It wasn’t that long ago that wearing suspenders was more a matter of a practicality than anything. They kept a man’s pants from falling off and worked well for men with big bellies who found belts too constricting.
While suspenders still serve their most basic function, they’ve also emerged as a fashion trend preferred by many men. Suspenders are classy, stylish and practical. That’s why we want to take a look at the best men’s suspenders for 2018 – including our top choice, the Dickies Men’s 1-1/2 Solid Straight Clip Suspender – as well as topics such as suspender-buying tips, how to wear suspenders, and how suspenders compare to belts.
Let’s start with some buying tips.
- Before you buy: 6 Things to consider when purchasing suspenders
- 6 Best suspenders for men 2018
- How to wear suspenders properly
- What’s better – suspenders or belts?
- How we chose our 6 best suspenders for men
Before You Buy: 6 Things to Consider When Purchasing Suspenders
Whether you’re new to the suspenders game or a veteran, it’s always helpful to know the basics when it comes time to buy them. The following are ever-important considerations when picking out a pair that suits you and your style.
1. The type of suspenders
Suspenders basically come in two types – clip-on and button. Clip-on suspenders attach to your pants (or shorts) with clips, while button suspenders button on to your pants, just as the name suggests. Here’s a closer look:
- Clip-on suspenders
Clip-on suspenders are versatile enough that you can attach them to just about any pant or trouser. They are a bit more casual than other types of suspenders and look great with jeans, shorts, or any casual modern wardrobe style trend. They attach easily to the waistband of your pants – preferably in the middle of your waistband – and you pull them over your shoulders before attaching the remaining clips to the front of your pants.
- Button-on suspenders
Button-on suspenders are a bit more formal than clip-on suspenders and require that your pants to have six buttons sewn inside the waistband onto which you button the suspender loops. The buttons typically are sewn two inches apart and about an inch down from the top of your pants. Start by buttoning the suspenders on the back of your trousers.
2. The suspender width
A suspender’s width is more important than you think, especially if you’re a suspender newbie. An important rule of thumb is this: the skinnier the suspender, the more casual the look, while wider suspenders most often fall under formal and classic categories.
3. The shape of the suspender
You’ll generally find suspenders in two primary shapes – the X-back and the Y-back. Both shapes do the basic job to which they’re assigned, i.e., holding your pants up, but there are some differences between the two beyond just their basic shape.
X-back suspenders usually provide a bit more support than their Y-back cousin. That’s because they have an extra strap on the back end, which also makes them the most popular style of work suspenders.
Y-back suspenders may not provide the same kind of support as X-back suspenders, but they tend to look better in the back (because they’re without the extra strap). Experts say the key to wearing Y-back suspenders is to attach the strap perfectly at the center of the back of your pants.
4. The suspender fit
The nice part about suspenders is that they’re adjustable and customizable to almost every man’s unique proportions. Most suspenders have a metal clip attached to the front straps that you slide up and down until you get the right suspender length for your frame. Meanwhile, leather suspenders are loosened and tightened via a buckle and holes, just like a belt you wear on your pants.
5. Suspender fabric
Suspenders made from elastic represent the workhorse of the suspender stable. They’re versatile, cost less than suspenders made from other fabrics, are easy to fit, and come in many varieties. Basic elastic suspenders come in solid colors although their style – Y-back, X-back, etc. – may vary. Solid color elastic suspenders often fit the bill for casual and more formal occasion s.
6. How You Plan to Wear Your Suspenders
You can wear suspenders for a variety of occasions, which is among the many reasons they’ve regained popularity. There is, however, something you must remember (make it your mantra, if you must), and that’s: Never wear suspenders when you wear a belt on your pants. It’s a no-no.
But here’s a quick look at some ways to wear your suspenders:
- For business
Wearing suspenders to work is a classic style and well-represented in modern movies and television series. A good rule-of-thumb, especially if you’re still a bit unsure about suspender fashion, is to wear suspenders of a classic color (navy, black, etc.) that coordinate with your shoes.
