How To Be Stylish in Suspenders

Wearing suspenders

Suspenders are no longer just for grandfathers and nerds. Suspenders offer a way to create a unique look for the style conscious young man.

  1. Locate a nice pair of suspenders: A nice pair of suspenders need not be expensive. A good pair can be found at a thrift store or in your attic. But there are some guidelines to follow while scavenging. The suspenders should be the elastic type, not the button-on type used for tuxedos. These look foolish if worn without a tuxedo jacket. Secondly, the suspenders should be narrow; a very thick band will only be distracting and overbearing to the outfit. Lastly, the suspenders must be black or another dark solid color. No novelty suspenders, please.
  2. There are limits to what suspenders can be worn with:
    • Pants: The look desired is a one of classic style and thus suspenders need to be worn with classic clothes. This is the only way to keep from looking ridiculous. However, this does not mean that suspenders always need to be worn with formal clothing. A nice pair of wool or cotton dark walking shorts is a very good choice. And yes, I did say wool shorts. For those of you new to fashion, walking shorts are a specific style. Walking shorts are almost like dress pants that stop at the knee. They often have a cuff on the bottom and very few pockets to create a simple-fronted short. Please, no pleats. A nice pair of black or charcoal-grey narrow-leg non-denim pants would look good as well. If skinny pants are not your style, go with the narrowest pants you feel comfortable in; this younger trend will offset the perception that suspenders are for seniors.
    • Shirts: Now for the shirt to wear: A tee shirt will not do justice to this look. It will only look awkward. A plain white or simple patterned long sleeved dress shirt must be worn: Try a pinstriped shirt or a shirt with a subtle floral design. The overall look of the shirt should be light to provide contrast to the pants and the suspenders themselves. The shirt obviously needs to be tucked in, in order for the suspenders to function, and the shirt should have a collar (with plastic strips in it to prevent curled collar ends) and cuffs which can be worn open and rolled up slightly. If you open your collar and unbotton two or three buttons down, this will offset the perceived formality of the suspenders. And the shirt does need to billow around your body; find one that fits nicely to your body (ask for a European cut shirt).
  3. Finishing the look off: Complete the look with accessories. Try a pair of dark classic sunglasses such as Wayfarers and simple canvas slip-on shoes or slip-on narrow-toed leather loafers.


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