For a suits, go with navy, black or grey, and for shirts, stick to blues and whites. It’s possible to wear a pinstripe suit with a bow tie, but make sure the stripe is subtle.
Scarf Knot Style: The City Slicker
Scarf Knot Style: The Sophisticate
Scarf Knot Style: The Ivy-Leaguer
Scarf Knot Style: The Connoisseur
Scarf Knot Style: The Jet Setter
Scarf Knot Style: The Weekender
Wrap It Up
If you’ve made the decision to wear braces (suspenders) in lieu of a belt, you should be commended. You’ve made a decision to take the sartorial road less traveled, and in so doing, opened yourself up to a world of style previously unavailable to you.
Every garment we wear has “rules” associated with it, and suspenders are no exception. How do manage to wear suspenders in an aesthetically pleasing way?
Read on for our top tricks for how to wear suspenders.
Top Nine Tips & Tricks For Wearing Braces
1. Coordinate With Shoes
The button holders should coordinate with the color of your shoes. This is a good rule of thumb except in the case of white braces that are worn with a tuxedo, in which case you’ll obviously be wearing black shoes.
Additionally, if you’re a bit more advanced in terms of your color matching prowess, you can break this rule within reason. For example, Bespoke Unit Founder Paul Anthony often wears exotic leathers in non-traditional colors that don’t always match when wearing braces. We’ll go more in depth in terms of “uncoordinated coordination” in step three below, but know that once you’ve demonstrated mastery of the rules, you have some license to bend them.
Such is the way with clothing and in life, we suppose.
2. Coordinate With Your Outfit…
Logic and a decent sartorial sense dictate the guidelines for wearing suspenders well. Braces live on the torso, which means they share the same visual plane as the tie. Therefore, your tie and braces are the first things that you should coordinate.
The standard pattern and color mixing concepts apply for which are some basic, quick tips:
If coordinating with your tie is something you can’t or don’t feel like doing, the next garments to consider are the dress shirt and trouser. Again, the same pattern and color mixing guidelines apply. Note above how there’s blue in the tie, shirt, and suspenders, while the yellow in the tie also hearkens back to the shirt.
Finally, suspenders are similar to socks in that they spend most of their time covered up by another garment (trousers in the case of socks, waistcoats and / or jackets in the case of braces). With that in mind, you have some license in terms of what you coordinate your suspenders with. It really just depends on your skill, comfort level, and audience.
Let’s assume you’re going to a wedding and you want to wear braces with your suit. Sure, you can wear blue suspenders to coordinate with your purple-and-blue striped tie. But if your socks are, say, blue with green polka dots, who’s to say you can’t wear some green braces to call out those dots? We wouldn’t recommend this for a board meeting, but it’s a great move on a more festive occasion.
3. …Or Don’t Coordinate At All
Braces live underneath a jacket or vest, as such you have a lot of leeway in terms of color and pattern. You can theoretically let your suspenders do their own things and be just fine.
4. Don’t Wear Clips & Never Wear A Belt With Braces
No clip-on suspenders please, and NEVER a belt. Combining the two gives off an air of extreme pessimism, to paraphrase Glenn O’Brien:
Clip-ons are decidedly bush league, corny, and whatever other synonyms you can think of for those words, and wearing a belt with suspenders indicates a man who’s far too concerned with keeping his pants up.
5. Belt Loops?
Ideally, trousers worn with suspenders will not have belt loops, which look conspicuously empty when worn without a belt. Still, if everything else in the outfit is pulled off well, you can get away with it:
Side adjuster tabs are still perfectly acceptable, however, and can be seen in action below:
6. Trouser Rise Should Be High
Low-rise pants simply don’t look right with suspenders. Opt for trousers that sit at your natural waist, not your hips. This is a physical comfort issue as well.
7. (Somewhat) Looser Trouser Waistband
Braces are known to allow your pants to “float” around your waist, which is part of their value. To achieve this, they must be a bit looser than your snug trousers.
Braces are de rigeur with formalwear. Formal trousers take either side tabs and / or braces, and traditionally the braces are white. Under no circumstances should you wear a belt.
