4 January 2010

Brace Yourself

I have been on a bit of a quest these past few months where my clothing is concerned, and it has to do with trousers. Well, to be honest, it has to do with braces, however rethinking braces requires one to rethink trousers.

Traditional braces via Albert Thurston

I happen to wear braces, of the clip-on variety, from time to time with my trousers, far preferring them to the rather haphazard accessory that is the belt. Traditionally speaking, a man's clothing ought hang from the shoulders, forming a line downwards, albeit with the preferred nipping in of the jacket around the waist. The trousers ought sit comfortably at the natural waist line (that being the slenderest part of the torso), and be held up, if required by braces. The benefit of the braces are that the trouser hangs in the most preferable way, especially when worn with a suit.

The advent of the belt was such that it changed the way in which men wore their trousers. The trouser moved down from the waist to just above, or indeed riding, the hips. This was the far more comfortable position when wearing a belt as the belt avoided digging uncomfortably into the gut, rather being tightened below. However the belt has a tendency to interrupt the fall of the trousers, often requiring a re-hitching of the trousers, or else creating an odd bagging unless the rise of the trouser is perfectly cut to the individual. Of course this primarily applies to suit trousers, for denim jeans and casual trousers have perhaps evolved into a world of their own.

Braces allow one to wear trousers at their natural position, whilst also being far more comfortable in movement and usage than the restrictive belt. However as trousers have progressed further down the human body, and the popularity of the belt risen, braces have been adapted and changed for those still yearning for the traditional. I speak of course of the clip-on braces, which are but a mere imitation of their proper father, buttoned braces. Unfortunately buttoned braces are somewhat more than marginalised in their usage given that trousers rarely, if ever, are sold today with the required buttons sewn into their waistband.


In order to wear braces, one requires buttons sewn into the waistband of one's trousers. Depending on the type of trousers, they can be both sewn outside or inside of the waistband. The fishtail back is perhaps the most recognisable style in the usage of braces, where, essentially, an additional waistband was added to the main in order to accommodate two higher buttons at the back.

Nowadays trousers in this style seem to exist only in vintage reproductions or confined to those customers still asking for them in Savile Row. As such, the clip on brace is far more abundant, and indeed has seen a minor revival these past few years with a more casual and youthful twist. The problem with this type of braces lie in their method of wearing, in that they pinch the fabric of one's trousers and can actually damage it over time.

Personally speaking, I am not quite in the position to be able to walk into a Savile Row establishment and ask for a formal suit with fishtail back trousers for wearing with braces. Yet, buttoned braces also happen to appeal to me from their more casual application with sportswear (or casual/country wear I suppose it would be called now).

Image above via The Fedora Lounge
High Rise trousers
(£94-125)
via Old Town Clothing

I am rather attracted to the idea of wearing trousers of tweeds, flannels, corduroys and wools with traditional buttoned braces. Although they may not be all that fashionable, I think they are a part of masculine dress history that is far too special to be forgotten any time soon. It may be difficult for me to procure a pair now, but one day...

Currently playing: Skydiver - Cassie

xxxx

97 comments:

  1. I have suspenders from MaxMara...I really love wearing with my Dolce & Gabbana extreme textile dandy pants. Haha!

    Xx

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  2. This is why you are my hero! FINALLY! Someone else who recognizes where a man should where his trousers (waist - not hips, people!!!). About flippin' time. Long live braces (or "suspenders" as they are known in the states)!!!

    +8!3

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  3. What a fascinating lesson in the wearing of braces ... I'm no gent, but I'm intrigued!

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  4. i love them- i think they stand for classic style.
    <3

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  5. I love suspenders worn either by men or by women! But to say the harsh reality, they do not look good to any man! You have to be very stylish to support them! Great blog by the way!

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  6. I always love that look on men! There's something sophiscated and care-free about those trousers!xoxoxoo

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  7. I think you'd wear them quite well, DK!
    Hope you've had a fabulous New Year thus far!

