Brace Yourself

(Albert Thurston)

Albert Thurston evening braces featured on Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale”

One of the many valuable things I learned from Alan Flusser’s Dressing the Man is that better suspenders are sold in sizes.  As with waistcoats and cummerbunds (which were also sized in the past), I’ve come to realize that “one size fits all” really means “one size makes do”.  Such accessories accommodate obese men by using long buckled straps that on other men become an abundance of excess material.   In the case of suspenders men have to accommodate this excess by hoisting the shiny metal clasps up to their chest where they are much more likely to be visible.  Even for gentlemen polite enough to keep their dinner jackets on throughout the evening, if they’re not wearing a waistcoat then the upper portion of the braces will inevitably peek out at some point.

The good news is that this distraction can be minimized by having non-sized suspenders altered to remove the redundant fabric which in turn allows the clasp to be properly (and discreetly) positioned down near the waistline.  The clasp, in turn, can then be hidden entirely by a cummerbund or waistcoat which will also conceal the suspender ends.

Another trick to minimize brace exposure is to use white dress suspenders, a perfectly correct option for black tie.  In the case of white dinner jackets this is really the only option if black suspenders will show through the coat’s unlined fabric.

On a related note, I normally recommend Albert Thurston for sized evening  braces as they’re the only company I know of that still makes them.  But when I checked their web site today I discovered that even they have now reverted to a single “multifit” size.  (Sigh.)

8 Comments

  1. Brandon

    I ordered a pair of Albert Thurston white moire braces (as seen in Casino Royale) around October last year to wear with my dinner jacket for my company Christmas party. At the time, they still offered them with different size options. It looks like they switched to the “one size fits all” multi-fit option sometime earlier this year.

    Reply
  2. A. R.

    Glad I got three new pairs last year.

    Reply
  3. jovantheun1337

    Why, Thurston, WHY?!

    This is disappointing news, but I’m glad to hear that a solution such as altering them is possible. Do you know who one should go to if they wish to have this done?

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall

      Flusser suggests a shoe repair shop but I use a dry cleaner that provides alteration services.

      Reply
    2. A. R.

      Any good tailor should be able to do the job as well.

      Reply
  4. Will Boehlke

    A Sitable Wardrobe still offers Thurstons in sizes, including three styles for evening.

    Reply
  5. Serpens Albus

    When I bought my dinner suit I was fortunate enough to find pants with adjustable side tabs. As the pants fit perfectly I consider braces redundant.

    To me, that is (along with hidden shirt buttons) one of those totally acceptable “modern” improvements of the dinner suit, whereas braces are in my humble opinion more traditional.

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall

      If the side tabs keep your trousers perfectly placed throughout the evening then I would agree there is no practical use for suspenders. However, I suspect that for overweight men this would not be the case, at least not without pulling the waistband so tight that it becomes uncomfortable.

      Reply

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