Tag Archives: braces

JJ Suspenders – Dual Use Braces and Suspenders for All Trousers

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Every so often a company reaches out to me for a product review and it’s usually not a good fit for my blog, but when I saw JJ Suspenders pop up in my inbox I was intrigued.  Then I went to the website and there were loads of lovely braces and I thought, “Is this a mistake? Or is this marketing?”

As a lurker in several menswear groups on Facebook, the distinction between braces and suspenders was a critical one, it meant needing buttons sewn in your trousers versus simply clipping them on; it also meant a level are sartorial in-the-know-ness (you may call it snobbery) about the type of person who wears one over the other.  While I prefer a set of braces because I’ve watched my husband struggle with his clip-ons for tuxedo gigs (both to put them on and have them stay on) and I’m particular enough to want that added level of security/not wanting a hassle,  I know that the thought of sewing buttons into one’s trousers (or paying someone to do it), for some, is like that extra thing that’s not worth someone’s time, effort, and resources.  I understand that not everyone shares my priority for absolute security in trousers being held up by elastic straps.  I’m not at the level of wearing both braces and a belt, though, so I’m still within reason.

BUT I DIGRESS, back to the lovely package that arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago.  JJ Suspenders was very patient with me, because I already owned most of the colors I wanted and they were out of the burgundy, they waited until they got some more burgundy pairs in stock, notified me, and shipped me the pair.  As I opened the box, I was confused again – there were both clips AND leather attachments on the ends of the straps.  First thought, surely no one is THIS paranoid (takes a breath, looks closer); second thought, this is genius, they are delivering both so that you can choose and simply remove the type of trouser attachment you don’t want at the moment, with the option to reattach if/when you do, via a sturdy snap.  This means they can be worn with all of your trousers, at any time.

The packaging and extras are all so thoughtful – a small sewing kit with buttons (perhaps to immediately encourage non-sewers to pull up a YouTube video on how to accomplish the sewing of braces buttons onto trousers – the question of where do the buttons come from seems to be novel to my husband, so I’m glad they’ve eliminated this hurdle); two extra sets of suspender clips; and a lovely canvas bag to put it all in.

While I usually prefer a wider elastic, I opted for the narrower braces this go around and was pleasantly surprised at their sturdiness and quality.  The attachments are leather and the snaps sturdy.  I wore these all day with great comfort and would say these are a win for me.  I look forward to wearing them more this fall when I have more fall colored clothing items to coordinate.

The website has a large selection – from leather in seven colors to solids, stripes, tweeds, and a few patterns, I believe this to be a great resource for people who may be embarking on their first pair of suspenders/braces and for seasoned braces veterans.  The prices are on par with quality braces makers, like Trafalgar.  Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure I know of another quality brand of braces maker – and the lack of quality options was the impetus for JJ Suspenders coming into existence.  From their website:

“It started in 2014 when founders Jackson and Josh were shopping for suspenders to wear at a friend’s wedding and after visiting dozens of shops all they could find were a handful of generic, outdated and overpriced suspenders. When looking for alternatives online, they quickly found that about 90% of the suspenders on the market were low quality and mass-produced by the same factory. The only suspenders that met Jackson and Josh’s quality standards were from a very old company in England. But with this came high shipping costs, outdated designs, and poor customer service.”

My communications with JJ Suspenders have been exemplary – my contact, Misha Inglis, has been professional, courteous, and friendly and I am delighted that they found me and reached out to me out of the blue.  It is clear they are striving for quality and I appreciate and applaud their mission to provide quality braces and suspenders – both, actually, at the same time.

P.S. Yes, that is my 1964 Vespa 90 kitted to a 129 cc engine. I’ve enjoyed riding it more during the pandemic, since other hobbies have been on the back burner.

Darcy Clothing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

about-us

This menswear resource tip is from Christine Hall of the Decophile group on Facebook – Darcy Clothing, previously The Vintage Shirt Company, has expanded from shirts to include a much broader range of reproduction menswear and accessories from the 18th century to the early 20th century. This is a huge span of time, but there are plenty of 20th century goodies from this UK company to place in your closet.