- For formal occasions & weddings
Pairing your suspenders with a quality shirt always looks sharp, as does pairing it with accessories such as pocket squares, bow ties, etc. Meanwhile, suspenders are a staple of a groom’s wedding attire.
- For casual wear
Fortunately, suspenders have found their way out of the conference and boardroom to appear at much more casual – even hipster – hangouts. They’re an easy way to add a personalized fashion statement to your “hanging out” wardrobe.
- Work suspenders
Many men wear their suspenders while working in more strenuous, physical labor type jobs for many reasons, including that they’re excellent for holding up heavy works pants that may also have tool belts attached to them. If you do wear them with a tool belt, make sure to leave room to clip the suspenders on your pants above the belt. Clips are designed to handle the width of a pant’s waistline – anything more quickly wears them out.
Work suspenders usually consist of a non-stretch material that offers, first and foremost, support. Some even come with shoulder pads to help keep you comfortable when carrying heavy loads.
That covers our suspender buying tips, although there are other factors to keep in mind, such as the types of clips and button-on attachments. But let’s move on to our suspender reviews.
6 Best Suspenders For Men 2018
Dickies is all about workwear – in fact, they’re the biggest manufacturer of workwear in the world (and have been around for 100 years, mind you). They manufacture everything from work pants to denim shirts, and they also know a thing or two about suspenders.
Their 1-1/2 Solid Straight Clip Suspenders are what we think the best suspenders overall, but also the best work suspenders, which isn’t a surprise since they come from a company creates clothes that stand up to workplace stresses of any kind. Not that you can only wear them for work, however.
These suspenders are made from elastic, which gives them some stretch, have an X-back and an embossed leather patch, and each pair fits up to size 42. They also adjust from 31 to 48.5 inches long – and they’re hand-washable.
More importantly, the straight clip provides maximum support and you don’t have to worry about the suspenders potentially breaking free from your pants – a most embarrassing occurrence, no doubt.
It’s easy to adjust the Dickies 1-1/2 Solid Straight Clip Suspenders and while some users say they’re too small, many more reviewers say that they comfortably fit men of all sizes – including those in the very big and tall range. We’ll leave it up to you to decide, but we don’t think you’ll have any problem finding the right fit with these suspenders.
- Solid, durable construction
- Fits a wide range of sizes
- Clips provide a tight grip
- Some reviewers say the hardware is a bit flimsy
With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s clear that many men have chosen the Dickies Men’s 1-1/2 Solid Straight Clip Suspender as their suspender of choice. They’re ideal for heavy jobs but also good for more casual outings, if you so choose, and easily adjustable to fit virtually every man’s body size and type.
Trafalgar should be in the conversation during any discussion about the best suspenders brand overall. They specialize in quality, hand-crafted products that consist of full-grain leather and 100% silk, and easily rank among today’s top premium brands.
While several Trafalgar suspender styles are good enough for our list, we chose their Men’s Formal Regal Suspender while doling out some more top rankings – including the best dress suspenders and the best suspenders for suits. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more than you will for many other suspenders, but high quality often comes at a cost and, in this case, it’s worth it.
The Regal Suspender comes in smooth black leather and has woven-end, button tabs. It’s a stylish, classy look, no question. And, all of Trafalgar’s products are made by hand and by uncompromising construction.
- Quality product from one of the best makers of men’s suspenders
- Great for dress and formal occasions
- More expensive than other brands, but you can’t beat the quality
Trafalgar is a company you need to check out if you’re serious about taking your suspender “look” to the next level. The craftsmanship is second-to-none and you’re going to look good while wearing their suspenders.
JJ Suspenders, as their name suggests, specialize in suspenders. A couple of guys named Jackson and Josh formed the company in 2014 when they both sought – in vain – to find a quality pair of suspenders for a friend’s wedding.
