This week, we welcome words from fashion industry insider Natalie Morris who has kindly offered to talk us through the history and her perspective on trouser braces.
As we all recognise most things in fashion tend to come back around in trend, either modernised or with a contemporary twist. Men’s braces have made a comeback as more of an aesthetic fashion accessory rather than offering a practical use.
The set of braces originally performed the role of what a belt does these days. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the old school accessory was actually considered improper to be visible at all, in fact they were considered as underwear.
Standards have moved on and now braces are a main accessory for men worn in a variety of ways in many different designs and colours.
Today’s society is about standing out and creating individuality and braces can do just that by enhancing a garment whether that be through matching or by contrasting completely transforming a look and completing an outfit.
The practical benefits of trouser braces
When we think of men’s braces we typically think of black tie formal wear and the original black braces are a requisite part of black tie outfits.
Although the belt is the most recent invention to hold up a pair of trousers, to this day braces remain the preferred method by many fine dressers.
Braces play a part in attention to detail by helping the front button and fly zip of the trousers align with the shirt buttons to compliment business attire.
Braces provide a waist shaped hanger that the trousers rest on allowing the fabric around the hips and knees to drape in a smooth plane eliminating bunching of fabric.
As a belt on the other hand tends to cause cinching of the waistband creating creases encouraging the trouser fabric to balloon out from under the belt.
Braces as a casual look
For a more casual element the classic thin black braces can be worn with any colourful shirt breaking up a block colour or enhancing colour by wearing striped braces with a white shirt and go all out with a blue suit.
For a more bold statement look combine red patterned braces styled with a blue checkered shirt, black/dark blue waistcoat, jeans and a hat & bow tie incorporating a touch of red for a barber shop style.
The accessory can be styled with a bow tie and jeans for a contemporary twist on vintage. Style brown leather braces with a button hole feature with grey trousers for a military look. Or for a more effective but simple style layer up with a t-shirt and shirt underneath the braces, the possibilities to this look are limitless.
If you prefer a more subtle but stylish approach then wear braces which blend in with the colour of your shirt but contrast in texture. For example; a cotton check shirt matched with leather thin braces and a flat cap for the ultimate city look. Break the boundaries by wearing your braces down, you can be versatile with an accessory complimenting your individual style.
KTZ shown this by incorporating braces in his menswear fall 2015 collection. The models wore the braces hanging down accessorized with other components, the collection was inspired by thuggish skinhead droogs in Stanley Kubrick’s film, Pejoski.
The beauty of braces is that they are an androgynous accessory with adaptable styles to suit anybody and to transform any outfit.
About Natalie Morris
I have been studying all aspects of fashion for eight years and it’s something I’m so passionate about and driven for. Over the years I have gathered a variety of retail, fashion show and photoshoot experience from a stylist perspective. I’m currently working as backstage coordinator at Liverpool and Manchester Fashion week working alongside local designers, photographers and models. From the fashion week events this led me to my own monthly article in Lifestyle magazine as a fabric & trend stylist. My name is Natalie Morris and my final advice to you and the only rule to wearing braces is under no circumstances do you ever wear braces with a belt.
Please find the award winning Lifestyle magazine available to read online by clicking on the link below.