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.

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!

Old Woogies

This one is for the gents – while Old Woogies has some adorable women’s shoes, the focus of the company’s apparel, accessories, and footwear is men. Old Woogies is based out of Italy and sells men’s shoes, pants, suspenders, belts, jumpers (aka short sleeve sweaters), hats, jeans, caps, and other menswear items inspired by the swing era and the 1950’s. There’s much more on the website, but here are some of my faves (which may turn out like your mom dressing you…). 😉

Take a break from your white Aris Allens and sink your feet into these white lovelies.
Classic pant, wide leg, cuffs...yes, please.
Two tone in white and brown.
The website offers a variety of patterned suspenders in classic color palettes.
Mesh and leather...I'd like to see more of these on the dance floor.
Caps in many fabrics!
Some burly looking denim.