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  8. braces are a dapper staple. ;) I have one pairin olive green, butonly worn them a few times..... should wear them again soon.

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  9. I don't think you neccessarily need saville row to have your fishtail trousers. A good fabric store and good tailor is all you need.

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  10. Yes! I agree completely. Your pants/trousers/what have you should always be worn at the waist. It is just not attractive for men to wear their pants low, and I also agree that braces are far preferable to a belt, seeing as a belt causes unneeded wrinkling/bunching up of the pants.

    As I always tend to say, more men need to take after who when getting dressed in the morning Dapper :)

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  11. aw..its hard to find a guy in these..you know. My grandpa wears them..

    very cool.

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  12. so the braces assure that the trouser hang in a preferable way...quite interesting...and I'm sure you'll have one day trousers of tweeds with traditional buttoned braces *.^
    kisses

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  13. So great post ! And happy new year my friend !

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  14. The second picture is very situable for your completion i think it would look great on you!

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  15. bring this back, i love traditional clothing like this - pics of you dk?

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  16. I like those braces and I always love your posts delving on fashion history. It really goes to show that they way clothes have been worn over the years has dramatically changed.
    Thanks for all the support on the new site, you are amaazing. It features sections on news on beauty,fashion and culture. It will still feature my personal outfit posts which are in the style diary section accessed at the style diary tab on the menu bar at top of site.
    have a lovely day my dear
    xx
    marian.

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  17. I looooooooove the suspenders. I need to get some for the hubs...and maybe for me too!

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  18. I love braces...perhaps because my grandfather and father wearing them all the time...:-) It gives me so many childhood memories...also I think wearing the right braces can be so chic...even I borrow them sometimes from my father...I think it's sexy for a women :-)

    Great post!

    Have a wonderful New Year, cheers: Evi

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  19. definitely think this style would suit you


    maybe at first people would be like what the hell,

    but then they would be like oh woooooowww


    reminds me of our old friend Maloviere (remember?)

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  20. Happy New Year Dapper! I like the braces look, and I bet you'd probably be able to pull it off beautifully =.]

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  21. it's amazing how they can pull those off....

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  22. i love the old-fashioned idea of braces! i think that this look can work for both girls and guys-i wore a pair of more traditional, floral-print suspenders with skinny jeans and a fedora! =)

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  23. I've noticed how popular braces have become over the course of several years, and actually do really love the look. When worn on women, I find it rather strange; however, on men it has a classy, old fashioned look that has been lost over time. It's strange how clothing changes over time. If it worked before, why can't it work now? Clip on braces seem a bit too modern for the look for me.

    I hope you're well, dear :)

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  24. i wish more men would wear braces! i just bought a pair that is made with fur. but the bf is not a fan of them.

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  25. This reminds me -- I bought suspenders a while ago and have yet to wear them. Tomorrow I will.

    *Kelsey

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  26. Such a great classic look... I was actually inspired to get a pair myself to match black pinstripe trousers after watching Sherlock Holmes last week (Rober Downey Jr does a great job of rocking these).

    Happy New Year! Hope 2010 has been good to you so far :)

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  27. I've just received braces because it's been on my wish list like forever and now I'm over the moon I've to say. Of course, neither do I have fishtail back trousers, but I'll find a way to wear them properly.
    For this reason, I love this post!

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  28. I so love these. Cool post about them.

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  29. Love this post, I love when people are properly dressed. I had never thought about belts and the effect they have on how trousers hang. Proper braces look amazing

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  30. I actually agree. There is a sort of classic sophistication in the use of english trousers if you may. Unfortunately, I feel like a fisherman when wearing those myself. Lol.

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  31. Gosh DK! I learnt a lot from that post!! Thank you! I think braces must be very comfy for you fellas seeing as you don't have hips. Love the corduroy too - one of my favourite fabrics!

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  32. Suspenders are amazing. I wish more guys wore them.

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  33. braces r wicked ! Its super cool ! U should post a pic when you where it :)
    Have a great weekend !