9. Adjuster / Buckle Placement
All braces, even custom ones, have buckles so that length can be adjusted. It used to be that braces were sold in set sizes like belts were (32, 34, 36, etc.), which was very helpful in terms of keeping the buckles where they should rest, which is pretty much right in the center of the torso.
Nowadays, braces are all sold in one set size, which is quite long so as to accommodate tall men. With that said, men under 5’10” or so can run into issues of having buckles up around their collarbones.
Do You Know How To Put On Suspenders?
Knowing how to wear suspenders with style is definitely important knowledge for any man. However, it won’t matter if you don’t know how to put them on!
We have created a very detailed step-by-step guide on how to put on suspenders in case you need help. Have a look!
Classic Suspender Pairings For Men
Suspenders With Jeans
Full disclosure: we do not care for the braces-and-denim look. Knowing that, if you choose to wear this combination, you might as well do it correctly.
The most important thing to do is retrofit your jeans with brace buttons. Clip-on suspenders, as mentioned above, are bush league no matter how you slice it. In other words, they come across as half-hearted and considerably less than authentic.
Furthermore, clip-on suspenders will be ineffective when undertaking manual work. Therefore, if you’re pairing them with jeans and undertaking some heavy-lifting, they may well come undone when you least expect it.
Having addressed the need to wear proper, to-button suspenders with denim, the next thing to talk about is material. Most suspenders nowadays are made from rayon, while others are made from necktie silk (the latter is particularly true in the world of custom clothing).
While silk suspenders have a nice feel to them, they tend to not be as durable as rayon ones. When we talk about the rougher aesthetic aspects of denim, it stands to reason that silk suspenders are just too delicate a look to pull off. Stick with rayon, whose rougher texture will sync more harmoniously with the more casual vibe of jeans.
Finally, the question of width comes into play. Any suspenders worth wearing are either 1.25″ or 1.5″ wide. Similar to belt width, any narrower or wider and they will start looking costume-y and silly.
Just as you typically wear wider belts with jeans, so should you wear wider suspenders with denim. Again, this goes back to the concept of sartorial harmony; generally speaking, “bigger” is synonymous with “more casual,” and your jeans-with braces outfit will look better when you keep this in mind.
Wearing A Bow Tie & Suspenders
Wearing suspenders and a bow tie is a classic combination that makes for a natty presentation if you do it right. If you do it wrong, you end up looking like a hipster who goes nuts for Disney theme parks’ Dapper Day, which is anything but dapper.
What’s the difference between right and wrong here? Adherence to or disregard of the no clip-on rule.
For the third time, clip-on suspenders are simply a non-starter. Clip-on bow ties are similarly a non-starter as they look too perfect and lack the style necessary to be truly pulled off. If one or both of these elements is clipped on, your look is doomed.
On the other hand, if you tie your own tie and button your braces to your trousers, the chances of you looking actually dapper go through the roof.
Braces With A Tuxedo
Wearing braces with a tuxedo is a wonderful idea, though it’s not necessary if your trousers stay up on their own (tuxedo trousers often have side adjusters). Just make sure they’re white, and know that they can be paired with either a cummerbund or a vest.
Suspenders With A Vest Or Waistcoat
You can certainly wear suspenders with a vest. In fact, a hundred years or so ago when braces were considered underwear, a waistcoat was meant to cover them up, in addition to the brace buttons which lived on the outside of the waistband.
A word to the wise: give yourself a few extra moments when using the bathroom while wearing braces with a waistcoat. What was once a one-minute time investment becomes a multi-step process when you have to remove a vest before relieving yourself!
Suspenders have the potential to add a lot of style to your presentation. This is not just because they look good on their own as a standalone item, but also because the increased comfort and mobility will allow you to carry yourself in a more comfortable way physically. Feeling comfortable in what you wear is perhaps the most underlooked aspect of style.
As the frost begins to spread across the land, it becomes ever harder to leave our tightly tucked quilts. What we need is something equally quilted.
Like a jacket made of a quilt. A quilted jacket, if you will. And even if you’ve never been pheasant shooting in the three counties let us tell you, it’s a gloriously cushy thing.
Giving it these posh-boy connotations isn’t too unfair when you find that the style started life as a quilted vest actually meant for shooting in the mid-1960s. The quilting part refers to garment that stitches at least two layers of cloth – traditional quilted jackets add a third layer of padding to create that distinctive diamond pattern.
