How to Wear Suspenders | Everything You Need to Know

suspenders on man with vintage fashion outfit example

Written by Tanya Zhang


History of Suspenders

Suspenders, also known as braces, have a rich history dating back centuries. Initially a practical accessory for holding up trousers, suspenders gained popularity in the 20th century as a fashion statement. They experienced a resurgence in the 1920s and 1930s, embraced by the upper classes and Hollywood icons.

Today, stylish suspenders have made a comeback, appealing to fashion-forward individuals looking to infuse their outfits with a touch of vintage charm. With a variety of styles, materials, and patterns available, suspenders continue to captivate style enthusiasts, adding sophistication and elegance to both formal and casual attire. They can add some personality to your outfit to special events, such as the Kentucky Derby or a 1920s fashion theme party. 

In this guide, we'll go into different suspender style, how to attach your suspenders, and how to wear your suspenders with jeans, a suit, or even casually for the right dress code.


Type of Suspenders

Clip-on Suspenders

clip on suspenders on white dress shirt and black trousers

Clip-on suspenders are perhaps the most common and widely available type. As the name suggests, these have suspender clips that attach directly to the waistband of trousers.

They are convenient and easy to use, making them a popular choice for those new to wear clip on suspenders on. Clip-on suspenders offer versatility and adjustability, allowing you to customize the fit.

However, it's worth noting that some clip-on suspenders may not provide the same secure hold as button or leather suspenders.


Button Suspenders

Button suspenders, also known as button on suspenders or "brace" suspenders, require trousers to have buttons sewn onto the waistband. These suspenders have buttonholes that attach to the buttons, providing a secure and traditional hold.

Suspender buttons offer a sleek and polished look, particularly when paired with tailored trousers or formal wear. They exude a sense of refinement and elegance, making them a popular choice for those seeking a more sophisticated aesthetic

However, it's important to ensure that your trousers are specifically designed to accommodate them.


Leather suspenders

brown leather suspenders on man at wedding with wine

Wearing leather suspenders add a touch of rugged sophistication to any outfit. Crafted from high-quality brown leather, these suspenders provide durability and a distinct aesthetic.

They often feature adjustable straps, allowing for a customized fit, are are a popular choice for those seeking a vintage or Western-inspired look. Leather suspenders pair well with both casual wear and semi-formal or formal attire, adding a unique and stylish element to your ensemble.

In the end, the choice between clip-on, button, or brown leather suspenders largely depends on your personal style preference and the occasion. Clip-on suspenders offer convenience, button suspenders provide a classic and refined look, while leather suspenders add a rugged and distinctive touch.


How to Wear Suspenders Step-By-Step

Wearing suspenders may seem like a daunting task if you're new to this stylish accessory. However, with a few simple steps, you can confidently incorporate suspenders into your outfit. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to wear suspenders:


Step 1: Choose the Right Suspenders

Select suspenders that match your personal style and the occasion. Consider suspender style the material, color, and pattern that will complement your outfit. Opt for clip-on suspenders if you don't have trousers with buttons, or button suspenders if your trousers have waistband buttons.


Step 2: Dress Appropriately

group of groomsmen dressed for wedding with black suspenders

Ensure that your outfit is appropriate for suspenders. Suspenders work best with trousers that have a higher rise and do not have belt loops. Choose trousers that fit well and allow single strap for the suspenders to sit comfortably on your shoulders.


Step 3: Adjust the Length

Before putting on the suspenders, adjust their length according to your torso and comfort. Start with the front straps and make them slightly shorter than the back straps for a proper fit. Longer straps tend to create a droopy appearance, while shorter ones may feel too tight.


Step 4: Put on the Suspenders

Hold the back of the suspenders with one hand and put your arms through the loops or openings on the front straps. Alternatively, attach the clips of clip-on suspenders to the waistband of your trousers. Position the suspenders cross the back straps on your shoulders, ensuring they sit comfortably in place.


