A very underated, and misunderstood, accesorry that I seem to be wearing more than usual lately: braces.
Braces. Not suspenders.
These words are often interchanged and, to many, they can mean the same thing. To some more traditional retailers, however, suspenders clip-on to pants with metal clasps, while braces are equipped with button fasteners.
Braces are also typically more luxurious; made of quality satin, silk, leather or grosgrain with genuine hardware and authentic leather or braided cotton fasteners. They are made by companires like Trafalgar and Bentley Cravats (the only remaining suspender factory in NYC). Suspenders, on the other hand, are often skinny, synthetic, have basic metal clips and can be picked up at trendy stores like American Apparel for $10.
Here, three different looks to help you brace like a man – along with their corresponding “inspirations”.
3. Classic Americana
Although my style is influenced from all over the place, there will always be something about the Americana image that speaks to me. America really is the land of opportunity, I am proud to be a part of it and call myself a New Yorker.
It doesn’t get much more staple American than worn-in khaki chinos, blue bengal stripe shirts, cordovan tassel loafers, leather duffle bags, and rep stripe braces.
The beauty of this look, as I’ve said before (here): if this photo were black & white, it would be hard to tell which decade it was taken (based on the outfit). This is an example of timeless/classic style. Pieces with historical references that have “stood the test of time” provide a necessary foundation for menswear.
Bonus tip: if you’re going for the true Americana look, it’s probably best to do it with brands that are American (and even more preferably, manufacture in America as well).
- Striped nylon and leather braces by Trafalgar
- Navy camel hair topcoat by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece
- Khaki cotton chinos by Ralph Lauren Polo
- Brown leather duffle by Frank Clegg Leatherworks
- Burgundy tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy
- Blue/white bengal stripe shirt by Ralph Lauren Polo