Do you have a favorite belt and pair of suspenders that you would like to wear with your outfit of choice, but are not sure if you have the option to wear them together? Knowing how to properly accessorize your outfit with these fashionable and practical embellishments will add a lot of style and class to your outfit.
Understanding the purpose of belts and suspenders will help you to make a knowledgeable decision whether or not you should wear a belt with suspenders.
It is not fashionably acceptable to wear belts with suspenders. The purpose of wearing a belt or a pair of suspenders is to keep your pants from falling. It is not reasonable or necessary to wear both with the same outfit. Also, suspenders are made to attach to pants using clips or buttons.
This may seem to limit our fashion options, but there are several contributing factors for this fashion rule beyond the practicalities. Let’s take a closer look into this.
Why Belts and Suspenders Don’t Go Together
We know that is it unacceptable to wear belts with suspenders because it is duplicating their purpose. However, it is helpful to know some other factors that make it unacceptable.
Draws Undesired Attention – When we choose an outfit, we want to look our best. The accessories that we add to our clothing are a way of expressing ourselves to others. When belts are worn with suspenders, it automatically draws attention to our waistlines. It is an unflattering and bulky look with the belt.
Waistline Shape – No matter our size, our waistlines are designed to be curved or rounded. Wearing suspenders with belts takes away our natural curves and converts our waistlines into boxlike blockish shapes. No one wants to be a square. Not only does it look uncool, but it looks very geometrically unnatural.
Fashion Sense – If you want to make a good impression at work, on a date, or at a glamorous evening social function, then you want to keep your look clean and tidy to obtain elegance. We all are different and have individual fashion statements that we make daily. One of the main keys to elegance is simplicity. Wearing belts and suspenders simultaneously is too much. Anything or place that is over-decorated becomes cluttered, gaudy, and overcrowded. The same goes with how we dress. When we add too many unnecessary accessories to our outfits, we become unappealing to the eye. Unfortunately, we are often judged by how we dress. When you have on too much it could ultimately prevent you from getting the promotion that you want, or from meeting that person that you would like to meet. Having fashion sense goes beyond looks; our ability is often judged by it.
Added Weight – Exercise is a legitimate reason to be weighted down. Other than getting toned, most of us do not enjoy carrying around extra weight. Since suspenders and belts are both designed to keep our pants up, wearing both is an unnecessary added weight to every step that you take. For example, if you have on one pair of pants, then there is not a need to put a second pair of pants on top of the first pair. All that does is weigh you down more, and it makes you uncomfortable. The same applies to wearing suspenders with belts. Most belts weigh in between 8 to 12 ounces. Life is all about balance, and too much of anything changes class to clutter.
Wear and Tear – Suspenders are made to attach to pants or fabric. If suspenders attach to belts, they can damage them. Whether your belt is made of leather or any other material, you would have to clip suspenders to it. Clipping them would cause indentations in your belt which would eventually cause your belt to crack and peel faster than normal which decreases the lifespan of your belt.
Suspenders Vs Belts: What to Wear
Knowing how to choose which accessory will work best with your outfit is key.
Suspenders add formality to clothing. They particularly look great with formal wear for special events such as weddings and other special formal or semi-formal occasions. Belts look better with professional, casual, or dressy-casual styles. However, belts can look great with semi-formal outfits as well.
We all come in different shapes and sizes and what may look good on another person may not work well on you. Two particular points of interest that make a difference is our height and our weight.
Research shows that petite people should avoid horizontal stripes and wear vertical strips instead to elongate the body. Suspenders attach to our clothing vertically thus automatically visually elongating the body. Belts divide our upper and lower bodies in half. When we are petite this can make us appear even more petite.
Taller individuals can wear horizontal stripes well. Vertical stripes on a taller person elongate the body making it appear even longer. Since suspenders are worn vertically, they elongate the body. It doesn’t look bad, but tall people should be aware of this fact. Belts can be a preferred option in the right setting.
If you are heavyset, wearing a belt will call attention to your waistline. Your belt will slip under your stomach causing the focus to be on your stomach in a “beer belly” look. On the other hand, suspenders keep the pants pulled up above the stomach where the actual waistline is. This look is more flattering.
If you are thinner, wearing suspenders will make you look skinnier. Wearing a belt would look more complimentary.
