The History of Suspenders

The origin of suspenders can be traced back to France in the 18th century. Back then they were strips of ribbon attached to the buttonholes of trousers. Benjamin Franklin is said to have worn braces, so it seems worrying about his trousers slipping down was the last thing on his mind. 

Back then, it was not acceptable to have the undergarment on show and was still risqué in 1938 when a town in Long Island, New York tried to ban men from wearing them without a coat covering them up.

In the 1820s, it was the fashion to wear high waisted trousers that were so high, a belt couldn't be used to hold them up. That is when British designer Albert Thurston designed and manufactured the first known modern suspenders.

One of the first U.S patents for suspenders was issued in 1871 by Mark Twain, who happens to be one of the most famous writers of all time. When metal clasps were invented in 1894, suspenders were manufactured to be clipped onto the trousers instead of being buttoned - which was far more comfortable.

Different types of Suspenders in 1918. Police, Easy slides, Simpsons and Special Bretels.

Suspenders became less popular in the 20th century when trousers were no longer worn so high. That didn't mean that they vanished completely, as Doctors would suggest men with a rounder physique wear them. Humphrey Bogart and Ralph Richardson would wear them in their movies, the latter actually rushing out and buying six pairs when world war II broke out, fearing there would be a shortage when fabric was rationed.

The British skinheads adopted suspenders in the 1960s, to 'em-Brace' the working class look, with Malcolm MacDowell wearing them in the infamous movie A Clockwork Orange.

Malcolm MacDowell wearing Suspenders in the infamous movie A Clockwork Orange

Bracers are timeless and say a thousand words about a person. They have come along way from their original use and have taken on a purpose that greatly surpasses it as just an accessory to keep your trousers from falling. They represent freedom, style and individuality - this is why we at Baron Bretelle take pride in what we do. Suspenders have a rich and fascinating story, and we make it our mission to immortalize this in every stitch that goes into our handcrafted products. We owe it to all those that have had a helping hand in making them a success over the last 300 years, and above all, we owe it to you.

The History of Suspenders