The Evolution of Men’s Suspenders: The Past vs. Now


Mark Twain was definitely onto something when he said that clothes are what makes a man. A man with a good sense of style will look confident, which will undoubtedly build their self-perception. 

There are many accessories a man can wear to pull off a formal, classy outfit. One such accessory is a pair of suspenders, or braces, as they are referred to in the U.K.

Since their invention, men’s suspenders have done a brilliant job in helping men keep their pants in place. As much as they have dipped in and out of the fashion scene, suspenders have maintained their position as iconic fashion pieces. 

It is perhaps for that reason that people constantly wonder where suspenders came from. Continue reading to understand where and when they were invented, including all about their falls and resurgence over the centuries.

But to understand the evolution of men’s suspenders, we first need to outline what they are. 

What Are Suspenders?

From a functional perspective, suspenders serve the same purpose as belts; they help keep pants in place. 

They are available in X and Y shapes, which are essentially strap arrangements that form the shape of the suspender. The Y-shaped suspender has a band on the back that is attached to a waistband that also goes on the back. 

It has another two bands that go over the shoulder to the front, which are also attached to the waistband. The bands are often partially or fully elastic, with more high-end costs being made from suede, silk, or cotton. 

Men’s suspenders in the past would have leather straps at the end, with buttonholes for attaching buttons on the waistband. Nowadays, they come equipped with metal clips that provide several benefits over leather loops. But metal clips have small teeth that can ruin the waistband and can be seen on the outside, unlike leather loops that go inside the trousers. 

Let’s dive further into men’s suspenders and how they came to be what they are today. If you need to find men’s suspenders, you can buy online here.

The Origins of Men’s Suspenders

The first men’s suspenders are believed to have originated from 1700s France. They were mere strips of ribbon attached to buttonholes inside the trousers and were considered undergarments not to be seen in public. It was not until before the Second World War that men pushed the norm and began to wear them over their shits. 

However, what we see as more stylish suspenders were first created by British fashion designer, Albert Thurston in the 1830s. 

Men at the time used to wear pants high up their waists but belts weren’t able to hold up the trousers high. Therefore, Mr. Thurston created H-back suspenders that were later modified to feature the more prevalent X- and Y-back designs we know today. 

When They Became More Comfortable

Albert Thurston prioritized making suspenders functional, which they were. But some men did not find them as comfortable as they would have liked. Samuel Clemens, more popularly known as Mark Twain, was one of those men. (Yes, the same Mark Twain who published classic novels such as Tom Sawyer.)

Clemens developed an alternative design for men’s suspenders and in 1871, he applied for a patent for his innovation. He labeled it as ‘Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments’, and it could attach to everything from trousers to corsets.  

His updated designs had a significant impact on men’s fashion and other innovators took it upon themselves to proceed making changes and tweaks to men’s suspenders. This enthusiasm is what led to the use of metal clips, which meant suspenders could now be clipped on pants, and not buttoned. 

First Dip in Popularity and Later Resurgence

With the turn of the 20th Century, times changed and so did men’s fashion style. High-waist pants we no longer considered fashionable. Consequently, men’s suspenders waned in popularity. 

In 1960, men’s suspenders made a comeback thanks to British men who wore them to complement their casual outfits which they highly preferred. Suspenders haven’t completely disappeared from men’s closets, a lot of people still admire suspenders and continue to wear them. 

Get a Timeless Pair of Suspenders Today

With most people being fascinated by early 20th Century cultural themes such as fedoras, mustaches, and bars, you can almost bet that  men’s suspenders are quickly re-emerging back  onto the scene. So, start shopping for your new men’s suspenders today. 

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