Braces, trouser-braces, suspenders, whatever you choose to call them are back. trouser-braces are the up and coming fashion item for men.
trouser-braces have been used at various times over the past 200 years to keep men's trousers up. The style has changed this time around, but the braces still work in the same way.
The last time trouser-braces were in fashion was in the period between 1950 and 1965. They were seen as underwear at that time, so were always hidden under at least a sleeveless pullover or vest (waistcoat). trouser-braces were probably the reason why vests were so fashionable at this time; they represented the coolest way of hiding your embarrassing trouser-braces.
This time around braces are wider and bolder, designed to be seen in the same way as a trouser belt or tie are meant too be seen. Whereas 1960's suspenders were about 3/4 of an inch across, today's are usually 1.25 inches across. While men's 1960's suspenders were black or grey today's come in every color, with red being very popular. Leather suspenders are increasingly popular.
Brightly colored and leather trouser-braces are usually worn as a fashion statement, chosen to complement a suit or a shirt and are not intended to be hidden.
Men's suspenders or braces are designed to hold up formal trousers. Formal trousers have buttons at the front and back, either inside, or outside the waistband, that the braces attach to. You can sew shirt buttons onto the inside of the waistband in any trousers, including denim jeans and attach the braces to those buttons.
Modern trouser-braces are usually sold as 2-in-1 braces with a steel clip you can attach to the ends for trousers if there are no buttons to attach braces to.
The fabric of braces varies with cheap suspenders or braces being made of a nylon or elasticated cotton, and some of the top quality brands being made from silk or leather.
While cheap men's suspenders may be mass produced the brands that retail for $100 a set will be hand-made and usually come in high quality presentation boxes.
Many men find it more comfortable to wear trouser-braces than a belt, especially those men with no natural waistline.
Some youth cults wear trouser-braces, but leave them hanging around their buttocks, so the braces are effectively for ornamentation rather than to hold up their trousers.
trouser-braces seem to currently divide into two price and quality categories.
There is the luxury category with braces costing between $70 and $150 a set. These are made from expensive materials such as silk, with only part of the fabric being elasticated. They are sold primarily as gifts and may be packaged in expensive wooden boxes.
There is the basic category, available in department stores, of nylon, elasticated braces, which retail for about $10.
There are braces available for $40, but what is lacking, currently is a wide range of men's suspenders or braces in the $15-$25 price range, which is probably the price that attractive braces would need to be to be a mass market fashion item.