The first version was made out of a synthetic polyester to help with the soggy British weather while the quilting element provided a light, natural insulation without the need for the ethically dubious down padding like its less posh cousin the puffer (although some options do contain down).
Later versions brought waxed cotton to the mix for a softer feel, while the early green and navy versions have remained the standard go-to shades, as the style grew in popularity largely thanks to its flexibility of movement and its dressed-up but still casual appearance.
Pair with a smart cotton button-down shirt and chinos for a look that reeks of the countryside, or a crew neck and slim jeans for a contemporary appearance better suited for shooting the breeze at the pub than any wild game.
The Best Brands For Quilted Jackets
Barbour has been outfitting outdoorsy types since the 19th century, and although it hasn’t been making quilted jackets for as long as that, the style has still become synonymous with the British heritage brand. Having started life as the Countryman jacket in 1979, Barbour changed the name of its flagship QJ to the Liddesdale in 1994 after the valley of the same name in the north of England (a spot where a warm quilted jacket would certainly not go amiss).
The Liddesdale, which consists of a corduroy collar and a diamond pattern, isn’t the only quilted jacket in the Barbour armoury though, with other popular versions including the Edderton which comes with a shorter, blouson cut and the Chelsea Sportsquilt which is modelled after the ones worn by horse riders.
In its two decades, Jack Wills has positioned itself as the offspring of Barbour so while papa is galavanting around the estate in his Land Rover and Barbour jacket, the heir to the family jewels can crawl to lectures in their Jack Wills quilted car coat.
And with a flannel lining, corduroy collar and chunky front pockets there ain’t much difference between this version and the Barbour Liddesdale, apart from the branding and being less spenny of course.
If there’s anything Burberry does well it’s reeling off British classics with a high fashion edge (and adding that oft-repeated, never bettered Burberry check). It’s not all about the style with the luxury fashion house on this one though, with cutting-edge thermoregulation technology to help keep your core body temperature at the ideal 37.5°C to go with the sharp Harrington cut and that check.
Shooting a little younger than the other British brands on this list, Superdry aims for the streets rather than the well-beaten country road on its quilted jackets.
And so we get an icy blue side stripe bolting down the sleeve, a protective hood because a flat cap is too sepia-toned for street style and a chevron styled pattern leading into the more traditional diamond up top.
By definition shopping at a department store can be a mixed bag, but with British chain John Lewis, quality is guaranteed (it’s quite literally ingrained in the brand). Its own brand quilted jackets are a particularly safe option among a hard-to-go-wrong style.
Its classic version is made out of a waxed cotton so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in one of those pesky showers, while a slim fitting mid-length cut flatters those broad shoulders.
Don’t forget to add Ted Baker into the mix for star baker in the great British quilt off. The premium high street retailer excels at shaking up design standards like the quilted jacket, and so we get a classic Harrington shape cut to the waist with a square, not a diamond pattern and a jazzy inner lining to flash at passersby.
Preppy giant Gant is targeted at a bit more of the older gent than its fellow American rivals, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, a demographic where the quilted jacket is fertile territory. Cut like a field jacket with extra length at the hem and more room around the body and waist this QJ is forgiving enough for all gents to sport, and with padding made from recycled material. Wait, did we just say sustainable? Well, that’s one more reason to buy.
The quilted jacket is the jewel in the Joules outerwear crown and that’s quite enough puns so let’s move on swiftly to the brown outer making a welcome change from the standard blue, the longer lengths and the bevvy of pockets.
And outside of Barbour, the British country lifestyle clothing brand has one of the widest collections. So quilt us up, Joules, we’re ready to get snug.
Having repositioned itself from solely a heritage brand to a luxury sportswear maker championed by the likes of David Beckham and Brad Pitt earlier this decade, Belstaff has made a habit of taking classic outerwear out of its stuffy cupboard and into a box labelled cool as a leather-clad cucumber.
Case in point is its reinvention of the quilted jacket, which is a lot less country bumpkin and a whole lot more motor racing rogue, clad in super sleek black with reinforced shoulders that mimics the brand’s stylish leather jackets.
