Suspender Types

by Elizabeth Warner ; Updated September 28, 2017

Suspenders were introduced as an alternative to belts in 1820.

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Suspenders as we know them today were first invented and sold in 1820 in London, England by Albert Thurston. Thurston owned a mens' accessory shop and first introduced the suspender there. Suspenders were immediately embraced by the public as a welcome alternative to belts. Today suspenders still have a niche in the fashion market. The varieties and styles are available in almost endless combinations. When considering suspender types, you need to think about the fastenings, the strap material, the style and the shape of the suspenders.

Suspender Fastenings

The suspender fastenings are the ends of the suspenders that attach to the pants. Originally the ends of suspenders had buttonholes that corresponded to buttons on either the inside or outside of the pant’s waistline. Buttonhole suspenders are still available today, but they will only work with pants that are specifically made to go with them. Alligator claw fasteners will work with any pair of pants. These fasteners have a clip that releases a clamp. The clamp is pressed over the waistband and the clip presses the clamp closed, securely attaching the suspenders to the waistband.

Suspender Straps

The straps of the suspenders were originally made from a textured woolen material called boxcloth. Boxcloth suspenders are still made today but they are reserved for a more casual suspender. Dress and business casual suspenders are usually made from French satin, jacquard silk, argyle or plaid. If you need a sturdy set of suspenders consider leather suspenders. They are very durable, but be careful when you are selecting a size. Leather will get soft and stretch a bit. Elastic is the newest material to form suspender straps. Most womens' suspenders are made out of thin elastic straps with either satin or matte finishes.

Suspender Styles

Use suspenders to express your style. Suspenders come in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Novelty suspenders come decorated with everything from Armed Services logos to sparkly glitter. You can find suspenders with patterns that reflect different hobbies, like piano keys or fishing rods. Some suspender patterns reflect different professions. For example, farmers can wear suspenders with tractors printed on them, and there are even suspenders straps that look like measuring tapes for the carpenters and architects.

Suspender Shape

Traditionally suspenders come in two shapes: X shape, where the two separate straps cross in the back, and the Y shape, where the two straps merge into one strap in the back. Some people prefer the X shape because they can adjust the straps to wider positions on the back waistband. Others prefer the Y shaped because it provides support to the center of the back waistband.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Warner began writing professionally in 2004 for “The Scroll,” an award winning collegiate newspaper. She currently works with the technical writers at The Overhead Door Corporation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in English with an emphasis in technical writing and editing from Brigham Young University-Idaho.