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The Origin Of Mens Braces

The Origin Of Mens Braces

Posted by Wendy on 9th Jul 2022

Mens BracesBrace Yourself!

Whether you call them braces or suspenders, they have been around in one form or another for centuries. While the style and fashions have evolved, the concept remains the same. The simple purpose of braces is to hold up trousers.

However from what started as a necessary accessory (did I really just say that) braces have become a fashion classic.

It is believed that the first known "suspenders" were worn in eighteenth century France and were basically lengths of ribbon or leather fastened to the trousers. The first modern braces were made by Albert Thurston in 1820 and sold from his fashion emporium in London's Haymarket. 

So how did this fashion accessory come about? Well, ever the entrepreneur, Albert Thurston started making braces from the box cloth offcuts from the lung protectors he was producing, thought at the time to protect people from tuberculosis and pleurisy.

Albert's original braces used leather loops to fasten to buttons sewn on the waistband. Albert Thurston is still making these in the UK today. View our capsule collection of Albert Thurston braces you might recognise some of them from the movies! See if you can find the style worn by Michael Douglas in Wall Street or James Bond's famous white braces.

The introduction of metal clasps in the late 1800's allowed suspenders to be clipped to the trousers and heralded the demise of pants with buttons on the waistband. And while clip on braces are by far the most popular, purists would never deviate from their beloved button braces.

The first US patent for suspenders was granted in 1981 to a gentleman called Samuel Clemens - better known as the celebrated American writer Mark Twain.

The most common styles of braces these days are X and Y back

The X back has its origins in the H back, where the two suspender straps are fastened together forming the letter H. This gave way to the ever popular X back. Today the Y back is considered more stylish by some, but it all comes down to personal taste.

Braces have come a long way and you can buy many different types, from classic fashion braces to ultra soft braces that you can wear under your shirt.  You can even get braces with plastic clips and adjusters so they won't set the metal detectors off at the airport.

And many celebrities can be seen wearing braces and not just on the big screen. Check out our post on celebrities wearing trouser braces.