Are suspenders still in style?

Are suspenders still in style?

Q. I would like to have my next shirts made with my monogram, but I am not sure about placement. I wear suspenders with all of my pants and do not want them to cover the monogram. Are they still appropriate, and where should they go?. . . for that matter, are my suspenders still in style?

A. Many men like monograms. Others don’t. It is totally a matter of personal preference and certainly appropriate if you want them. For those who choose to show their initials, certain guidelines exist. Discreet is the operative word. Showy monograms are in a league with diamond pinky rings.

The lettering should be small – not much larger than one fourth of an inch in height – and set in a straight line. The letters should be in the order of first, middle, and last name, and embroidered in medium blue, navy, or black.

Monograms are worn in one of two places – both may be slightly obscured by suspenders, or “braces” (as they are referred to in upscale men’s stores). First choice is on the body of the shirt a few inches above the belt on the left side. This may sound strange if you have not seen it before, but it is correct, and a strong first choice. Second choice is on the upper part of the pocket. There is no third choice; a monogrammed cuff is too showy a placement, and a monogrammed collar is unspeakably gauche.

A monogram often implies that a shirt is custom made (which I believe you are considering), although this is certainly not always the case. Any shirt can be monogrammed. One of the handsomest looks I have seen was a fine French-cuff shirt made of pale blue cloth in a mini-herringbone pattern. The monogram was placed unobtrusively above the belt line in blue a shade deeper than the shirt. You should be able to have the monograms placed so that they are not covered by your braces.

I commend you on your style of wearing braces; they add dash to an outfit. Although they are an optional element in much the same way as shirt monograms, men who wear them think of them as an essential part of “their look.” They help trousers hang better. When you wear them, your trousers should be ever-so-slightly larger in the waist; in that way, they are suspended from the shoulders.

For those new to braces, this size adjustment can be made at the same time that the tailor sews in the six buttons necessary for wearing your suspenders. Never wear clip-on suspenders. All of the sophistication is lost if you wear those metal clips – the kind created to attach children’s mittens to their snowsuits.
When you mentioned that all of your trousers have suspenders, I’m hoping that means that they do not have belt loops. As the oft-heard expression tells us, wearing a belt and suspenders offers the ultimate in safety. However, I definitely do not advise it. Wear one or the other, but both at the same time is overkill. Because this is the case, I strongly recommend that men decide whether they will be a guy who wears braces all the time, or not. The tailor can easily remove the belt loops at the same time as he is sewing those six buttons inside the waistband.

Wearing braces introduces a whole new signature element to one’s appearance. Ideally, the color of your braces should coordinate with your shirt or tie color. As to patterns, the sky is the limit; you can be subtle with quiet silk stripes and prints, or you can go wild with whimsical patterns (including prints that reflect your hobby or your industry). Designs add a note of personality and individuality to your appearance . . . as does a subtle monogram.

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