Chipp2 Gets Some New Suspenders

Our friend Paul over at Winston Clothiers/ Chipp2 recently added suspenders to his small, but growing, line of men’s accessories. These are made from tastefully striped or solid grosgrain silks, leather fittings, and metal hardware. The price is $42.50, which –- much like the price of his handmade grenadine ties -– is a lot lower than most of his competitors. And, like those ties, these are made in New York City. 

Why wear suspenders? Well, a few reasons:

  • They’re much more comfortable than belts. Since your waist can expand when you sit, and return to its smaller circumference when you stand, belts are often only comfortable in one of these positions. Suspenders, on the other hand, allow you to have a little extra room at the waistband to accommodate for these changes.
  • They’re better at holding up your pants. This might be the best reason. Belted trousers have a tendency to slip down throughout the day, which requires you to constantly adjust them. With suspenders, you can set the desired length, put them on, and never have to bother with them again.
  • They help your pants drape better. For whatever reason, I’ve found suspenders help pants drape better, particularly at the back. Even if the pants have been custom made for you, belted trousers often have a bit of bunching below the seat. This issue goes away with suspenders.

There are a few things you need in order to wear suspenders, however. Most obviously, you need the buttons on the inside of your waistband in order to attach the leather bits (these often come standard on high-end trousers, but can be added by a tailor if you don’t have them). You also need something cut with a mid- or high-rise (do not wear suspenders with low-rise pants).

You can order Chipp2’s braces at their website or at their store at 28 West 44th Street in New York City. If you can do the second, I’d highly encourage it. Paul is a wonderful man, and an absolute pleasure to talk to. If you allow him, he’ll tell you all sorts of great stories from the heyday of Ivy Style (his father founded Chipp in the late 1940s, after starting his career at J. Press. In his time, he became famous for his madras jackets and for being one of John F. Kennedy’s tailors. You can read about some of this company history at the blog Ivy Style).

Note: Chipp2 is going to be an advertiser with us next month, but our advertising and editorial processes are separate. Besides, we’ve long written about his business and have always liked what he does.

Q and Answer: How Should I Wear Suspenders?
Joe asks: I really want to start wearing suspenders for work. It is a shirt and tie shop but not necessarily the suit crowd. I have one pair of pants in my closet of 20 that actually has buttons. Do I really have to replace the other 19 pair of pants or can I get the clip on suspenders?
We’re big proponents of suspenders here at Put This On. As a general rule, they’re more comfortable than a belt, reduce the amount that you have to mess with your pants, and pretty much keep your shirt tucked. They’re not for everyone, but I certainly wear them as frequently as reasonably possible. Suspenders are particularly comfortable if you carry a bit of weight in the middle, since your gut (be it small or large) doesn’t push down your trousers. (One note: generally in the UK, what Americans call suspenders are called braces. Typically “braces” is a bit of a fancier way of saying it, but generally, they’re interchangeable.)
There is a catch, though: suspenders are generally underwear, not outerwear. Nobody wants to be a Larry King. Suspenders are best hidden under a coat, or at the very least a sweater. Some say no one but you and your beloved should see your suspenders. I’m not that dogmatic - I take off my coat when I sit down to work - but I think they should be worn in a situation where you can reasonably expect that they’ll mostly be covered by your jacket.
Furthermore, suspenders work best with higher-waisted trousers that fit a bit more loosely around the waist than their belted counterparts. Belted pants must grip your hips with sheer friction. Pants with braces hang cleanly from the shoulders. The best pants for suspenders, of course, are fish-tailed pants. They’re designed to take the back central buttons a bit higher than the waistline, which gives a clean line to the back of the trousers. You probably won’t find those, though, unless you’re buying custom clothes.
As a result of this convergence of small reasons, most ready-to-wear clothing simply isn’t prepared to accept braces.
So where does that leave you?
First of all, clip-on suspenders are only appropriate if you’re on a work site. Even then, you can get a pair of Carharrts with metal fasteners for your suspenders that’ll hold those pants steadier than any clip. In an office environment, do not wear clip-on suspenders.
Second, you can convert non-suspender-supporting pants into ones that will work with your choice of holder-upper by having a tailor or alterationist add a few buttons. Again, this is more appropriate for pants with a longer rise and higher waist, but it’ll work on pretty much any pants. It’ll also be cheap - maybe $5 or $10. You can even have them remove the belt loops while they’re at it if you like.
Most likely, your best bet will be to wear a mix of belts and braces for the time being, as you add buttons to your trousers and add trousers designed for braces.
(Photo by Akeg)

