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Gentlemen's Guide To Wearing Suspenders image

Gentlemen's Guide To Wearing Suspenders

I remember growing up, there was this preacher who used to come around the house and what I really fancied about him wasn’t the ‘gospel’ he came to preach, it was the fact that he always had a different pair of suspenders every time he came around and I thought to myself, “I’d love to wear one of those someday”. It’s kind of hard to fathom, but believe it or not, the belt is a relatively recent invention. Prior to the First World War, the favored method of keeping one’s trousers up was with a pair of suspenders.

Nowadays, suspenders (or braces, as they’re called by our British brothers) are often viewed as an artifact from another era or emblematic of certain kinds of people or professions – they’re worn by bankers or iconically by punk rockers and hipsters.

However, as we’ve started to shift as a menswear culture towards an appreciation of quality and well-appointed details in Nigeria, suspenders can now be considered as just another element in the well-dressed modern gentleman’s clothing playbook.

Here are some guidelines on how to wear suspenders.

Never Wear Suspenders With A Belt

Don't be this guy.

This is a real ‘line in the sand’ issue for me. Suspenders are a method of keeping your pants up. A belt is another method for keeping your pants up. Don’t ever, or like my Mum would say ‘Don’t you ever’ wear suspenders with a belt or vice versa. It’s the same as wearing a tie bar with a waist coat or wearing sun glasses with a face cap. It’s either one or the other. Do not cross that line.

Proper Adjustment

Suspenders used to come in different lengths and sizes. Now virtually all suspenders have adjusters. When dialing in the right length, there’s a balance between too loose and too tight – the latter can lead to an uncomfortable tightening of the pants between the buttocks. I’m pretty sure no one wants that, and even if you do, no one wants to see that.

Mind The Waist Size

Suspenders are best on pants that have a little room around the waist. If your pants are too tight – or perfectly fitted to your waist – you don’t need suspenders. Unless, of course, you’re looking to add an unnecessary fashion accessory to your look and I dare say you could go unpunished.

Are Belt Loops Okay?

This is a topic that could rouse a lively debate: wearing suspenders on pants that also have belt loops.Conservativists will tell you that if you’re wearing suspenders on a pair of pants with belt loops that you’re not all-in. I can respect that.

However, it is nice to have options. Especially if you’re going to be spending your hard-earned money on bespoke/made-to-fit suits. Maybe you’d like to style the suit with a belt sometimes, but also reserve the right to wear suspenders when the mood strikes.

My opinion is this: there’s nothing wrong with wearing suspenders on pants with belt loops. Having said that, it does look cleaner, more sophisticated and more committed if you forego the belt loops for side tabs. I get all my pants now without belt loops. That’s just me, anyway.

Buttons Or Clips

These days, suspenders come in either button or clip ends and both are fine really but it’s preferable to go with the button clips. If not for anything, it’s safer than the clip end because once fastened, you do not have to worry about the clip pulling off your trouser while you’re in motion.

Subtle Accessory

A pair of suspenders is not an accessory that’s meant to be flaunted. Back in the day, they were considered a form of underwear – a not-quite unmentionable that wasn’t particularly meant to be seen. Some folks may disagree with me on this one but when you’re talking about classic elegance in men’s fashion, subtlety rules the day (and night).

Formal Wear

Finally, to end this post with another ‘line in the sand’ item for me. When it comes to formalwear, suspenders are de rigueur. A belt with formal attire is a non-starter.

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Guidelines To Wearing Suits With Trainers image

Guidelines To Wearing Suits With Trainers

Not so long ago, I noticed this new trend which obviously received a lot of critique, as most people are not inclined to accept change with open arms but being the conservative yet fashion-forward individual I am (yes, I like to call myself that), I decided to take a second look at it and analyse it carefully and I thought to share it with guys who are just as stylish as I am, or who at least aspire to it. *wink*

There are those who may probably think that tailoring with trainers is as stylish and trendy as sandals with socks. Well, you’re not alone. I mean, it was once reserved for guys who valued comfort over style, but it is now in vogue, after quite a lot of people discovered that being comfortable can actually look pretty stylish.

But while the socks-and-sliders thing is left to rail-thin models and young university undergrads, suits and sneakers is much easier to pull off while maintaining that classy and mature look.

I guess it’s safe to say if you follow these guidelines, you will look quite stylish and less like that guy in the office who switches to gym shoes for the journey home.

The street style goons have spoken, trainers and tailoring are now sartorial, not scruffy. Here’s your guidelines for bossing the look.

Do Keep Things Classic

 …and by classic, I mean simple. You are already making a statement with your shoes, so your suit shouldn’t. This is no time to be revealing that banana-coloured three-piece or that custard yellow double-breasted jacket.

Start with a slim-cut, navy suit and white trainers – the more minimalist, the better. Make sure your trousers are slim –or skinny fit; flared or boot cut will simply not work. With trainers, or, frankly, anything else.

 

Don’t Cheap Out

As with your regular brogue or oxford shoes, quality counts. Premium materials, traditional construction techniques and details such as hand-stitching allow you a little more aesthetic wiggle and confidence than rolling in some kicks you’ve had for years.

 

Link Your Look With Colour

The more links you can create between top and toe, the more these seemingly disparate fashion elements gel. Colour is an easy way to pull your trainers into the rest of your look, but please keep it subtle; if your suit is black or navy, a pop of the same in the logo or the lace is better than an all-black or blue trainer.

More subtle is pulling out a shade from your sneakers in your shirt or tie, or even choosing to echo a suede trainer’s soft nap with cashmere around your neck. That would definitely leave a lasting stylish impression.

 

Don't Embrace The Raindow

To the previous point, there’s a limit. Neon trainers are tough to wear if you’re in all-black sportswear. With a suit they just look like your proper shoes got coped at the gym.

As a rule of thumb, it shouldn’t even be an option to exercise in the kind of trainers you wear to work and vice versa.

 

Do Show Off Your Sneakers

With formal shoes, your trousers should hit your lace with a little bit of crease in the fabric in front of your shin. But that’s because people aren’t eyeballing which brogues you’ve copped in the same way they do with trainers.

Take some length out of your trousers, so the hem lands just above the tongue; a roll, turn-up or tack pin is handy here if you’d rather not visit your tailor for a permanent alteration.

 

Don’t Get Technical

We’ve got a lot of love for an ‘ugly’ trainer. But while Raf Simons’ Ozweegos are like on-feet spaceships that we’d normally recommend anywhere, they don’t quite work with your suit.

The aim of the sneakers and suits look is to take some of the formality away from your tailoring, switching up silhouettes and fabrics to make your outfit appear more relaxed. Technical shoes are too sporty; instead of relaxed, you look like you’re about to start calisthenics in the conference room.

So keep the globular trainers for after-hours.

 

Do Tread Carefully At Work

Even if your dress code is lenient, and you can get away with wearing kicks to work, the trainer is meant to lend a louche air to something more often seen as stuffy. So your tailoring should lean more towards relaxed than stiff. Even the sleekest sneakers won’t sit right if you’re rocking a waistcoat, pocket square and lapel pin.

Equally, avoid anything seen on trading floors: pinstripes, wide lapels and padded shoulders. The less structure your jacket has, the more your trainers look like they belong with your tailoring.

I mean, you don’t want the HR lady summoning you to her office …if you’re not the boss of yourself.

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