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Are suspenders with suits in style?

Suspenders, also known as braces, have a long history of being worn with suits. While their popularity has waxed and waned over the decades, they continue to be a stylish accessory option for suited men. Let’s take a look at the history of suspenders, their current status in men’s fashion, and tips for stylishly wearing suspenders with a suit.

A Brief History of Suspenders

Suspenders first became popular in the early 19th century as a way to hold up men’s trousers. This was decades before belts became common. At the time, the trousers had buttons inside to attach suspenders to rather than the clips we see today. Suspenders were a common accessory for working-class men who performed manual labor, as they helped keep the trousers in place.

By the early 20th century, suspenders began to gain status as a fashionable accessory for well-dressed men. They were commonly worn with suits and formalwear. The design also shifted to the adjustable leather straps with clips we recognize today. During the 1930s and 1940s suspender popularity really peaked, as they were worn by celebrities and style icons of the era.

After WWII as belts became more common, the popularity of suspenders began to decline. They were still worn but considered somewhat old-fashioned. By the 1970s and 80s they were relegated to finance and business workers who had to wear suits every day. Some see this as the “nerdy accountant” stereotype of suspenders.

In the late 20th century, suspenders came back into fashion again. Pop culture figures like Larry David and Thom Browne brought back the hipster appeal. Now many fashionable men wear them as a stylish accessory that shows personality.

Are Suspenders Stylish Today?

Today, attitudes toward wearing suspenders are mixed. On the one hand, they seem outdated to some, conjuring up images of nerdy men with high-waisted pants. On the other hand, suspenders have an undeniably retro and hip feel when styled properly. Here are some things to consider:

  • Suspenders have a vintage vibe that stands out
  • They show personality and individual style
  • Suspended help keep shirts tucked in neatly
  • Younger generations may view them as “trying too hard”
  • They skew formal and are not as versatile as belts

Overall, suspenders can definitely be fashionable today, but they require the right attitude and styling to pull them off. For some men, it’s better to stick with belts for versatility and to avoid looking like you are costume dressing.

Tips for Styling Suspenders with Suits

Here are some tips for wearing suspenders in a stylish, fashion-forward way:

Match Leather Colors

Make sure your shoes, belt, and suspenders straps are all made from coordinating leather hues. Brown suspenders work with brown shoes, and black suspenders pair best with black shoes.

Coordinate with Your Tie

Pick out suspenders in a color, pattern, or material that complements your tie. For example, silk suspenders with a silk tie. This gives your outfit a coordinated, tailored look.

Clip to an Invisible Belt

Wearing suspenders with no belt can lead to sagging pants. Clip your suspenders to a thin invisible belt around your waistband to anchor your trousers.

Try Suspenders with a Vest

Pairing suspenders with a three-piece suit and vest is a great stylish look. The vest covers the suspenders for a more streamlined silhouette.

Go for Premium Quality

Cheap plastic suspenders look flimsy. Invest in leather or high-quality fabric suspenders that will last for years in your wardrobe.

Wear with Confidence

Suspenders take confidence to pull off. If you wear them with aplomb and style, they’ll look sharp rather than silly.

When to Wear Suspenders

Suspenders work best for formal or dressed-up events where suits are appropriate. Here are some occasions where suspenders can add a stylish touch:

Event Comments
Weddings Great for the groom or groomsmen with suits or tuxedos
Job Interviews Shows you are detail-oriented about dressing sharp
Speeches & Presentations Suspenders help convey confidence and authority
Courtroom Appearances Lawyers often rely on suspenders as a wardrobe staple
Theater & Arts Events Suspenders have an old-school, retro vibe perfect for the arts
Proms & Dances Fun way for guys to accessorize their look

As you can see, any formal event where you want to dress to impress, suspenders can add a stylish edge. Avoid wearing them in more casual settings or you may end up looking overdressed.

Common Concerns and Drawbacks

While suspenders can upgrade your style when worn properly, there are some drawbacks to consider:


Some men don’t like the look of suspenders straps under their jacket or vest. This comes down to personal preference.


Suspenders limit your ability to tuck in or untuck your shirt. You also can’t take off your jacket without exposing the suspenders.

Proper Fit

Suspenders require pants with higher waistbands to have enough fabric to properly clip onto. Lower rise pants won’t accommodate suspenders well.

Perceived Formality

For some men, wearing suspenders gives off a formal vibe they find stuffy or limiting. Using them for casual wear may seem affected.

Vintage Stigma

There is still a nerdy accountant stereotype in some people’s minds. Wearing suspenders risks coming across as dweeby if not styled properly.

Overall though, these drawbacks can be overcome with fashion knowledge and wearing suspenders in the right context. Their benefits outweigh their negatives when used selectively.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key points to remember about wearing suspenders fashionably:

  • Suspenders have oscillated in and out of fashion over the decades
  • They can look stylish today with the right attitude and coordination
  • Match leather colors, coordinate with ties, and anchor with a belt
  • Reserve wearing suspenders for formal events and occasions
  • Wear them confidently and avoid looking costume-y or nerdy

Suspenders aren’t for every man, but they can be the perfect way to put a fashionable spin on your formal suiting when worn intentionally. Add a pair to your wardrobe if you want to experiment with a timeless accessory that is cycling back into style.


Suspenders continue to be a debated men’s accessory when it comes to fashion. But like many vintage items, they offer a way to add flair and personality to formal outfits for men who are style-confident. By considering the history, providing style tips, and outlining the pros and cons, this article aims to give a balanced perspective on wearing suspenders with suits today. While they aren’t for everyone, suspenders can be a stylish power move when worn properly.