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. 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
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 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.