When it comes to formalwear and businesswear, suspenders, while a little old-school, are the smarter choice compared to belts. They don’t break up the clean lines of your suit by cutting you in half the way a belt does, and they can be a stylish detail on their own. But suspenders go beyond the office to a different kind of job site; you can also find suspenders that are up to heavy-duty tasks like construction and yard work.
Every off-the-peg suit should be taken to an alterations tailor to make sure it properly fits. But whether you just lost some weight or you’re budgeting ahead for any weight gains, your suit pants might be a little loose. A pair of suspenders can be the perfect solution. By staying hidden under your jacket, they help maintain the clean lines of your suit, while performing the perfectly functional task of keeping your pants from sliding down.
But just like belts and ties, there’s a lot of variety in suspenders. A few things to look out for are the shape, fastener type, and width. Suspenders commonly come in either an “X” or “Y” shape. The X-shape is a little more rugged and supportive, but less formal looking. As for fasteners, the most common varieties are either metal clips or buttons loops. Metal clips are easier because you don’t need to modify your pants in any way. However, they look much less professional. Button fasteners clip into the inside of the pants, so they won’t tug on the fabric and will look more put-together, too. However, you’ll need to have buttons on the inside of your pants first.
As for the width, standard suspenders will fall somewhere between 1.25 inches and 1.5 inches. Thinner suspenders are a little trendier, while wider suspenders are best suited for workwear settings. In fact, despite their connotations with formality, many suspenders are made by workwear brands like Dickies and Carhartt. These can be great alternatives for anyone who feels that a belt constricts their movement while working outside. These wider styles work best with jeans and other casual and rugged garments. Some options, like the ones from Carharrt, are even available in high-vis colors for wearing on the job site. You may also want to consider your body type. If you have a stockier build, a wider suspender size might look more natural.
We’ve rounded up some of the best suspenders, including formal options and more workwear-inspired options. These are the ones to get.
1. Tommy Hilfiger Suspenders
Clip-on suspenders are easier but less secure, but buttoned suspenders don’t work with all pants. So, which do you choose? Tommy Hilfiger eliminates the guesswork by designing a suspender with a convertible clasp that features both button loops and clips. The tan suspenders feature a blue and white striped portion on the back with brown leather detailing, giving these a classic look that will work well with lighter colored suits and more casual attire.
Pros: Only option that features both a clip and button loops. Stylish leather detailing. Available in several colors.
Cons: Clips could be more secure.
2. Carhartt Men’s Utility Suspender
The aptly named utility suspender from Carharrt is a great option for heavy-duty wear. They feature a sturdy X-back shape, and the straps are a substantial two inches thick. Plus, they come in a variety of eye-catching colors. The colors include this red option and even a high-vis orange suspender with reflective 3M tape. From this listing, you can choose between clip suspenders and button suspenders, although not all styles come in both.
Pros: Heavy-duty option from a trusted and iconic workwear brand. Available in bright and high-vis colors.
Cons: Can be a little short for some.
3. Dockers Men’s Solid Suspender
Dockers may very well make your favorite slacks, and they also make suspenders to keep said slacks up. They have an easy clip-on design and a versatile 1.5-inch width that will suit most situations. These suspenders come in a few different colors, and we’re partial to this classic heathered gray and black option. They’re adjustable as well, so one size will fit most.
Pros: Available in several colors. Affordable price. Adjustable strap will accommodate most wearers.
Cons: Clips can occasionally come loose on some thicker materials.
4. Hold’Em Suspender for Men
While some suspenders are available in only a handful of colors, these options from Hold Em are available in over a dozen styles, including solids and a few patterned options. These suspenders have narrow 1.25-inch straps. That, combined with the Y-style shape and leather button loops, make these are a great option for more formal outfits. Six buttons are included with the suspenders.
Pros: Available in a wide variety of styles, including solid colors and striped options.
Cons: 1.25-inch width may be too narrow for some.
5. Dickies Men’s Perry Suspender
Some might frown upon wearing suspenders with a belt, but sometimes you just need that extra support. Dickies Perry suspenders are unique in that they have clips for your belt, not the pants. This makes them more secure and reduces the need to modify your pants in any way. They’re available in beige, black red and navy, all of which have a Y-shape.
Pros: Fastens to belt instead of pants for a more secure fit. Several colors available. Sturdy construction from trusted brand.
Cons: You have to be wearing a belt for these to work.