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  34. love braces, their so awesome! I prefer the thin,black straps on men rather than a thick brown/white one though. :)

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  35. I love this. Happy new year, Dapper!


    xxxxx

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  36. you're such a hero.
    we should buy shares in these - fashion is cyclical, and this is why too much scorn for past trends is foolhardy, my friends. Foolhardy! x

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  37. I can not tell you how badly i've been wanting suspenders but just cant seem to find the right ones ugh...

    dying here!

    <3 hope ur well love and that you've had a fantastic year so far

    sending all my love xo

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  38. How very larry king of you and mui chic! Hope you had a dapper day.

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  39. Very interesting post! I didn't know the fishtail back was for braces! I for one definitely dig them. Even when worn with trousers, I think it would be rad to pair them with a thin, soft t-shirt. Hope you have a great week! xo, Mel

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  40. I'm obsessed! Love love love suspenders or braces..I wear them often. So much better than a belt!

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  41. Hey! Its been a while since I written anything! I love braces.. Every guy should wear them!

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  42. great post. i love braces - more guys should be thinking about this!

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  43. the high-rise in the back is wonderful. i would love to see you order some, and furthermore, i would love to see you wear some. i hope your new year is off to a marvelous start!!
    xo s

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  44. I love suspenders. My favorites will are my black and gold ones from a vintage store!

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  45. I love braces/suspenders! Oh yes! bring them back into town :D


    Hope you have a tea-riffic day! take cares ♥

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  47. love the post, i wish my bf would carry these!

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  48. I inclination not approve on it. I assume nice post. Specially the appellation attracted me to study the sound story.

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  49. Great that folk are coming round to braces (suspenders for our Americam friends). I am only 23 but find them so much more comfortable than a belt, but have always been shy at showing them in public. However, it does seem that the ladies like them, although my male friends are less complimentary. Agree that the button ones are more stylish, but the clip-on ones are more practical with modern pants that don't have buttons.

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  50. The advantage of the clip-on braces is that you can also clip your underpants into them when they become loose with wear. My Grandfather gave me this tip.

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  51. I am a 17 year-old guy, who would love to wear braces, but I just dread the rude comments they might cause. Any tips on how to become more confident?

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  52. If you find baces more comfortable, why worry what friends might say. I started wearing braces at Uni, and whilst they initially caused a few comments,nobody bothers now, and in fact a few of my mates have also tried them, and are confirmed fans. Just avoid highly patterned or novelty ones. I try to match them with my shirt (particularly dark coloured ones) so they are not so obvious.

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  53. The new Dr Who favours braces, so I SUSPECT A LOT MORE GUYS WILL BE WEARING THEM in the future. Certainly hope so.

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  54. My elderly relatives always wore braces, and then my Dad started to do so as well. I tried them recently, having lost weight and struggling to keep my pants up, aged only 19, and they are GREAT. Just want the confidence to remove my jacket in public.

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  55. Great write up :o] i still prefer to wear my trousers slightly on my hips as opposed to waist tho :o]

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  56. My GF gave me a pair of braces for Xmas, and I want to show my appreciation, but have this stupid hang-up about being seen in them. She says that if they are good enough for Sir Paul McCartney to perform in, what's my problem. Do other young guys (I am 20) feel the same?

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  57. Yeah - I felt very self-conscious when I first started wearing braces, but after the initial comments nobody makes much of them now. Friends should be supportive (literally) and who cares what other people think? I have given up uncomfortable belts , and my family and true friends are happy to accept me for what I am - COMFORTABLE!!

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  58. This was such an interesting post, I never knew so much though went into wearing braces or trousers. See, this here is one of the reasons why I adore your blog above others, because it's not just some superficial blahblah that I can't remember 3 seconds later. It's intriguing and intelligent and eloquent and so much more!

    With that said, I so need to buy myself a pair of clip on braces because I love them on both women and men!