In a list dominated by British brands it’s refreshing to see the Italians rearing up into the QJ dogfight. It’s a mighty fine stallion too – the imperious Emporio Armani – the second brand from Giorgio Armani and one of only two that is designed by the ledge himself.
This quilted bomber jacket is indicative of the range – all-black and as slick as a dollop of hair gel – you’ll probably catch Keanu Reeves slo-mo repping this in the Matrix 4.
Now we have to admit you won’t catch grime superstar Stormzy in a quilted jacket. Really, what? Shut up? Adidas do a quilted jacket? Maybe you just might then, along with all the other hypebeasts and rappers who worship the sportswear brand, with this glossy jacket that takes after the traditional Adidas track top (you know that one that Stormzy fella wore in that video) with the addition of a striking zig-zag pattern.
Nail the casual winter look with this outfit. From the bottom up: brown suede Chelsea boots, straight leg denim, think grey jumper over a sharp white shirt capped with your heavy parker
As iconic as their music, the Wu-Tang clan and their range of apparel sets out to make classic rap statements. Simple in design, powerful in image.
In his 1989 — 1990 season, it was clear that MJ was better than ever. Setting a points per game personal record, he drained 69 points against Cleveland. He hit 92 three-pointers, compared to only 68 in all prior seasons combined. Every aspect of MJ’s game was flawless, but it was his dogfight-like flight that separated him from every other player on the planet.
Tinker Hatfield took inspiration from Jordan’s biting style and, likening it to an American WWII fighter plane, he designed the Air Jordan V with shark-tooth shapes on the midsole. Paired with a clear outsole, the shoe a imbued a ferocity reminiscent of its relentless muse.
Tailoring though has never really gone away. Sure, it’s had its lulls in popularity, but if you want to look properly turned out there’s only one way to go – suited.
And the most suited of them all is the three piece. This of course means wearing a waistcoat, perhaps the sharpest way to instantly take your suit from prom relic to boardroom ready.
Waistcoats have been around since the birth of modern menswear, and today are about as classic as it gets. Wearing one is far from a walk in the park though, and there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to fit, style and what to wear them with.
So, whether you want to impress at your next job interview or fancy adding this overlooked piece of tailoring as part of your permanent line-up, we’ve rounded up the best waistcoat brands and will explain just what it takes to pull off this divisive garment.
How To Wear A Waistcoat
Despite being a timeless piece of menswear, the waistcoat comes fraught with dangers. Take the last decade as a cautionary tale: every manufactured boyband worth their salt was sporting some kind of waistcoat, accompanied by a ludicrously low-cut T-shirt and ill-advised beads in most cases.
Style crimes aren’t all you need to look out for though, technicality is important here too. Find a design too tight and you’ll look like an overstuffed sausage, go too loose and you’re the barely visible page boy buried in panic-bought polyester.
Your waistcoat’s fit should enable you to put a hand snugly beneath the closure without any strain on the buttons. Oh, and speaking of buttons, always leave your bottom button undone, those are just the rules.
The smartest way to wear a waistcoat is as nature intended – wear as part of a three piece suit. For a formal look the waistcoat should appear as an extension of your suit, so a design in the exact same colour and fabric as your blazer and trousers is preferable. That’s not to say that you can’t add a lone waistcoat to your existing tailoring line-up however.
It can work if you opt for one that’s an almost identical colour and texture to an existing suit, which’ll keep things feeling harmonious.
A navy, pale grey or charcoal suit worn with a corresponding colour waistcoat, white shirt, tonal tie and black dress shoes may not be groundbreaking, but it’s foolproof.
Taking the waistcoat off piste and informal is a little trickier, but it can be done. Wearing it with a T-shirt is a seriously bad idea; try instead opting for a shirt worn without a tie. In the spirit of David Gandy, a grey or camel herringbone design will make a handsome companion for a blue chambray shirt worn unbuttoned at the collar. Stick on some black slim jeans and some black penny loafers and you’ve just done what the haters said wasn’t possible: successfully worn the waistcoat without a suit.
Where To Buy A Waistcoat
Marks & Spencer
Like Southgate himself, Marks & Spencer is humble, unshowy and doesn’t do too much fanfare. As such, we’d forgive you if you missed that fact that this stalwart of the British high street has upped its tailoring game considerably in recent years.