Their frustration has been a boon to the rest of the men’s clothing world, or at least certainly a boon to the suspender market. They manufacture a variety of designs with much-needed innovation, but we like their Leather Suspenders With Adjustable Elastic Strap the best.
Why? For starters, we like their premium quality tan leather, and they’re ideal suspenders for men trying to rock their casual look. You can pair them with a pair of skinny jeans – or regular jeans, for that matter – along with a casual shirt or t-shirt.
But, we also like their versatility; you can wear them with formal attire or for a wedding (just what you’d expect from the company’s co-founders). The leather suspenders come with a cognac color clip that adds a nice touch of class while still maintaining their overall casual feel.
The Y-back design comes with a soft, elastic back strap that allows for superior comfort and mobility, while you don’t have to worry about the clips coming off if you’re sitting or kneeling. But the JJ Suspenders leather suspenders also come with dual attachments because they have clips and button-on attachments. Indeed, the accessories that come with your purchase include extra buttons for your pants and a mini-sewing kit, and extra suspender clips.
The straps are 3/4” wide and, as mentioned, feature the Y-back design. Note: One size fits all and the leather suspenders will fit men from 5’8” to 6’3, although they may vary depending on your body’s physique.
You’ll also love the high-quality detailing and gold hardware that come with these suspenders. And, all of the JJ Suspenders line of suspenders features handmade craftsmanship.
- Ideal for casual and formal wear
- Premium construction
- Comfortable straps
- Some reviewers say that they’re too big for shorter men
There’s a lot to like about the Leather Suspenders from JJ Suspenders, including how they look with sharp casual clothes, how they feel, and their versatility. Overall, a quality product from a company that specializes in suspenders.
The HoldUP brand is a big player in the suspenders market and is found in over 2,000 stores in the United States. They have over 300 styles from which to choose and have a patented suspender clip – the “no-slip clip” that ensures that your suspenders won’t come undone.
HoldUP’s products are also very affordable and ideal for men who’ve worn suspenders for a long time, but also for men who are first switching from belts to suspenders. There’s a lot to like about them.
Let’s start with the no-slip clip. Made of triple-plated chrome, the clips have a tiny needle that pierces your clothes to fasten. It also includes a slanted clamp that prevents the clip from coming open when you sit down. Indeed, HoldUp all but guarantees that your clip never comes undone.
You’ll also like that the clip design won’t cut or tear the fabric of your pants. You won’t need to fix your clips with pliers to make sure they remain firmly attached to your pants.
The straps consist of a poly-blend elastic fabric that’s colorfast, hand washable, and provides just the right amount of stretch. The straps are 1-1/2” wide and 48” long. Each pair of HoldUp suspenders has a chrome-plated metal length adjuster.
Finally, the Wide Classic Series Suspenders have an X-back design with a double-stitched leather crosspatch (featuring the HoldUp logo). You’ll like how it looks.
- No-slip clip
- No-slip clip
- Slanted clamp that also keeps the clip in place
- Some say the straps aren’t as long as advertised
You’ll find HoldUp suspenders in stores all across the U.S., and many reviewers attest to their quality. The no-slip clip is unlike any other – and a real plus – while the brand has many other styles from which to choose.
Fasker suspenders appear in many best-of reviews which leads you to believe that they must be doing something right. And they are, as their Men’s X-Back Adjustable Solid Straight Clip Suspenders make clear.
Among the things worth noting about them is their durability. They’re made from high-quality materials, including elastic and polyester, and feature a nickel-free anti-slip clip, while the stretch edge has a thick elastic ribbon.
They’re also fully adjustable. The straps are 2-inches wide and long enough to fit most men (one size fits all). The straps have a distinctive look that can spruce up your formal wear, but also pair well with more casual, trendier styles.