    Hope you're okay and up and posting soon :)

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  59. too cool man. I want a pair like that!!

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  60. hello again!
    sorry, we have a link exchange, im lottie from thepelicanand me? anyway just letting you know, i changed my blog name, now its - itsfashiondamnit.blogspot.com . so yeah- is it ok for you too change your links? thanks.
    lottie

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  61. Love love this post sooo much!!

    I really love guys who wear suspenders with pants,gives it such a old classic look.

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  62. Come on guys. Make a New Year resolution to wear braces this year. Your pants won't sag, and I just love to twang them.

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  63. I love the history you gave us. Thank you.

    I've always been a fan of vintage clothing, and I really enjoy seeing older (and long-gone) styles in old films. My favorites are the '20s-'40s styles, both for men and women. That was a big time for braces. I loved the fishtail waist of men's trousers.

    I'm glad you hold on to tradition, DK. Too many young men don't. They'd rather have their trousers down around their ankles, apparently. Keep flying the banner of good taste.

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  64. Great site! I am sure if more guys wore braces, their popularity would soar, or even if those who do were not so embarrassed as to not show them in public, they would once again be the choice of the majority. Strange that more gals seem to like to see or wear them than us guys!

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  65. Paul, we gals have more sense We know we need bras for example, but you guys don't seem to realise that you need braces - it's all down to the physical form and comfort!

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  66. Easily I to but I about the post should prepare more info then it has.

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  67. Found this post so interesting that I finally tried on a pair of braces that my GF gave me for Xmas, and have to say that not only were they most comfy, but I received a number of positive comments from my friends. Don't think I have the courage to remove my jacket in public, but am quite relaxed about being seen in braces in my house, garden and car. Shall now try to find different colours which compliment my clothes.

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  68. With this freezing UK weather, I have finally gone down the route of wearing long johns to keep warm (and they are), and find that the best way to keep them up is to wear braces and clip the waistband of both them and my jeans together. I thought this was a clever idea, but my Grandad says he has done this for 50 years! Anyway, long live braces - they are so practical!

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  69. I love to wear my corduroy high-waisted trousers with buttoned braces and enjoy how comfortable they are. Hope to see many more women and men wearing braces this year! Deborah

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  70. Matt Smith, the new Dr Who, is going to make braces much more acceptable when the next series starts. Cannot wait!

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  71. Matt Smith, the new Dr Who, is going to make braces much more acceptable when the next series starts. Cannot wait!

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  72. Matt Smith, the new Dr Who, is going to make braces much more acceptable when the next series starts. Cannot wait!

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  73. Great site! I find braces a real enigma - very comfortable, but slightly embarrassing to be seen in. However, the new Dr Who has encouraged me to persevere with them, despite ribald comments from my male friends. Fortunately, my female friends are much more supportive!

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  74. My gf has just given me a pair of braces for my birthday, and they are my favourite present, not because of the price, but because it signified that she would be happy for me to wear braces, which i have always fancied, but not been confident enough to do.

    So gals, I am sure there are loads of guys who would appreciate a pair, particularly as the latest Dr Who apparently sports a pair.

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  75. My 19 year old brother has recently started to wear braces, which at least stops his pants from sagging. However, when he joined me at the bar of our local last night, I felt very embarrassed when he removed his jacket, and told him so. We had a big row on the way home, and he told me to "get a life". Am I being silly? I love him very much and do not want to fall out.

    Any comments would be much appreciated.

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  76. Charlie,

    What a stupid argument, and i guess you think so too. To fall out over a pair of braces is plain daft. Anyway, they are in fashion at the moment. It is his choice, and should be respected.

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  77. I am very small hipped, and therefore really need to wear braces for a number of reasons, but have been too embarrassed to buy a pair because I am only 18 years old. I certainly would never show them in public, but dread being caught, although my dad and brother have encouraged me to try them in the privacy of our home. It is very miserable having to constantly hitch my jeans up, or suffer the pain of a tight belt, which still lets my pants slip down.

