Many men have the misconception that suspenders are worn to make a statement of wealth or power. Images of Gordon Gekko or Larry King immediately spring to mind.
At the other extreme, the character of Steve Urkel of the “Family Matters” TV show has engrained in peoples’ imaginations the idea that anyone who wears his trousers up by his navel with suspenders must be a nerd. By this thinking, cool kids wear their trousers low on their hips.
These prejudices are most unfortunate as they lead otherwise sophisticated men to look horrendous in their trousers. Suspenders (or braces as the British call them), are there for one purpose only—to hold your trousers in place!
See this illustration at left. Note how the man’s belly pushes the front of the trouser down. Although we can’t see it, the bottom of pant crotch hangs down half way to his knees! The result looks just terrible. His shirt will never stay in place and he will walk around all day yanking up his trousers. Yet, it is the way most men with a belly wear their pants.
If this man wore suspenders, he would look much better. With his trousers worn higher, he would look neater and trimmer as his belly would disappear under the front of the trousers. Now let's see the same man in trousers worn higher with suspenders (picture below).
Trousers must be cut differently if they are to be worn with suspenders. The front must be cut higher, usually 1 to 3” higher. When worn properly, the trousers should go from front to back horizontally without sloping up or down. Belt loops would be extraneous because they are unnecessary. (Never wear a belt and suspenders unless you’re working in the fields as a farm hand!)
In the alternative, if the man above refuses to wear suspenders, the front rise must be shortened ¾’ to 1 ½” so that the trouser front does not drag down. It's not an ideal solution because his belly won’t be hidden, but at least he’ll look neater.
None of this can be accomplished with ready-made trousers. What is needed to achieve a proper fit is custom made trousers.
At Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors, we make a pattern for custom trousers based on a man’s body type and measurements, taking into account the proper front rise, back rise, hips, thigh, knee and bottom. Our client can also choose the style he wants—pleated or plain front., pocket styles, closures and linings.
That’s the Saint Laurie Way.