Fasker’s Adjustable Solid Straight Clip Suspenders have an X-back design that’s heavy duty and secure. They also come with high-quality clasps that hold tight to the waist of your pants and don’t come unbuckled unintentionally. That’s always a good thing. But it’s also to – intentionally – release the clips for when you have to do necessary things – such as going to the bathroom. That’s a good thing, too.
Fasker makes suspenders for everyone – including the elderly and men who need to shed a substantial amount of weight, and even for women and children for that matter. There’s a lot to like about their products.
- Solidly constructed
- Secure clips
- Work well with casual and formal attire
- Some reviews think the 2” straps are too wide
It’s not hard to appreciate the quality of Fasker suspenders, and their X-Back 2” Wide Adjustable pair have the approval of many men. The clasps are secure – more secure than on many other suspenders – and they look good with a variety of clothing.
Home & Lounge suspenders have a lot going for them, not the least which is that you can pair them easily with whatever outfit you choose. That includes a more formal wardrobe but Home & Lounge offers a trendier look (thanks, in part) to several colors from which to choose.ome
Their Solid Straight Clip Suspenders represent the Home & Lounge style well. They come in a Y-back design that’s both comfortable and stylish, while their straps consist of 100% polyester woven elastic provide superior comfort and adjust to the way you move. We also like the looks of the straps, and the fact that they pair well with all types of clothing.
Of course, suspenders aren’t merely a fashion statement because, after all, their primary job is to keep your pants from dropping off of your waist and beyond. Home & Lounge has you covered there, as well, thanks to three metal clips that provide a firm hold that’s strong enough to keep your pants up but not too strong that you feel as if you can’t move around comfortably.
While Home & Lounge’s suspenders work well with all types of clothing, we especially like them when paired with casual clothes and they rank among the best suspenders for jeans.
- Attractive Y-back design
- Comfortable straps
- Not as durable as some other brands
Home & Lounge’s Adjustable Solid Straight Clip suspenders not only come at a nice price, but they’ll help add some style to your wardrobe. They particularly pair well with casual clothes.
How to Wear Suspenders Properly
If it’s your goal to become part of the suspender-wearing trend, your research will reveal a lot of things about suspenders of which you never knew. For a rather simple piece of wardrobe, suspenders come with plenty of possibilities – style, when to wear them, and even how you put them on the right way.
We hope to cover all aspects of wearing suspenders in this section, from putting them on to what to wear them with and when.
1. Putting on your suspenders
If you’re truly fashion-conscious, the first thing you should do before heading out the door each day is to coordinate your suspenders with your outfit. That includes your shirt, shoes, pants. We’ll touch on all of that in a bit, but first let’s take a look at how to put your suspenders on.
- Before you put your suspenders on, i.e., pull them over your shoulders while securing them into place, and then fasten them to the back of your pants. Line them up with the center of your pants and clip them to the fabric (never your belt loops). X-back suspenders should fasten halfway between your spine and sides, while Y-back suspenders should fasten to the center of your waistband.
- Forget the belt. Wearing a belt with suspenders is a fashion faux pas, as we’ll discuss a bit later (and somewhat frequently). It’s also unnecessary, given that your suspenders will handle the job of keeping your pants from falling.
- Pull your pants up as high as possible, unlike you’d do while wearing a belt. Note: High-waisted pants work best with suspenders and help support your stomach.
- Raise your suspender straps over your shoulders. Make sure that the straps feel comfortable while centering them against your back. Wearing your suspenders too low will cause them to slip off of your shoulders.
- Once you’ve secured your suspenders over your shoulders, bring them straight down over your chest to form a pair of vertical, straight lines. If they look even and feel comfortable, then you’ve most likely positioned them in the right way.
- The next step is to attach the suspenders to the front of your pants. You button or clasp them to the waist just as you did on the back of your pants.
- Finally, slide the buckles on your suspenders to shorten or lengthen the straps to help give you a perfect fit. Most suspenders are adjustable, although those that aren’t – such as leather straps – tend to be hand-crafted.