Step 5: Adjust the Fit

Stand in front of a mirror and adjust the tension of the suspenders to your desired fit. They should hold up your trousers without pulling too tightly or sagging. Ensure that the suspenders lie flat against your chest and back, creating a neat and polished appearance.


Step 6: Coordinate with Your Outfit

gray and white outfit example with subtle patterned suspenders and baret

Once your suspenders are secure, take a moment to ensure suspenders match well with the rest of your outfit. Consider the color and pattern of your suspenders in relation to your shirt, bow tie, and other accessories. Aim for a harmonious and well-balanced look.


Step 7: Own Your Style

Wearing suspenders is as much about confidence as it is about fashion. Embrace your unique style and carry yourself with assurance. Suspenders can be a statement accessory that adds a touch of sophistication and flair to your overall look.


By following these step-by-step instructions, you can confidently wear suspenders and elevate your style with this timeless accessory. Experiment with different outfits and suspenders to find your signature look, and embrace the elegance and charm that suspenders bring to your wardrobe.


Suspenders vs Belts

When it comes to choosing between suspenders and belts, both accessories serve the purpose of keeping your trousers in place, but they differ in style and functionality. Here's a separate guide on the different types belts.

Suspenders offer a unique and vintage-inspired look, creating a sleek and polished appearance. They distribute the weight of your trousers evenly across your shoulders, providing comfort and avoiding cinching at the waist.

brown leather belt example

On the other hand, belts are versatile and come in various styles, allowing you to express your personal taste. They cinch your waist, providing a fitted look and adding a touch of ruggedness to your outfit.

Ultimately rule of thumb, the choice between suspenders and belts depends on your style preferences, the occasion, and the desired level of comfort and fashion statement you wish to make.


How to Wear Suspenders with Jeans

Wearing suspenders with jeans can be a stylish and unconventional way to elevate your casual or business casual attire. We have a separate guide on how jeans fit into the business casual dress code. Follow these steps to rock suspenders with jeans:

stylish man with patterned suspenders on denim jeans

  1. Choose the Right Suspenders: Opt for suspenders that complement your jeans. Look for a color or pattern that adds a contrasting or complementary element to your outfit. Neutral shades like black, navy, or brown are versatile options that pair well with various jean washes.

  2. Select the Right Jeans: Consider the fit and style of your jeans. Suspenders work best with jeans that have a higher rise, as they provide a suitable anchor point for the suspenders. Straight-leg or slightly tapered jeans are ideal, as they allow the suspenders to be easily visible.

  3. Prepare Your Jeans: Before putting on the suspenders, ensure your jeans are properly fastened and adjusted to the desired waistline. Ensure the jeans sit comfortably at your waist, allowing enough room for the suspenders to hang naturally.

  4. Attach the Suspenders: Hold the front suspender straps and place your arms through the loops or openings. Position the suspenders on your shoulders, ensuring they lie flat against your chest and back. If using clip-on suspenders, attach the metal clip to the front and back of your jeans' waistband.

  5. Adjust the Fit: Stand in front of a mirror and adjust the tension of the suspenders to achieve the desired fit. They should hold up your jeans without being too loose or too tight. Make sure the suspenders are evenly adjusted on both sides for a balanced appearance.

  6. Style with Confidence: Once your suspenders are securely in place, embrace your unique style and rock the look with confidence. Consider pairing your suspenders and jeans with a well-fitted shirt or a casual jacket for a put-together ensemble.

Wearing suspenders with jeans adds a distinctive touch to your outfit, so don't be afraid to experiment with different colors, patterns, and styles.


How to Wear Suspenders with a Suit

When wearing a suit with suspenders to a formal event, it's important to select complementary pieces to create a cohesive and stylish look. Here are some suggestions for what to wear with a suit and how wear suspenders together:

  1. Dress Shirt: Choose a well-fitted dress shirt in a solid color or subtle pattern. Crisp white, light blue, or pastel shades work well, depending on the occasion and personal style. This is our favorite white dress shirt from Nimble Made in their unique slim fit. 