Here you’ll find reasonably priced waistcoats in practically every shade of navy and grey you could think of, which is the ideal if you’re looking to colour match to a suit already hanging in your wardrobe.
Those hoping to rock a waistcoat without looking like an extra from Peaky Blinders could do worse than head to Topman which goes modern on fit, fabric and design.
With most examples on offer sitting comfortably under £50 and with a few style curveballs (horseshoe and shawl collars) thrown in for good measure, there’s plenty to love about Topman’s take on this icon of tailoring.
Thanks to an unwavering commitment to quality at a fair price, John Lewis has become one of Britain’s best-loved brands.
But, if you thought that this mid-market heavy hitter was average on the menswear front, then take a look at its waistcoat offering which is chock full of Italian fabrics and attractive designs. It’s fine tailoring, but it’s extremely democratic.
It’s near impossible to both remember the correct pronunciation of Charles Tyrwhitt and to not think of the brand on mention of the word ‘waistcoat’. With just a fleeting glance at its comprehensive range you’ll see why it’s synonymous with the latter.
While every waistcoat may be woven from wool, there are lots of design variation to get stuck into with enough different linings, finishes, colours and collar styles to ensure you’re spoilt for choice.
Tailoring at high-end high street retailer Reiss bridges the gap between shiny flammable polyester horrors and bank account battering Savile Row numbers – its waistcoats unsurprisingly follow suit. In a largely conservative colour palette, to the untrained eye the brand’s offering of waistcoats may look reasonably straightforward, but slim-fits, double jetted welt pockets and interesting weaves bring the old classic bang up to date.
Hawes & Curtis
Hawes & Curtis is a big name in men’s formal tailoring, and if the sheer volume of waistcoat design options from the brand is anything to go by, it’s a reputation that’s very much deserved. Styles here come patterned, plain, in a healthy range of colours and for the maximalist, there’s a smattering of designs which feature a contrast colours to the reverse. If you can’t find a waistcoat to suit your needs at Hawes & Curtis, you’re frankly being way too picky.
Since its foundation over 100 years ago, TM Lewin has grown to become a familiar fixture on high streets and at train stations, which means that levelling up your waistcoat game could scarcely be easier.
Expect to find designs crafted from pure Italian wool, a variety of button designs and options and styles of fit designed to suit every man’s taste.
Launched in the year 2000, Suit Supply may be much younger than its storied competitors in men’s tailoring, but the Dutch brand got up to speed with the competition impressively quickly.
Alongside cotton and wool designs, the label is particularly skilled at producing linen waistcoats, which are just the thing for staying sharp and sweat-free if you’re at a summer wedding.
Gieves & Hawkes
With its flagship location sitting pretty at number 1 Savile Row, it’s no big shocker that British institution Gieves & Hawkes has got its finger on the pulse of the world of tailoring. The brand’s waistcoats distil all of that tailoring knowledge into designs which err on the traditional side, prizing quality fabric, exacting craftsmanship and timeless style above all else.
If you’re in the market for a luxury investment piece but don’t want to make your bank manager weep, make Gieves & Hawkes your final destination.
Regularly worn by one of Britain’s best suit wearers (Mr Gandy, FYI), Chester Barrie is a tailoring brand which goes a long way to dispel the myth that Savile Row is for wadded geriatrics only: at any given London movie premiere, a piece of the brand’s tailoring is near guaranteed to be pacing the red carpet.
Waistcoats from this purveyor of fine tailoring do that rare thing of fusing timeless style, obvious quality and a surprisingly reasonable price tag: consider us card carrying members of club Chester.
An unlikely bit-player in one of summer’s cinematic dramas has been the humble moustache. Or, to be more precise, the face-furniture attached to actor Henry Cavill. This became an issue because extensive reshoots for Justice League overlapped with the filming of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, for which Cavill had been required to grow a moustache (which he was then contractually prohibited from shaving). The realities of stunt-work meant that Cavill couldn’t wear a falsie for M:I, so Warner Bros took the hit and removed the offending ‘tache from his reshoot scenes using CGI (the results of this have not entirely impressed fans).