From the website:

“The clothing is largely made specially for us and is taken directly from original garments. The shapes and fabrics are uncompromisingly genuine. We only ever use natural fibres in any pre C20th garments. The construction methods however take advantage of modern mass production techniques which means that we can supply costume designers with the authenticity they require at an affordable price.”

Here’s what I’m loving from their collection:

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Spearpoint Collar Shirt

Working men's striped braces, available in 11 colors

Working men’s striped braces, available in 11 colors

Military ties - for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Military ties – for your Buck Privates tribute routine

Fair Isle socks - like stripes, but subdued...but more intricate...

Fair Isle socks – like stripes, but subdued…but more intricate…

Replica ollar pin, if you'd like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Replica collar pin, if you’d like to get your Boardwalk Empire on

Cricket trousers - "perfect for any period cricketing attire"

Cricket trousers – “perfect for any period cricketing attire”

Cotton Work Jacket - a nice summer weight jacket option

Cotton Work Jacket – a nice summer weight jacket option

Gentleman’s Emporium

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

While the Gentleman’s Emporium boasts primarily reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian garb for men and women, there are some things that remain timeless and, thus, useful to swing dancers aspiring for a vintage look from just beyond Edwardian times or for those who aspire to the high style of Mr. Bobby White. Gentleman’s Emporium makes it easy for buyers – if you aren’t sure what pieces go together, you can view the items by “Outfit” for a head to toe ensemble, grouped in clever characters like “Toby Greenwell – Newsboy,” “Professor Babcock – Man of Science,” “Dickerson Potts – Sportsman,” and numerous other rogues and gentlemen. The ladies also have characters and ensembles, but are, for the most part, not period-appropriate and not dance-able.

In the alternative to the ensemble approach, the Gentleman’s Emporium lists their stock individually in categories, so if you are looking for a vest, you need only click on the proper category. This is probably going to be the most effective way to buy pieces to re-create 1920’s and 1930’s looks via this website. I’m treading lightly here, as menswear is not my forte, so if I’ve listed something that is just not in the realm of comprehension during the jazz age, I apologize.

Here’s what I think might be useful from the Gentleman’s Emporium:

Knickers, shown here in charcoal, but also available in a tan/rust plaid and a black/burgundy plaid

Cromwell wool tweed vest

In light of my continued search for Norfolk jackets, I thought this safari bush jacket was just wonderful

Brown sporting cap in linen, which means this hat breathes

Bow ties in several colors, $10

Gray tweed newsboy cap

Canvas braces - they also offer elastic, but I thought the canvas was interesting

Firemen Wear Suspenders; Gentlemen Wear Braces

This post was written by Lindy Dandy.

The terms suspenders and braces are technically interchangeable, but I tend to use suspenders to refer to the type with alligator clip ends and braces for the type that require buttons.  Clips damage pants, so I always go with the button type.  Whatever you call them, they’re used to suspend your trousers at waist height.  Unlike belts, braces don’t have to be cinched tightly around your waist to keep your trousers in place and in fact, allow them to drape more gracefully.

Trousers worn with braces should be cut more generously in the waist (at least an inch) so the braces can be allowed to hold them up (so if you’re pants hold themselves up, they’re too tight for braces).  If your trousers do not have brace buttons, it’s a simple job for a tailor: you’ll need one set of buttons in the back and two in the front, either on the inside or outside (your choice).

Back in the day, you’d never see a gentleman without his jacket on, so you’d never see his braces (or know if he buttoned them on the outside or inside).  Braces were a man’s inside joke, they could have the silliest, most ostentatious designs in the world, but it didn’t matter because nobody would ever see them.  Things are different, nowadays; seeing a man without a jacket is common (and it’s too darn hot to keep a jacket on all night), so you better be ready to show your braces off.

