Flashback: Braces-Attached Waistcoat

(Courtesy of Anthony Jordan)

(Courtesy of Anthony Jordan)

In my previous post I discussed the tab used by some waistcoats to keep them firmly attached to the trouser waistband.  Well, here’s a vintage variation that takes the concept to a whole other level: waistcoats that double as suspenders.

This invention rolled two accessories into one by providing the waistcoat with front tabs and rear straps that attached to the trousers’ suspender buttons in place of traditional braces.  Presumably the idea did not catch on because I have only ever seen two references to it, both from the 1930s.  That’s why I was quite surprised to come across a photo of just such a waistcoat recently at the vintage menswear forum The Fedora Lounge.  The owner, Anthony Jordan, graciously agreed to provide additional photos so the garment could be properly chronicled in the Guide’s virtual museum of formalwear.

1934, George W. Heller Inc.

1934 George W. Heller Inc. ad for a brace attachment that could be added to any of their backless waistcoats.

1936, F.R. Tripler & Co (UK)

1936 F.R. Tripler & Co. ad for an English full-dress waistcoat “with braces attached”.

(Courtesy of Anthony Jordan)

Reverse side of dress waistcoat by London shirtmakers Rendell & Son (also shown at top of page) with X-straps in back. (Courtesy of Anthony Jordan)


  1. Cygnus

    That’s a very inventive mix, but it seems to me that the space between the tabs on the front would tend to pucker unless the waist was cinched up quite tightly.

  2. CharlesM

    Fascinating, but having the waistcoat pulled up tightly enough to suspend the trousers would seem very restrictive and not too comfortable.

    Some of the other models in the Heller ad also raised a question. Since, presumably, in that era the waistband for “regular rise” trousers would lie somewhere around the natural waist, and the waistcoats for “English rise” were quite a bit shorter, does that say that the waistband for “English rise” fell just below the ribcage? Or were “regular rise” trousers cut lower that I thought?


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