But with such a high profile role celebrating the elaborate nose-warmer, are we due to see a renaissance in top-lip grooming this season? With the hipster beard possibly reaching the end of its lifecycle, this could be the next follicular frontier.
But if we’re going to reclaim the muzzy from 1980s footballers, Latin American dictators and retired Northern Irish paramilitaries, which moustache style should you be going for? Well, in descending order…
The closest to a naturally grown-out shape, the Chevron is a deceptively tricky style to pull off unless your name is Tom Selleck or Ron Swanson. It can balance out big facial features and conveys a certain old-school, ‘eighties dad’, anti-fashion power but you need a decent thickness of hair and growth to avoid looking like a schoolboy who’s trying to buy a pint.
It works best as part of a generally macho look, so try and put some gym-bulk on before growing this, and perhaps pair it with a heavy, unreconstructed scent for maximum alpha-maleimpact.
The least showy, but the most easily executed of these styles – a classic workmanlike moustache, paired with a lightly developing beard. A look that suggests you did have a well kept Chevron, but a week or so of fighting crime, defending your property and generally being rugged has let it slip a little. Less eye-catching than a clean-shaven face as there’s a reduced contrast in the skin-and-hair tones, but you do need a decently even stubble growth to make this work.
This moustache style suits dark colouring better as lighter hair can make you look a just scruffy rather than ‘relaxed.’ This is Henry Cavill’s moustache in Mission: Impossible so expect to see it appearing on your high street imminently (albeit on men who don’t look quite as heroic as Cavill).
The pencil was originally conceived as an elegant, minimalist reaction to the overbearing facial hair of the Victorians. Popularised by Hollywood idols, it only later became shorthand for the more furtive gentleman – and to this day, it does conjure up images of chaps conning lonely widows out of their savings or selling hooky nylons to London’s women during World War II.
This isn’t to say it can’t be revived in a modern context though (take a bow, Jamie Foxx), but be warned that it will require almost daily shaving to maintain its clean lines.
If you’ve got small features, it can work well. However, if paired with a scruffier look or long hair, there’s a real risk of getting into ‘amateur sorcerer’ territory (Jack White is a prime offender).
An extremely strong personal statement. Associated with Hulk Hogan, Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, 80s leather ‘clones’ like the guy from the Village People, and amphetamine-addled bass-wielding metal god Lemmy from Motorhead, this is an absolutely no-half-measures moustache style.
Not advised for anyone with a long narrow face as it will give you a certain equine aspect, and it needs to be considered as part of a complete outfit: it will go perfectly with head-to-toe biker leathers or broken-in double denim. Not such a good fit with something you picked up in TK Maxx to wear to the football.
A tricky case to call: on its own merits, a fine moustache style that demonstrates real commitment to growth, grooming and upkeep.
But it has unquestionably suffered from association with retro-bores who have tainted it with the whiff of ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ posters, ear-bleeding, irony-laden electro-swing music and Blitz-revival club nights.
It’s adaptable to most face shapes, so if you are going to try out the Handlebar, either contrast it with a simple workwear-inspired outfit, or go for something smart, preppy and Ivy League (or, like it’s most famous exponent, Rollie Fingers, a baseball kit). In short, if your moustache is shouting for attention, then your outfit shouldn’t be.
The absolute big daddy of facefuzz, best exemplified by actor Sam Elliott. A shaggy, grown out, big-beast, perfect for the larger gentleman, anyone with a huge nose or a wide face.
It can make you look prematurely old, so think carefully about committing to this style. Be prepared for some gentle ribbing from your less fashion-forward peers, along the lines of ‘Careful you don’t get harpooned you big fat bastard’.
Also, check that your significant other isn’t going to dump you rather than be seen with someone who looks like they spend a lot of their free time playing Magic: The Gathering and watching The Discovery Channel.
The Anchor Beard
Perhaps the worst facial hair style ever devised – and one that even the patron saint of male grooming, David Beckham, has fallen victim to – a combination of a pointed beard that traces the jawline and peaks in a sort of below-lip soul-patch, sitting below a disembodied moustache.
A statement which hints at long hours arguing on Youtube comment threads about Pick-Up Artistry, in-depth re-watchings of The Matrix, and ownership of at least one sword (or ‘mastery of the blade’ as this kind of helmet would doubtless term it).