2. The Right Way to Wear Your Suspenders
Now that we’ve talked about how to put on your suspenders, let’s move on to the right way to wear them – at least the right way according to experts. Keep in mind that suspender fashion continues to evolve, but we want to cover the basics.
- Coordinate them with your shoes
One of the most basic, and oft-mentioned, fashion strategies for wearing suspenders says that you should always coordinate the color of your suspenders with the color of your shoes, not the least of which is your button-on attachments.
- Coordinate with your tie
Your suspenders and your necktie, or bowtie, occupy the same visual plane on your body. That’s why it’s important that both items should complement each other, as well. If you wear solid-colored suspenders, it’s wise to wear patterned ties in which the colors of the two items match. If your suspenders are patterned, then the same rule applies for your tie – it should be solid or, at the most, discreetly patterned.
- Coordinate with your shirt and pants
If you don’t want to coordinate your suspenders with your tie, you can always coordinate them with your shirt and trousers. If you aren’t that concerned about coordinating your suspenders, that’s OK, because, for the most part, suspenders often are covered up by something else, such as a suit jacket or vest. So, you have some free reign when it comes to mixing and matching colors and patterns, but don’t go overboard.
- No belt? No loops!
If you don’t wear a belt it seems fairly obvious that you shouldn’t wear pants with belt loops in them. Suspenders present a cleaner look when worn on plain waistbands, and it also shows your firm commitment to wearing suspenders. You should only wear suspenders with pants that have belt loops for casual occasions, if at all.
- Clips or buttons?
There’s nothing wrong about suspenders with clip-on attachments, except that – at least in the world of fashionistas – button-on attachments represent a classier, more formal look. Of course, if you’re a man who wears suspenders only for their basic purpose, to keep your pants up, then you’re probably not too concerned about whether your clip-ons may look tacky. There’s nothing wrong with clip-on suspenders, although some style experts dismiss them quickly.
- Suspenders and pants
Suspenders look good and work best on pants that are of a mid-to-long rise. Suspenders with low cut pants – that sit on your hips – isn’t a good look by any means. The bottom line: suspenders should keep your pants hanging at your waist level, or just above it.
- Leave some room in the waist
Your pants should be a little loose in the waist and have some room in the hips and the upper legs when you wear them with suspenders. Moreover, you should also “float” the waist rather than having to tighten a belt up under your gut – which makes suspenders the ideal choice for men with bigger bellies.
- Remember, your suspenders don’t have to be public
Suspenders, in a traditional sense, anyway, should be covered by a jacket, vest, sweater, etc. They’re not always an accessory that you should show off, but these times are a’ changing. Still, it’s cool if someone only gets a peek at those stylish suspenders under your jacket.
- Place your buckles here …
Suspender buckles should rest in the center of your torso, or at least very close to it. Whatever you do, don’t allow them to end up by your shoulders and collarbones.
What’s Better – Suspenders or Belts?
If there’s one thing suspenders and belts have in common it’s that their primary purpose is to keep your pants from falling to your ankles. Nothing too complicated there, and we all need something to keep our pants about our waists (or at least most of us do). Make no mistake, however, suspenders and belts have plenty of differences, as well as advantages and disadvantages.
Suspenders – Old School, Making a Comeback
The chances are that your grandfather, or at least his grandfather, wore suspenders. And his grandfather and his … well, you get the picture. Suspenders go back, way back, and in the 1820s a British designer named Albert Thurston began manufacturing suspenders in the same style as we know them today.
Thurston was smart enough to capitalize on a trend – the trend being that men wore the waist of their trousers so high in those days that a belt couldn’t keep them in place.
Suspenders continued to have a solid foothold (and pants hold) until their popularity wavered a bit in the early 20th century, when lower-waisted pants meant suspenders were no longer a necessity. However, they made a comeback in the 1960s as a fashion statement – especially among British men – and they now represent a revival of 20th-century style and, yes, class.
