AskDefine | Define suspenders

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A pair of straps crossing one's shoulders and extending down to one's trousers, where a clip or button arrangement allows them to affix to the trousers, ensuring that they will not fall off. Braces.
  2. Small straps, attached to a suspender belt, that hold up a woman's stockings. Garters.

Extensive Definition

Suspenders or Galluses, known as Braces in British English, are elastic fabric straps worn over the shoulders to hold up trousers. The entire strap of braces may be elasticated, or only at attachment ends, with the most of the straps being of woven cloth with either a X-Back or Y-back crosspatch and leather end tabs. Braces typically attach to trousers with clips or, less commonly nowadays, with buttons. In British English the term suspenders or suspender belt refers to a garter belt, used to hold up stockings.


There have been several precursors to braces throughout the past 300 years, but the modern type were first invented in 1822 by Albert Thurston, and were once almost universally worn due to the high cut of Mid-19th and early 20th-century trousers; this cut made a belt impractical as trousers of the time were made to be worn noticeably higher than modern ones. Braces originally had an H-back; later x-backs were invented and finally, y-backs.
As modern underwear was not created until the 1930s, the brace tapes on one's Union suit would usually be looped through the braces, linking them to the trousers.
Modern elasticated (and better-fitting) garments may have played a part in braces falling out of vogue. Many business people, newscasters (most famously Larry King) and lawyers, however, still wear braces, whether for image or comfort, and they are regarded as fashionable by most men's fashion experts in America. Such braces are usually considered white collar wear and are of high-quality, which means that they are made to be buttoned to trousers.
It is sometimes considered faux pas to wear both suspenders and a belt at the same time. This is referenced in the film Once Upon a Time in the West. Other films however, such as The Mummy (1999) and numerous John Wayne films, show many characters doing this.
Braces are also popular with some women, but as more of a fashion statement than for practicality.

External links

  • Suspenders - G. C. Hale
  • Improvement in adjustable and detachable straps for garments
suspenders in German: Hosenträger
suspenders in Esperanto: Ŝelko
suspenders in French: Bretelle (vêtement)
suspenders in Hebrew: כתפות
suspenders in Dutch: Bretel
suspenders in Japanese: サスペンダー
suspenders in Portuguese: Suspensório
suspenders in Russian: Подтяжки
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