Q and Answer: How Should I Wear Suspenders?

Joe asks: I really want to start wearing suspenders for work. It is a shirt and tie shop but not necessarily the suit crowd. I have one pair of pants in my closet of 20 that actually has buttons. Do I really have to replace the other 19 pair of pants or can I get the clip on suspenders?


We’re big proponents of suspenders here at Put This On. As a general rule, they’re more comfortable than a belt, reduce the amount that you have to mess with your pants, and pretty much keep your shirt tucked. They’re not for everyone, but I certainly wear them as frequently as reasonably possible. Suspenders are particularly comfortable if you carry a bit of weight in the middle, since your gut (be it small or large) doesn’t push down your trousers. (One note: generally in the UK, what Americans call suspenders are called braces. Typically “braces” is a bit of a fancier way of saying it, but generally, they’re interchangeable.)

There is a catch, though: suspenders are generally underwear, not outerwear. Nobody wants to be a Larry King. Suspenders are best hidden under a coat, or at the very least a sweater. Some say no one but you and your beloved should see your suspenders. I’m not that dogmatic - I take off my coat when I sit down to work - but I think they should be worn in a situation where you can reasonably expect that they’ll mostly be covered by your jacket.

Furthermore, suspenders work best with higher-waisted trousers that fit a bit more loosely around the waist than their belted counterparts. Belted pants must grip your hips with sheer friction. Pants with braces hang cleanly from the shoulders. The best pants for suspenders, of course, are fish-tailed pants. They’re designed to take the back central buttons a bit higher than the waistline, which gives a clean line to the back of the trousers. You probably won’t find those, though, unless you’re buying custom clothes.

As a result of this convergence of small reasons, most ready-to-wear clothing simply isn’t prepared to accept braces.

So where does that leave you?

First of all, clip-on suspenders are only appropriate if you’re on a work site. Even then, you can get a pair of Carharrts with metal fasteners for your suspenders that’ll hold those pants steadier than any clip. In an office environment, do not wear clip-on suspenders.

Second, you can convert non-suspender-supporting pants into ones that will work with your choice of holder-upper by having a tailor or alterationist add a few buttons. Again, this is more appropriate for pants with a longer rise and higher waist, but it’ll work on pretty much any pants. It’ll also be cheap - maybe $5 or $10. You can even have them remove the belt loops while they’re at it if you like.

Most likely, your best bet will be to wear a mix of belts and braces for the time being, as you add buttons to your trousers and add trousers designed for braces.

(Photo by Akeg)

Q and Answer: Suspenders and Belts
William writes: What are your thoughts on wearing braces/suspenders?  Personally, I love the look, but a suit without a belt makes no sense to me. Is it overkill to wear both?
Particularly for relatively high-waisted pants, I love suspenders (or braces, as they’re known in the UK).  Particularly for those of us with, let us say, ill-defined waists, they can really help keep pants up and shirts down.  I also find them exceedingly comfortable.
A few guidelines:
Avoid clip-on suspenders, unless you’re a contractor and need help holding up a tool belt.  (In which case, you should definitely get the kind that looks like a measuring tape.)
Suspenders should be under a coat or vest.  Wearing them (as Andre Benjamin is above) as an accessory should be reserved for skins and people comfortable with sartorial power moves.
Don’t wear a belt and suspenders, it’ll make you look like a tool.