The finest braces in the world are made in the UK by Albert Thurston and Trafalgar.  Albert Thurston (my preferred brand) has been making braces since 1820.  They’ve been worn by princes, kings and businessmen for the last two centuries and have even been featured in Bond movies.  Fine braces do not come cheap.  Trafalgar Limited Edition braces (made of %100 hand-woven silk) cost as much as $195 for the full retail price.  Albert Thurston braces hover around the $70-$80 range.  The gems below come from an estate sale on eBay by micandgeo. (I was very tempted to bid on several of these for myself).

Trafalgar Limited Edition, Parrots, starting at $19.99

Trafalgar Limited Edition, Tortoise & Hare, starting at $19.99

Trafalgar Limited Edition, Darts, starting at $19.99

Trafalgar Limited Edition, African Animals, starting at $19.99

Albert Thurston, Planes, starting at $19.99

Albert Thurston, Peacock Feathers, starting at $19.99 (on second thought, I think I'll bid on this set)

For the record, I have nothing against firemen (heck, I’m friends with a fireman).

Happy hunting!

The Vintage Shirt Company

This post was written by Lindy Dandy.

I’m a firm believer that you can find just about anything on the internet, if you search diligently.  The Vintage Shirt Company, based out of the UK, supplies shirts and accessories for use in period costume dramas; everything from the 1700s to the present day.  A huge thanks to Lindy Shopper for pointing out this site to me.

According to their “About Us” page, “All the stock is adapted from original garments to ensure an authentic period look. Close attention has been paid to the detailing and standard of finish which means they can confidently be used in film work. We also stock a range of traditional underwear and useful accessories.”

This company features a ludicrous number of stiff, detachable collars.  Detachable collars?  According to the common legend, the detachable collar was invented by Hannah Lord Montague in Troy, NY in 1827; she found that the only soiled part of her husband’s shirts were the collars, so she snipped off the collar, washed it, then sewed it back on.  Nowadays, detachable collars are largely unnecessary as they are very formal and very tedious.  If you’re looking to dress in a 1920s to 1940s style, detachable collars are a bit old-fashioned, even for you; detachable collars are more of a turn-of-the-century style.  The World Wars forced more practicality into men’s clothing, so attached collar shirts became the norm.

an example of a detachable collar, the Standard Wing Stiff Collar

It’s interesting to see shirt designs from the 1920s onward, if only so you can notice that things have remained largely unchanged since then.  The “dress shirt” as we know it, was standardized by that time.  Only the fabric, patterns and proportions have oscillated with the times.

just a regular dress shirt, right? This is described as a "1920’s Spearpoint collar attached shirts in White with Blue/Black stripe"

As you can see, this is a pretty simple striped dress shirt, one that you might be able to find in a dozen different places.

The true advantage of this store, then, is that it is a great one-stop shop for vintage inspired accessories.  They’ve got a killer collection of braces (suspenders), sock garters, scarves, handkerchiefs and gloves.  These are the sorts of details that can take your looks to a higher level.  Keep in mind that this one-stop shop is going to be on the pricier side, especially since they’re shipping from the UK.

Here are some of my favorites:

I prefer braces with white fasteners because they match all colors of shoes (though few people are that picky about it), Henley stripe button braces, starting at £35 + VAT.

These are a bit whimsical, but I like them. Reading Glass Monocles, £45 + VAT.

Arm Bands can really bring together a vintage look. £7.5 + VAT

They also carry some handsome pocket squares, £8.50 + VAT.

Forgive me for geeking out, but they carry Panthrella socks, some of the nicest (and pricier) socks that are made made in the world. They're hard to find. £8.25 + VAT

If you want to be the most uniquely dressed guy at a sleepwear dance party, you could wear a nightshirt. (if you do this, we want photos)

If you're putting on some Shakespeare or plan to do some swashbuckling, this is the frilly shirt for you. Square cut frilled cotton lawn period shirt, £54 + VAT.

For more on detachable collars, check out this site.