Apparel: Love ’em or hate ’em, they’ve got a small selection of ridiculously colorful 80’s throwback braces that’ll help you create your own unique look.
  • Topman: We like the variety that Topman has to offer, as well as their decent prices. Definitely worth a look.
  • Destination XL: You’ll find simple, quality suspenders at big & tall men’s store, Destination XL. The selection is small (choose from 6 options), but don’t let that stop you from taking a look.

Are you going to take the plunge and switch to suspenders? Do you have any tips for big guys who want to wear them? Tell us in the comments below!

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