Q and Answer: Suspenders and Belts

William writes: What are your thoughts on wearing braces/suspenders?  Personally, I love the look, but a suit without a belt makes no sense to me. Is it overkill to wear both?

Particularly for relatively high-waisted pants, I love suspenders (or braces, as they’re known in the UK).  Particularly for those of us with, let us say, ill-defined waists, they can really help keep pants up and shirts down.  I also find them exceedingly comfortable.

A few guidelines:

  • Avoid clip-on suspenders, unless you’re a contractor and need help holding up a tool belt.  (In which case, you should definitely get the kind that looks like a measuring tape.)
  • Suspenders should be under a coat or vest.  Wearing them (as Andre Benjamin is above) as an accessory should be reserved for skins and people comfortable with sartorial power moves.
  • Don’t wear a belt and suspenders, it’ll make you look like a tool.
Q and Answer
Lars writes:
So, here’s my question.  I’m interviewing for a medical residency (the bit of education after you graduate medical school) and this requires a suit and a lot of getting up and walking around places.  Now, lets just say I don’t have a flat gut.  I always find that if a wear a belt I’m either constantly adjusting the waist of my pants to have them sit properly or that the belt is so tight its uncomfortable.  Are suspenders (the real ones that button in to your pants on the inside of the waistband) an acceptable solution?  I’ve tried them out and they’re great!  They solve all my problems!  But my girlfriend says they are an abomination unto the Lord and shouldn’t be worn.  What are your thoughts?
I really couldn’t agree with you more, Lars.  I wear suspenders (aka braces) whenever I get the chance for exactly the reasons you just explained.  No more shirt mushrooms!  No more tugging on your waistline!  I love it!
However, let’s go over some ground rules.
No clips-ons.  You are not a Mork From Ork, you are a GENTLEMAN.  If the pants don’t have suspender buttons, just wear a belt like a normal person.
No novelty suspenders.  Especially ones featuring golfers.  Barf city.  Keep it simple - burgundy, navy, cream, black, etc.
When you’re wearing suspenders, you should be wearing a coat, waistcoat or sweater.  Suspenders are like undershirts - they should be functional, but never visible.  (Got that Larry?)
Some pants are designed for suspenders - no belt loops, suspender buttons, and a split waistband that swoops up a bit in the back.  Get those, and you’re good as gold.  But we’re not picky.  We’ll settle for the presence of suspender buttons.
Because suspenders are just that great.

Q and Answer

Lars writes:

So, here’s my question.  I’m interviewing for a medical residency (the bit of education after you graduate medical school) and this requires a suit and a lot of getting up and walking around places.  Now, lets just say I don’t have a flat gut.  I always find that if a wear a belt I’m either constantly adjusting the waist of my pants to have them sit properly or that the belt is so tight its uncomfortable.  Are suspenders (the real ones that button in to your pants on the inside of the waistband) an acceptable solution?  I’ve tried them out and they’re great!  They solve all my problems!  But my girlfriend says they are an abomination unto the Lord and shouldn’t be worn.  What are your thoughts?

I really couldn’t agree with you more, Lars.  I wear suspenders (aka braces) whenever I get the chance for exactly the reasons you just explained.  No more shirt mushrooms!  No more tugging on your waistline!  I love it!

However, let’s go over some ground rules.

  • No clips-ons.  You are not a Mork From Ork, you are a GENTLEMAN.  If the pants don’t have suspender buttons, just wear a belt like a normal person.
  • No novelty suspenders.  Especially ones featuring golfers.  Barf city.  Keep it simple - burgundy, navy, cream, black, etc.
  • When you’re wearing suspenders, you should be wearing a coat, waistcoat or sweater.  Suspenders are like undershirts - they should be functional, but never visible.  (Got that Larry?)

Some pants are designed for suspenders - no belt loops, suspender buttons, and a split waistband that swoops up a bit in the back.  Get those, and you’re good as gold.  But we’re not picky.  We’ll settle for the presence of suspender buttons.

Because suspenders are just that great.