A suit or tuxedo is the best choice for men when they want to look smart for special events. A black tuxedo or suit always creates a lasting impression.
One of the staple accessories that work best with both a tuxedo and a suit are suspenders. When worn in the right way, they can create a truly chic and classy look.
But how do you wear suspenders with your suit? And is there anything you need to look out for when wearing them under your tuxedo jacket?
We put together some guidelines on how to wear suspenders with your favorite tuxedo or suit.
You may even find that you love suspenders so much that you want to add them to your day wardrobe as well.
What Are Suspenders?
Suspenders, also commonly known as braces in other countries, are a stylish alternative to your standard belt.
Traditionally, suspenders were designed to simply hold a man’s pants up. However, over the past years, suspenders have become a true fashion accessory that many men don’t want to miss.
Suspenders come in all sizes, colors and even different patterns. When pairing your suspenders with a tuxedo or wedding suit, then black suspenders can make you look more dashing and smart.
If it’s not smart but more casual that you are after, then you can simply add suspenders to your casual outfit and create a more cheeky look.
Suspenders are a great way to play with patterns and colors in your outfit but whatever style of suspenders you choose, you are guaranteed to add interest and a personal touch to your style.
Suspenders are available in many different designs, colors and even styles. One particular style option is the width of the suspenders.
If you choose thin suspenders, they are typically better suited for more casual designs. These skinny suspenders to add a more funky look to your ensemble.
The width of your suspenders can make a big difference to the message that you want to send with your style, so it’s important to choose carefully.
Unless you want to create a really unusual look, then it’s best not to choose too thin suspenders with your tuxedo or suit.
For a suit, it is best to go for a slightly wider suspender strap, which is much more suitable for formal outfits.
Wide braces help to create a look of maturity with your suit, which is typically much more suitable for occasions which require a more formal dress code.
Types Of Suspenders
While you may think that suspenders don’t appear to be very controversial, when it comes to the different types of suspenders, there is a lot of debate what braces match best with what.
Generally, there are two different types of suspenders: button suspenders and clip-on suspenders.
Some style-conscious men firmly believe that button suspenders are the real thing, and that you should never wear clip-on suspenders.
The less traditional fashionistas claim that you can wear whatever makes you feel happy, while others say that it is best to avoid clip-on suspenders.
The exact use of suspender type with your outfit is up to your personal preference. Typically, men do not wear clip-ons with a tuxedo or suit because they create a more casual look which isn’t suitable for formal settings and black tie events.
Clip-on suspenders can be a great option when you are wearing something more casual, and you want to show off your personality.
If you want to stand out with your casual wear then choose a strap that’s thinner.
How To Put Your Suspenders On
Suspenders are just made up of a few straps, so putting them on should be easy, right?
It may not look like it but there is a real technique when it comes to putting your suspenders on in the right way, especially when you are using button suspenders.
Spread Your Pants Out
First, you will need to spread your suit pants out on the floor or your bed. You should be able to see inside the waistline.
Attach The Button Tab To Back Loops
Next, you need to attach the front tabs to the buttons at the front of your suit pants. Do one side first, and then do the other one.
Then turn your pants around, and attach the button tab on the back of your suspenders to the buttons on the back of the suit pants.
You will need to make sure that they face the wrong way, or they will end up twisted.
Try Them On
Once you attached the suspenders to your pants, it’s time to try them on. Pull your pants on, tuck your shirt in and fully close the pants before you pull the suspenders up.
Once done, you can pull the braces over your shoulders and adjust the sizing buckles to ensure they fit comfortably.
Where Should You Place Your Suspender Buckles?
While we talked a lot about the straps of suspenders so far, braces also have buckles that you can use to adjust the straps to your size.
As suspenders usually are designed with a one-size-fits-all approach, you will need to make use of the buckles for a proper fit.
Try to adjust the buckles until the suspenders fit comfortably around your shoulders. As a rule of thumb, the size adjusters should sit in your mid-torso area.
However, this may not be the case for everyone depending on your height and waist size.
Typically, men who are a little shorter will have to pull the buckles a little higher to make sure that their suspenders don’t drop off their shoulders.
In turn, this means that the suspender adjusters will sit nearer the stomach for a taller man.
How To Wear Suspenders With A Suit
Wearing a suit is an art in itself, but it certainly doesn’t have to be difficult. Your suit doesn’t have to be expensive either to look the part.
