Brace yourself for rebirth of suspenders... Gordon Gekko style
Albert Thurston, specialist manufacturer of braces - or suspenders, as they are
known in the US - has had to re-order a certain white fabric three times already this
year. When Daniel Craig's James Bond appeared at the poker table in Casino Royale
attired in black tie with braces - not a belt - suddenly consumer interest went through
the roof. Thurston has been here before: when the company supplied Michael Douglas' red
braces for 1987's Wall Street, orders doubled over the following months (see
Significantly, however, these days it's not just Bond-fans clamoring for the
stylish suspender accessory. Last season Yohji
Yamamoto and Armani showed braces on their catwalks, while this season Sonia Rykiel,
Moschino, Neil Barrett and Alexander McQueen joined their number. The vogue for suspender
braces may seem strange: they are more fiddly to put on than the simple belt and are
regarded by some as rather flashy and, by others, old-fashioned. Besides, the product has
barely evolved since the Y-shape arrangement across the back was adopted during the 1850s
(it replaced the X-back, which itself replaced the H-back).
"Our bestsellers are woven in woollen box cloth, the use of which dates to
Victorian times," admits Richard Kew, consultant managing director of Albert
Thurston, which was established in 1820. "The basic design has hardly changed at
all." "To some, braces can look archaic or too much of a statement, as,
increasingly, ties or cufflinks are, in the same quarters," says Chris Modoo, head of
buying for London tailor Ede & Ravenscroft. "Many people also associate braces
either with that Chas 'n' Dave/Little House on the Prairie working man's look,
1980s yuppiedom and a return to conservatism, or a Clockwork Orange Droog-style
football hooliganism, none of which are especially positive images."
Still, the skinhead style of the late 1960s and early 1970s, before it was
diluted by associations with violence and racism, was one of the strongest UK
working-class youth sub-cultures, its members recognisable by a dress code involving
three-quarter-inch-wide and often color-coded braces worn distinctly casually, with
button-down shirts and denims. More recently, Levi's Vintage, Hackett and Margaret Howell
have designed jeans, chinos and casual trousers with brace buttons.
"It's the kind of traditional detail I love," says Margaret Howell,
"but I suppose it's largely defunct now. Braces have somehow become associated with
older men or with a time when they were required because clothes were not so well fitting.
But braces are lovely objects - the leathers, the colors and the richness of the fabrics
- and as an accessory, they are a good means of self-expression.
The trick is to find a
way of wearing them in a modern way and not to look too snooty about
it in advertising and on male models"
Indeed, ornate braces were once a staple of men's dress. Their invention is
attributed to the French, who from revolutionary times wore bretelles - strips of ribbon
fixed into trouser buttonholes. In the US they have a distinguished history, too: Benjamin
Franklin popularized what were called "gallowses" from 1736, and in 1871 one of
the first patents for braces was issued to a Samuel Clemens, better known now as Mark
Twain. The first patent for metal clip-on braces was issued in 1894 and it took until 1990
for a non-slip clip for braces to be patented by Holdup Suspender Company.
Such was the belief that braces were an essential part of the well-dressed man's
attire that when war with Germany was declared in 1939, the actor Ralph Richardson rushed
straight to his tailors to buy six pairs of Thurston braces lest fabric rationing leave
them in short supply. All of which leads to the question of why they are now having a
resurgence in the fashion world. "Braces are more comfortable than a belt for one
thing," says Kew. "But more than that, as Oscar Wilde noted, clothes should hang
from the shoulder and not from the waist. Using some kind of garrotte technique to cinch
your trousers so they cling from the waist is clearly not going to allow your trousers to
hang better, to break over your shoes more neatly, for the pleats to open. Trousers just
don't look as good with a belt as they do with braces."
By Josh Sims, fashion & style article...