It’s hard to deny that, whether worn with casual or more formal clothes, suspenders have a certain classiness and sophistication that’s both nostalgic and modern. Then again, there’s much more to suspenders than style, such as:
- Comfort – Belts may constrict you at the waist, especially if you’ve eaten too much or gained a few extra pounds. Suspenders hold your pants up without tightening the waist, so you don’t have that constricted feeling.
- Good posture – Believe it or not, suspenders are said to improve your posture. They put slight pressure on your shoulders, which causes you to straighten up and have better posture. In most cases you don’t even know you’re doing it.
- You look thinner – Many, many men would like to look thinner, especially as aging causes their bodies to change. Many folks feel that suspenders make you look a few lighter because they add a vertical visual to your wardrobe..
- Your dress shirts look better – A belt that clinches your waist tightly causes your dress shirts to bunch up, and give you the look of someone who slept in his clothes. Suspenders help you keep your shirts looking sharp.
- Suspenders are a fashion accessory – True, your suspenders have the very important job of keeping your pants from slipping off of your waist and down your legs, but they’re also very fashionable – especially these days. A belt, meanwhile, is a bit more subtle and often goes unnoticed. With suspenders, you have more room to show off your style.
- You have a lot of choices – It’s not that you don’t have a lot of choices when choosing belts, but suspenders …well, from everything to color to accessories, you’ll have plenty to think about when choosing a pair for yourself.
Belts – Keeping Your Pants Up For Centuries
Belts have even a longer history than suspender; some experts say you can trace their roots to cavemen and cavewomen. But historians also tell us that belts didn’t fully catch on until the early 20th century, although you’d be hard-pressed to find a man today who hasn’t worn one.
The basic belt style hasn’t changed much over the years and consists of a long, tapered piece of leather or other material that goes around the waist. It’s not hard to adjust them to fit comfortably, although there’s no denying that it’s possible to eat one’s way into a larger size.
Belts come in a variety of styles and you can find one for any occasion, whether it’s a formal dinner party or a casual outing in which jeans suffice. They also help break up your wardrobe and provide a nice contrast to your overall color scheme (which includes your shirts, shoes, and pants). A stylish belt buckle can add some flash to your wardrobe, as well.
While a belt may not draw the attention of others like suspenders, they do add nuance to the midsection of your body. Some men choose to go beltless, but that’s not always a wise choice when wearing pants that have belt loops in them. After all, those loops may stick out like a sore thumb.
Can you wear suspenders with pants that have belt loops? The truth is, you can do anything you want, but it will make your “look” less formal. The key, however, is to make sure your suspenders match your shoes.
Belts are a good option if your pants are too big because they press the pant material against your body (while suspenders hold your pants straight up).
One of the “problems” with belts is that you must wear them – and the waistband of your pants – below the stomach. That’s not a great look when your belly has bulged excessively. Suspenders, on the hand, allow you to wear your pants higher than the waist, which means your gut isn’t quite as noticeable. And that’s never a bad thing.
How We Chose Our 6 Best Suspenders For Men
The number of suspender brands and styles is enough to make anyone’s head spin, which is great for the customer but not so easy when you try to weed through them to pick a best-of list. Narrowing the list down meant looking at several factors – not the least of which is how well the suspenders “held” a man’s pants in the proper position, i.e., at the waistline.
We considered many other things, as well, such as quality of craftsmanship, what type of clothing they best paired with, the quality of hardware such as clips, and if they fit men of almost any body type. We also looked at the reviews of others – particularly customer reviews – and considered the price.
In the end, we think it’s a well-rounded list that will help you decide what brand and type of suspenders work for you.
As always, we encourage your feedback, thoughts, suggestions, etc. What brand and type of suspenders do you wear? What do you like – and perhaps not like – about them? Have you tried any of the suspenders on our list?
We’d love to hear from you.