The most important thing when you want to combine your suit with suspenders is that you choose a well-fitted suit that compliments your body shape.
With a suit that fits well, you can create a very smart look, even without suspenders.
If you then choose to add braces and other accessories, you are guaranteed to look dashing.
It’s also worthwhile adding good quality shoes and a classic tie to your outfit.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to look out for when you want to combine your suit with suspenders.
Color Combinations For Suits And Suspenders
The right color combination of your suspenders and suit will depend very much on your personal preferences and what you want to achieve.
Generally, when you pair a business suit with suspenders, it’s best to play it safe and only use muted colors, such as black or navy blue.
Choose suspenders that are a single color which matches your suit. If you prefer to create a subtle contrast, then you can also opt for black suspenders with a gray suit.
You can also go with suspenders that feature subtle stripes with muted gray or blue. It’s important here not to choose any vibrant colors, if you want to wear your suit at work or in a formal setting.
You can always get your flashy suspenders out on more casual occasions or suitable special events.
As a rule of thumb, when you first start wearing suspenders, we would recommend to get black suspenders. They work well with any dark suit.
If you prefer to make a clear statement and you want to show your character, then you can also use a bold, solid color for your suspenders.
This is often a surprising, personal touch at special events.
The Right Suspender Color And Dress Shirt
Not just your suit has to match with the suspenders, but also your dress shirt is important. If your shirt has a pattern, then it’s best to stick with suspenders that have a solid color.
On the other hand, if your shirt is a solid color, then it is fine to experiment with some individual designs on your braces.
It’s worth pointing here that the colors of your suspenders and dress shirt do not have to match. It’s even better when they create a slight contrast, so your suspenders do not get visually lost.
After all, you do want people to see at least a little bit of your suspenders.
Match Your Tie With The Right Suspenders Color
Another accessory that needs to work well with your suspenders is your tie. As both of these fashion accessories sit in the same body area, you need to make sure that they do not compete for attention.
If you choose the wrong tie-suspender combination, you run the risk of overwhelming the eye with a very busy ensemble of patterns and colors.
If you pick a patterned tie, then it’s a good idea to keep your suspenders a solid color.
However, similar to the colors with a dress shirt, if your tie is a solid color, then you are free to try a few different suspenders with patterns.
Having patterns on both your tie and braces can be a bit much, but that depends on how busy the patterns are.
When it comes to color combinations, it’s best to find complementary colors or colors that are picked up in the pattern. For example, if your tie has red roses on with some green leaves, then you can easily go for red or green solid suspenders.
Match Your Shoes With Suspenders Color
For the perfect look, you will also need to consider the style of your shoes when you want to wear suspenders and a suit.
Make sure that the leather on your button holders matches the color of your shoes. Typically, you should always any leather accessories with the same color leather throughout your outfit.
Just like with any rule however, there is also an exception, namely when you wear a tuxedo.
White suspenders have become very popular when wearing a tuxedo, and you should always wear black shoes with a tuxedo.
This means that if you want to wear white suspenders, then you likely won’t be able to match them with your shoes.
The Right Suspenders Thickness With A Suit
As mentioned above, the thickness of your suspenders can make or break the look of your outfit.
Traditionally, men wear wide suspenders with a suit. That is mainly because historically suspenders were practical and had to be wide enough to hold up pants of any size in any situation.
For a business suit or formal suit, it’s best to wear suspenders that do not have thin straps, as you want to look smart without being too bold.
We recommend that you wear suspenders that are between 1.25” and 1.5” thick with your business suit.
How To Wear Suspenders With A Tuxedo
We mentioned already a number of different rules on how to wear your suspenders with a tuxedo.
A traditional tuxedo includes black pants, a black jacket, black shoes and a black bow tie. You will typically also wear a white shirt and black suspenders in formal settings.
The dark suspenders will really stand out against the white tuxedo shirt. However, white suspenders have also become very popular recently, and they blend in a lot bit more with your shirt.
So, if you are looking for a little more muted style, then feel free to go with some white suspenders.
But it doesn’t always have to be black or white for your suspenders. You can also opt for navy blue or midnight blue straps, as long as they do not have a pattern.
Depending on the exact type of the formal event you are attending, you may be able to get away with a little design twist with your suspenders.
