So, you have chosen the perfect pair of braces, and now you may be wondering how on earth to wear them. It is not always easy to know how to place or adjust them, or how to maintain them - especially when you want to look great while also making sure your braces get the job done: keep your trousers in the right place no matter the challenges your day will bring. No worries - we're here to guide you with some useful tips!
Braces are an accessory with a long history in men’s fashion, so we are sure you will hear plenty of strong opinions regarding styling, the right attachments and so on. Men’s fashion has in general plenty of rules and traditions, but we want to reassure you that wearing braces is not as complicated as it may seem. Of course there are some basic principles when it comes to wearing your braces, but above all else you should feel free to express your own style.
That said, there is one rule you should respect: no belt with braces - ever! Well, unless you are a lumberjack or something. Why wear them together when belts and braces have the same purpose: to hold your trousers up. Unless they are used as workwear in very demanding environment, it is normally not necessary to take out the double insurance.
When it comes to how to get the braces on, there are a few schools of thought: some prefer to attach the braces in the position they like before putting on their trousers, while others will attached them when trousers are on to be sure they are in the right place. We will focus on the second option, but the advice is valid for both.
Note: with your Bertelles braces, we also send you a small instruction card with a few tips, so you don’t have to always come here to check where to attach the clips or sew the buttons.
Braces with clips
The first thing to do is to open the metallic adjusters in order to lengthen the elastics, which allows you to attach the braces to your trousers more easily. Once this is done, you should attach the back clip right in the middle of your trousers' waistband.
Note: if you have a belt loop in the center back of your trousers, be careful not to pinch the clip on top of it as the multiple layers of fabric could break the clip. Instead, place it right next to the belt loop.
Lift the braces on your shoulders and adjust them from your shoulders to the waist of your trousers. Make sure they are in a straight line before clipping them, at about 14cm from the center front of your trousers. Finally, fit your trousers at the desired height, adapt the length of the elastics with the adjusters, and close them to maintain the chosen size.
Our tip: for maximum comfort, try not to leave the elastics too loose or, on the contrary, too tight - find the perfect fit for you. You can always adjust during your day if necessary.
As with clip-on braces, we recommend you to first open the adjusters; this will make it easier for you adjust the braces to your size. The second step is to attach the rear leather straps to the two buttons at the back of your trousers' waistband. Note that the buttons can be either inside or outside of your waistband depending on the kind of look you prefer, see below for more information.
Our tip: read more later in this article about placing the buttons on your trousers.
After attaching the rear straps, pass your braces over your shoulders to the front of your body and down to the waist making sure they form a straight line. You can now attach the two leather straps to the buttons on the front of your trousers’. Finally, place your trousers at the desired height, and as a last thing adjust the elastics using adjusters and close them to keep the chosen fit.
But I don’t have buttons on my trousers
Sewing buttons on trousers is much easier than you might think - you will simply need six buttons, a measuring tape or a ruler, scissors, a needle, some polyester thread and let the adventure begins! However, if you don’t feel comfortable with sewing, do not hesitate to call your tailor for help.
Our tip: you live, work or pass by Brussels? Stop by at our studio and we will take care of sewing on your buttons.
As with many things concerning braces, there are no rules but plenty of opinions, and that is also the case with the buttons. You may find some strong opinions on the traditions of buttons placed inside the waistband, but don’t worry if they are already outside of the waistband of your trousers. It is perfectly ok to sew the buttons either way. Just note that buttons on the inside give a more elegant style, while buttons on outside offer more casual look. There is not a standard rule, it's a matter of preference - just be consistent with the six buttons.
So let’s get into how to sew the buttons. Note that the following measurements are based on an average build - you can adapt them according to your body type so the straps form a nice straight line from your shoulders down to your waist.
For the rear buttons, place them 3cm from the center back seam on both sides, leaving in total 6cm between the two buttons. For the front buttons, measure 10cm from the center front along the waistband of your trousers to place the first button. Now measure 6cm from the first button to place the second one. Finally repeat this on the other side of the front of your trousers. Voila, six buttons perfectly placed!
If you decide to sew the buttons on the outside of your waistband, note that depending on your trouser size, these measurements may place the buttons on top of the belt loops. This is, of course, not the desired placement, so you may have to adjust the measurements to avoid it happening. If you sew the buttons inside the waistband, this is not an issue and the only thing you should check is that these measurement places the braces on your body in a nice straight line, as mentioned at the beginning.
Note: If you decide to sew the buttons on the inside, make sure you don't sew through the waistband - we are quite sure you don't want the stitches to be visible.
After learning how to sew the buttons, you’re not too keen to embark on the adventure? Don’t worry - alternatives exist!
Firstly, the removable buttons or, as we call them, clip-buttons allow you to place your superior braces on any trousers in your wardrobe without having to sew on buttons - magic, right? You simply have to open the clips, slide the buttons over the edge of the waistband (follow the same measures mentioned above) and close the clip. Note that these buttons work best on light to normal fabrics, and if you wish to attach buttons for example on your thick raw denim jeans, these may not be the best option for you.
If you prefer to wear your braces with jeans, rivet buttons are made for you. These are familiar buttons from any jeans or denim clothes, and they give more rugged and authentic workwear look. You can easily press them through your jeans’ waistband with rivet pliers or the old school way - with a hammer.
Finally, if you’re looking for something quite handy and quick, trigger hooks is the best option for you. With these hooks, wearing braces is really comfortable and easy as you can attach the braces into belt loops in a matter of seconds. The only prerequisite is that your trousers have to come with a belt loop at the center back - this is the case on most jeans, but not for example in chinos. In case you don’t have the center back loop in your trousers but you’re a huge fan of the hooks, you can still use them in the front and replace the hook with a normal clip on the back.
Take care of your braces
First of all, as with any other accessory, there are a few things you can do to make your braces last for a long time. To preserve metallic clips, we recommend closing them after every use to avoid them getting attached to anything and breaking. To maintain braces' elasticity, we recommend you to carefully roll up the straps and store them out of the sun. This way they won’t get wavy; get into knots or lose their colour. Our Bertelles packaging is designed to make it easy for you to roll your braces back into the box and store them in your wardrobe between uses.
Regarding leather, taking care of it at least once a year will prevent it from scratching and drying out - you can moisturise the leather with normal leather care products.
High quality braces are made to last - however taking care of them is still important and enables you to wear them through all stages of your life.
Tips from our founder
Braces are known to be more comfortable than belts. This probably explains why they have not completely disappeared as an accessory, even through the decades when they weren’t in trend at all. And if clip braces are comfortable, the buttoned version is even better - for people who get a lot of wear out of their braces, the buttoned version is highly recommended.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we don’t want to give too many rules on how to style your braces. Instead, we prefer to inspire people to experiment with their wardrobe and try new things. For this, we have gathered several inspiration boards on our Pinterest, where you can get loads of ideas from contemporary styling to vintage ideas or classy styles and much more.
We hope this article has made it more clear for you how to get your braces on and get the most out of them!