  2. Necktie or Bowtie: Pair your dress shirt with a slim necktie or bowtie that coordinates with the colors and patterns of your suit and suspenders. Opt for a classic silk tie or a self-tie bowtie for a timeless look.

  3. Suit Jacket: Wear a well-tailored suit jacket (here's a guide on how suit jackets should fit) that matches the color and style of your trousers. Ensure the jacket fits properly across the shoulders and chest, creating a polished silhouette.

  4. Trousers: Choose suit trousers with a higher rise and a straight or slightly tapered leg. Make sure they have buttons or loops specifically designed for suspenders. Here's a guide on what slacks are.

  5. Pocket Square: Add a pocket square in a complementary color or pattern to your suit jacket for a sophisticated finishing touch. Coordinate the pocket square with your tie or bowtie for a cohesive look.

  6. Shoes: Complete your outfit with a pair of classic dress shoes, such as oxfords or brogues. Ensure they are polished and match the color of your belt if you choose to wear one. brown leather brogues dress shoes

  7. Accessories: Consider adding a belt in a matching color to your shoes, even though it won't be necessary to hold up your trousers. Additionally, a wristwatch and cufflinks can add subtle elegance to your overall look.

Remember to wear your suspenders confidently for formal events, allowing them to peek out from under your suit pants and jacket for a stylish and dapper appearance.


How to Wear Suspenders Casually

While suspenders are commonly associated with formal or semi-formal attire, they can also be worn casually to add a touch of unique style to your outfit. Here are a few ways to wear a pair of suspenders casually:

clip on suspenders with pair of khaki pants for casual attire

  1. Chinos or Khakis: Pair your suspenders with khaki pants or chinos for a smart-casual look. Opt for slim or straight-fit chinos in neutral colors like beige, olive, or navy. Roll up the hem of the chinos slightly for a relaxed vibe. We have a separate guide on how to cuff your jeans or pants.

  2. Shorts: For a playful and summery look, wear suspenders with shorts. Choose tailored shorts in a solid color or a subtle pattern and match them with suspenders in a complementary shade. This combination adds a quirky and eye-catching element to your casual attire. c

  3. T-shirts or Polo Shirts: Add a touch of contrast and sophistication to your casual outfit by wearing suspenders with a subtly patterned or solid colored T-shirt or polo shirt. Choose suspenders that match or complement the color of your shirt. If you're going for a more casual vibe, consider wearing a bandana with your outfit.

  4. Denim or Corduroy Pants: Besides jeans, suspenders can be worn with other casual pants like denim or corduroy trousers. Opt for slim or straight-leg cuts and pair them with suspenders that create a harmonious color combination or a stylish contrast.

  5. Layered with Sweaters: For cooler weather, layer your suspenders over a lightweight sweater or cardigan. We put together this guide on how to wear a sweater over a dress shirt.

Whether you're going for a relaxed or slightly dressed-up style, wearing different-colored suspenders or patterned suspenders with casual clothing can be a versatile and fashionable addition to your casual wardrobe.


Frequently asked questions about how to wear suspenders

What is the correct way to wear suspenders?

The correct way to wear suspenders is to position them over your shoulders and attach them to the waistband of your trousers, ensuring they provide a secure and comfortable hold without being too tight or too loose.


Do you hook suspenders to the belt or the pants?

Suspenders should be hooked directly to the waistband of the pants, utilizing buttons or loops specifically designed for suspenders, rather than attaching them to a belt.


Do you wear suspenders under shirt?

Suspenders are typically worn over the shirt, resting on the shoulders and visible above the shirt collar, serving as both a functional and stylish accessory.


How can I wear suspenders with jeans?

To wear suspenders with jeans, simply attach the suspenders to the buttons or loops on the waistband of the jeans and let them hang comfortably on your shoulders, adding a touch of vintage charm and style to your casual denim look.

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