Can You Wear Suspenders with Belt Loops?
Suspenders are made to be clipped or buttoned to pants, however, they can be worn with belt loops as a less formal option. Since belt loops are designed for belts to keep your pants up, they will work fine for suspenders as well. This is fashionably permissible. However, when suspenders are worn with belt loops, it makes your outfit look more relaxed and homelier. When you are looking for a more professional or formal look, it would be wise not to take this fashion route.
Do You Attach Suspenders to Pants or Belts?
Suspenders are made to attach to pants. It is permissible to attach them to belt loops for a very casual look, but they are made to fasten to pants.
Suspenders have clips, buttons, or trigger snaps to fasten them to your pants. Suspenders with clips are more casual and are very easy to attach. The alligator clip is particularly easy to use. It simply clips onto your pants.
Suspenders with buttons are used in formal settings. These types of suspenders are also known as braces. If you are wearing a tuxedo for a special event, most formal occasion pants have buttons already on them for your braces.
If you are going more casual and want to attach your suspenders to your belt loops, then choosing trigger snaps as your fastener will work best. Trigger snaps resemble key chain hooks that you press to hook.
Suspenders with interchangeable clips and buttons are available as well.
Is a Suspender Better than a Belt?
It is not too often that we think of our clothes as a way to improve our health, but suspenders and belts can each affect our health for better or worse.
Suspenders: Research shows that suspenders are the healthier option. Most of us compress our spines every day whether we are standing or sitting. This is not a good thing. When we are not sitting or standing fully upright, we are slouched down. It is medically proven that slouching causes spinal disc compression. Slouching causes back and neck pain.
When suspenders are worn, you have to sit or stand upright, or your suspender straps will fall off of your shoulders. Wearing suspenders make us more alert and aware of our posture to keep our outfit looking sharp. When you have proper posture, this keeps your spine correctly aligned.
Belts: Wearing a belt properly is perfectly healthy. However, if you wear a belt too tight around your waist, you could cut off circulation at your waist. Being careful as to what belt hole you use goes beyond how you look. You should be able to breathe normally when wearing a belt.
How to Wear Suspenders?
We know that you can clip, button, or snap your suspenders onto your pants. However, you need to know where to place the straps before you fasten them to your pants.
There are two common alphabetic ways to wear your suspenders.
The most common ways are called the X shape and the Y shape. The reason they are alphabetic in the name is that they look like those letters. Wearing your suspenders in one of these shapes gives you the support and elasticity that you need.
The X shape suspender is adjusted to connect the two straps at the middle of your back. The two straps intersect at that point before being attached to the respective backside of your pants forming the X shape.
The Y shape suspender is worn by attaching both straps, evenly aligned in the same place, to the middle of the back of your pants, and then they are adjusted to split off towards your upper back into two straps before they come over your shoulders to the front of your body. The straps make a clear Y shape in the back.
The less common universal way suspenders are worn is in the H shape. This is more common for traditional German wear called Lederhosen. If you have ever seen the famous film The Sound of Music, then you will notice that the boys in that film wore Lederhosen styled suspenders in the traditional H shape. You must buy special suspenders to have this shape.
Should I Wear a Belt or Suspenders with a Suit?
Suspenders offer a more formal and elegant appearance. When we are wearing a suit, we are dressed up for work, or we are dressed up for a special occasion.
On the other hand, belts come in many different styles and shapes and can add a lot of flare to our suit pants as well.
Because suits are worn in different settings, knowing which accessory will work best for you can seem confusing, but the answer is easy.
Belts work well with casual business attire. If your job requires you to wear suit pants to work every day, then wearing a belt with your suit would be more stylish and efficient. You will still be dressed up in your suit, but the belt will add a more everyday style to your suit.
If you are attending a formal or special occasion event, then suspenders would give your suit more class. Most special occasion suits have buttons for suspenders, and suspenders will make your special occasion outfit shine fabulously.
It can be disappointing that you can’t wear your favorite belt with your favorite pair of suspenders, but we know that it is not practical or fashionably acceptable. It does not make common sense or look nice to duplicate the function of holding up our pants.
We all strive to look our best we get dressed. Let’s use the knowledge that we have gained by properly wearing suspenders and belts to raise our standard of dress.