For example, if the event celebrates an anniversary, then you might get away with a pop of color.
Don’t forget that you should use button suspenders when wearing a tuxedo. Clip-on suspenders do not look as classy and elegant as their button counterpart.
If you are wearing a tuxedo for the first time, we recommend that you stick to black throughout with a bright white shirt. You can never go wrong with the classic tuxedo style.
Style Options To Wear With Suspenders
There are also some other accessories that you need to consider when wearing suspenders.
Here are some guidelines on how to wear suspenders the right way.
Suspenders And Belts
One of the biggest fashion faux-pas is wearing a belt together with suspenders, and if you think about it carefully, then it makes perfect sense why.
Both suspenders and belts used to fulfill exactly the same function: they hold your pants up. This means they would naturally clash with each other, and you simply do not need both.
Traditionally, pants that were worn with suspenders would not even have belt loops, so you couldn’t even get tempted to wear a belt.
Unfortunately, most trousers in modern times are designed to be used with belts, and while not many people suspenders an accessory for everyday wearing, it’s important that belt loops stay empty when wearing suspenders.
Choose Pants With A Higher Rise
Most pants in your wardrobe are designed to sit around your hips. This is a very common style for trousers in modern times.
However, back in the days when suspenders were invented, pants sat much higher up. This means that when you use suspenders today, you should opt for pants with a slighter higher rise around your waistline.
This does not just make them look better but your pants and suspenders will also feel more comfortable.
Proper Trouser Waistband
Modern men are used to a much tighter fit around the waist today. If you wear higher rise pants however, you will notice that the fit is a little bit looser.
That’s because your pants sit comfortably on your hips. A looser fit around the waistline and hips means that you will naturally need suspenders to hold your pants up.
So, with high-waisted pants you do not just get the chance to wear suspenders but they are also much more comfortable to wear.
Accessories That Can Be Paired With Suspenders
You can pair suspenders with a number of different accessories. They create little accents that finish the look of your outfit.
If you choose to wear a tuxedo, then one of the best accessories to add is cufflinks or studs, so instead of normal buttons on your tuxedo shirt, you can place either button studs or cufflinks.
They will hold your shirt together with style, and they are also an opportunity to add a little bit of personality to your outfit.
There is a large variety of cufflinks, so you just have to find the right one for you. You can go for a basic metal design which would match most suspender buckles beautifully.
Alternatively, some cufflinks also have a little gem which adds a bit more color to your outfit.
Another way to add interest to your tuxedo or suit is a pocket square which sits in the pocket of your jacket.
If you have suspenders in a solid color, then you can choose a suitable accessory with a pattern that features the same color.
One thing to mention here is that your pocket square should be the same color as your shirt, so they match well and finish the style of your suit or tuxedo.
One of the best accessory however that you can use to make a statement is a bow tie or a tie.
Ideally, you should use a subtle tie as it sits between your suspenders. However, they should not fully match. It’s worth trying out a few options to make sure that it doesn’t look overwhelming.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although we covered a lot of our best tips on suspenders and how to wear them, there is so much more which we haven’t covered, so here are the answers to some of your burning questions.
Can You Wear Suspenders With A Tuxedo Waistcoat Or Vest?
Yes, you can wear your suspenders with box a vest or a tuxedo waistcoat. In fact, this was how suspenders were originally worn.
It looks very smart and makes for a great combination.
Can You Wear Suspenders If Your Pants Have Belt Loops?
Although most suspender fashionistas prefer to only use high waist trousers that do not have belt loops, it is acceptable to wear pants that do have belt loops.
However, always remember that you should never wear a belt when wearing suspenders.
What Fabric Should You Choose For Tuxedo Suspenders?
As you want to create an elegant, classic look, it’s best to go for silk suspenders with your tuxedo.
Alternatively, you can also choose a good quality ribbon material.
Should You Choose Clip-on Or Button Suspenders With Your Tuxedo?
You should always wear button suspenders with a tuxedo, as they look much more mature and classy.
Clip-on suspenders can look a little more funky and they are therefore typically used in a more casual setting.
Suspenders are a great way to add more interest to your suit or tuxedo but you need to follow some basic guidelines when wearing suspenders to create the right look for the occasion.
Suspenders can also be worn in a more casual setting, either with casual pants or jeans.