Published: Dec 14, 2009 by Financial Times
Torchwood Movie/TV series re-introduced suspenders to the
fashion world as Captain Jack Harkness ( played by hearth throb John
Barrowman) wore them in multiple scenes
Current Movie TV star suspender wearers include
Martin Shaw as his TV alter-ego
Judge John Deed and actor Daniel
Craig playing James Bond ,007. Many famous business people like
Donald Trump or TV newscasters such as Larry King
and Fox News co-host Bob Beckel of hit Cabe news show "The FIVE" also wear
suspenders daily. John
Barrowman playing Captain Jack
Harkness in the TV mini-series Tourchwood often wears suspenders, as does
Matt Smith as the 11th... Doctor Who.
Now in 2010 we get the Michael Douglas - Gordon Gekko sequel
so Holdup Suspender Company prepares for another high demand for their
Dual Clip Double-Up style suspenders worn by the
Wall Street power players since the 1980's.
Holdup Exclusive Leather
Suspenders... 4 styles of Brown or Black leather USA made
suspenders with brass length adjusters, patented no-slip clips, comfort
elastic back strap.
You can see Leather suspenders or braces in almost every western movie
Power, sex, suspenders and designer suits are a hit!
Last Tuesday, as Merrill Lynch bankers in their shirt sleeves, braces and
slanted tie clips braced for the introduction of John Thain's new senior management
culture, they could have been forgiven if they paused for a second - not so much to mourn
the passing of their old ways as to observe a historical moment, writes Colin Cameron.
December 11, after all, marked 20 years since Gordon Gekko - speaking into a
brick-sized mobile phone on his private Hamptons beach in full-length, white towelling
robe - declared in the film Wall Street that lunch was for wimps, greed was
good and money never slept.
Nick Wheeler, founder of the shirt makers Charles Tyrwhitt, says the film
transformed the way an industry dressed, bringing styles that were "big, bold and
brash", not just to Wall Street the business area, but to the whole financial world.
Indeed, the 42-year-old confesses that at the time Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, was a
"sort of personal anti-hero".
But for all the late 1980s appetite for the double-breasted pinstripe suits,
slanted tie clips, thick, bright braces, Windsor knots and cutaway collars showcased by
Douglas, the film's impact was not uniform. In the view of London bespoke tailor Timothy
Everest, 46, some of the money market's older generations, who had been through busts as
well as booms, were repelled by the film's flamboyant styles.
Savile Row's Richard Anderson adds that for some of his clients in both London
and New York, a reluctance to wear anything Gekko-esque has prevailed for the last two
decades. But, asks Anderson, isn't 20 years a long enough exile for the pinstripe?
According to Ellen Mirojnick, the film's costume designer and the woman who inspired New
York tailor Alan Flusser to create Gekko's signature look, colleagues at the time couldn't
understand why she took on a movie about men in suits. The answer, she says, is that the
film was really about money, power and sex and, "What's better than that?"
Mirojnick maintains that clothes were what made the main character: the effect
was classic English, cut with a bit of Hollywood and a dash of Italian, jackets with
double vents, classy suspenders, side tabs that hit the hips perfectly and trousers that
let the legs drape, with turn-ups and a depth of pleat.
"We needed to create an illusion of what Wall Street actually represented
then: the self-made operator, his own man, who moved easily and elegantly like Gene Kelly
in a musical," he says. Even if today's recreation of the Wall Street attitude is
relatively less exuberant, Timothy Everest believes the "Gekko mentality" has
returned - the confidence to break established dress code rules, a belief in the
invincibility of money and the desire to be seen as a pioneer. It can't, after all,
be a coincidence that Douglas is reprising his Oscar-winning role in a Wall Street
sequel that started production this year. Its working title? Money Never Sleeps.
Our loyal customers asked for tasteful striped Holdups and we now have them in stock. Several choices in Navy Blue stripes with
Khaki and Gray and red accent bands. We also offer single jacquard weave
stripes in 5 tone on tone colors for office and casual daily wear
with choices in single no-slip clips or dual clip Double-Up style...
Click here to view our new striped