    Can any braces wearers give me any support or tips?

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  78. why would you be so embarrassed by wearing braces. They are certainly fashionable at present, and on sale in most High Street stroes, such as H&M, Peacocks Topman and Burtons. I used to think like you that there was a stigma about being a braces wearer, but having tried them, I wish I had switched to them years ago - they are so comfortable and efficient.

    The first time I wore them in public, I was very nervous about reactions, but the majority of comments were favourable, and I have no problem in removing my jacket now. Far better to be seen in braces than sagging!

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  79. Terry, like you I have virtually no hips, and was always struggling to keep my waist tidy. My shirt and or vest would hang out, or my underpants could be seen, as my jeans slipped down.

    For my 15th Birthday, my uncle gave me a pair of plain grey clip-on braces, and I started to wear them around the house. They were certainly comfortable, and kept my pants in order. Inevitably, my mates eventually dropped round unexpectedly, and caught me in my braces. I was so embarrassed that I locked myself in my room. however, being good mates and seeing how upset i was, they coaxed me out, and promised never to tease me about my need to wear braces. I have now bought a selection of pairs in different colours which I match to my shirt so thay are not too visible, and nobody bothers any more.

    Whatsmore, I now feel more confident than before, and would recommend them to anyone.

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  80. Looking back at early photos, I see I wore braces as a schoolboy, and have used them throughout my life. I have tried wearing pants without, but it just does not feel right. Now in my late 50's, I am past caring whether I should hide them or wander to the corner shop with them on show, thereby embarrassing my children.

    I am surprised to note however that my 17 year old grandson does on occasion wear braces, and in public.

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  81. Having just got my first office job, I removed my jacket when the air-conditioning failed, without remembering I was wearing braces. They were just an ordinary pair of maroon clip-on variety, and stood out loudly against my pale grey shirt, but the girls in the office went wild, and twanged them at times during the rest of the day. Consequently, i have no problem out-ing my braces in public, although I do get ribbed by some of the guys.

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  83. I have recently taken the brave step of wearing by braces in public, and it wasn't any problem - nobody said a word. It has taken me 18 months to become so bold, but I just suggest to you guys that you go right ahead - no-one cares a jot!

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  84. My gf gave me a pair of braces for my Birthday, and whilst not expensive, they were very well received, as it meant she did not mind my wearing this most comfortable and efficient but unfashionable garment. As she had previously made less than favourable comments on my braces (which I did not show in public) I take this as a real sign of love, and I suggest any guys who prefer braces to a belt to take the risk.

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  85. Saw Matt Baker wearing braces on the One Show on Tuesday, and note a number of ladies thought he looked great.perhaps I should try a pair.

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  86. I have recently persuaded my bf to try a pair of braces - he is always untidy around his waist - and although he was very sceptical, he did agree that they were both practical and comfortable, and I was not embarrassed by his underpants showing. Result!!

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  87. Decided to try a pair of braces - gals loved them, lads teased, I felt so comfy I shall continue to rock them, and would recommend all you guys give them a go before you reach old age!!!

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  88. This is easy. us girls love to see men dressed nice and wearing a pair of braces its so sexy and i know you men love to see women dressed in braces too. so its easy. everyone should be wearing braces. i do and im not going stop.

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  89. Interesting that the gals like us guys in braces, as in my experience, it is my male mates who take the mickey out of my braces when I have been brave enough to be seen in public with them on show.

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  90. Good to see folks contributing to this.
    I would agree with those who say 'wear braces before yu get old'. I only wore them secretly, now in my 60's I wear them with pride.
    Long live braces and full marks to the courageous folks weasring them to be seen

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  91. The comfort of braces is what puts them ahead of belts for me.A belt buckle digging into your midriff is so uncomfortable.You have no such problems with braces.I discovered braces about 5 years ago and now I wear them all the time.And its not just with trousers,there is no reason why they cant work with shorts.And I think women wearing braces look awesome.Embrace braces.

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