Thick or thin, with buttons or clips, made of elastic fiber, leather or shiny silk... We are talking about braces, an accessory that here at The Outlierman we take very seriously. Born with a purely functional purpose – to literally hold your pants up – braces (suspenders for you Americans out there) nowadays occupy a special place in history (and in our closet) as a refined and comfortable alternative to the more constrictive belt.
Already popular during the French Revolution, first introduced in the early 1800s, braces were considered an undergarment to hide in the 1900s. Although over time they have taken various impressions and styles, braces have remained an accessory capable of attracting attention and communicating ideas and strong aesthetics. A stylish detail of timeless charm, also popular in the business environment for it's ability to enhance the elegance of a man's outfit in a refined and distinctive way.
The first known modern braces were designed by Albert Thurston in 1822 and sold in his boutique at 27 Panton Street in London. Thurston’s first models began with the "H-back" but, little by little, the model evolved to have the "X-back" and utimately to the more elegant "Y-back", which is what we have chosen for our collection of braces.
Even the "ears" (the bottom part of the suspenders with eyelets) have adapted over time to better fit customer needs and trends. The first "clip-on" appeared around 1870, roughly 50 years after Thurston introduced his first models, for the delight of versatility supporters. Thanks to metal clips, in fact, you could now use the braces even with pants that did not have the designated attachment to the braces.
Now we are seeing split supporters, those for the eyelets – considered more elegant, and those for the clip ons – considered better adapted towards more modern looks. We opted for a model that features both clip-ons and eyelets, which can be removed and replaced, for your ever changing self expression, like the ones who chose for The Icon and The World Beater collections.
Fun fact: did you know that braces were considered a token of love during the Victorian era in England? In fact, no gentleman in that time would even be considered commited before receiving a pair of braces as a gift from his significant other.
Honestly, how could you not appreciate the value of that tradition? Here at The Outlierman, we believe in the act of giving distinct and unique gifts this holiday season, products handcrafted and manufactured with the utmost precision and care. Which is why we love our collection of silk braces; all unique and customized using exclusive car-inspired patterns. We are well aware of how much importance and genuine passion can be encompassed in an object made by hand.
With a varied but essential history there is still so much to be said about such an accessory, but for now we will to stop here. We will meet in a few days with some style tips on how to wear braces like a true Gentleman should. A few good tips can go a long way and in no time you will be dressed with a distinctive and timeless piece that, in nearly 300 years, has yet to lose its charm.