Suspenders vs. Belt: A Comprehensive Comparison

by jacky chou
Updated on

In one way or another, almost every man has found themselves in the debate of suspenders vs. belt-wearing. And truth be told, they have a similar job: to hold up our pants so that it doesn’t end up around our ankles.

While both are essential accessories in a man’s wardrobe, knowing which one would serve you better or when to where one is crucial to feeling confident. Nonetheless, whatever you choose will be a personal preference determined by your style and needs.

In this short guide, I will give you a comprehensive comparison that will help you decide which one suits your style best.

What Are Belts?

Belts are men’s accessories commonly worn around the trouser waistband to help keep pants or trousers from falling. Almost every trouser today comes with belt loops as its daily use increases. Belts come in different styles, aesthetics, and materials; but are often made of leather or canvas. As an accessory, belts are an essential part of every man’s wardrobe.

Wear a Belt

Image Credits: pablogiftshop.com

Leather belts are popularly used as formal wear, though they are not restricting. They come in different styles and patterns that fit various occasions, preferences, and aesthetics. Today, designers make leather belts worn at informal events using intricate designs that allow men to be creative.

On the other hand, Canvas belts are more inclined to the informal side, looking better with a casual outfit. Canvas belts are more restricting than leather belts. It is best to avoid wearing canvas belts in smart-casual, formal, or semi-formal events. They make for a great accessory for everyday wear.

Advantages

  • Tension is mainly around your waist.
  • It helps to reduce the “gap” of your trouser band
  • It’s easier to adjust to your constantly moving waist

What Are Suspenders?

Suspenders hold up pants and keep them from falling around the ankles. They are two pieces of fabric that go over the shoulders and often form an X or Y shape at the back. Both straps come with attachments that can be clipped or buttoned to the front and back of the trouser to hold them up.

Suspenders Braces

Image Credits: shopee.sg

Designers make modern suspenders from various materials, from silk and rayon to wool blends. The materials usually have an elastic webbing that enhances comfort and stretch. Suspenders offer a better fastening mechanism than belts. Additionally, they leave your attire looking smarter.

Advantages

  • All the tension remains on your shoulders.
  • Shoulder elevation doesn’t change, so the suspenders also remain in one location.

What Are the Main Differences Between Belts and Suspenders?

Same Job Accessories

Image Credits: nextlevelgents.com

Although belts and suspenders are popular accessories loved widely and used almost daily, there are significant differences between them. The most obvious difference is how you wear them and how they attach to pants. Belts go through belt loops and cinch your waist, whereas suspenders go over the shoulders and fix to the trousers using clips or suspender buttons.

While belts help to reduce an unwanted gap in the trouser waistband, suspenders don’t. For this reason, suspenders look sloppy when worn with a trouser that has space. Another pronounced difference is the fact that suspenders tend to be considered more formal than belts. While you can wear leather belts to formal events, there are occasions when only a suspender can fit – like when wearing a tuxedo.

How To Style Suspenders

Casual Braces

Image Credits: mrkoachman.com

Suspenders add an elegant element to any formal attire. They are known to add a sense of sophistication to most attires. On most formal occasions, especially where a tuxedo is the dress code, suspenders are better than belts. Typically, you are supposed to wear black suspenders at formal events; however, casual outfits allow for suspenders in bold colors and subtle patterns.

While today you can get away with suspenders in casual settings, your outfit will still have a sense of formality. For example, you can wear leather suspenders with a short-sleeved checkered button-down; paired with a pair of solid chinos. To complete the look, add some brogues in suede or leather.

How To Style Belts

Wearing a Belt

Image Credits: suitsexpert.com

The greatest thing about belts is the versatility they offer when it comes to styling. You can easily style up belts or style them down to suit the event or the material used. For example, a brown leather belt can look great with neutral chinos at a smart-casual event.

Another way to wear a belt is by using it to add sophistication to casual outfits. For example, you can wear black denim with a black leather belt and a white tee, then finish the look with a black leather jacket. And if leather belts are tricky to style, you can go with canvas belts which are ultra casual.

It is important to remember to avoid wearing canvas belts in formal events regardless of how much you feel the outfit looks good. Wear these belts when skateboarding or going for lunch but not to a wedding or any black tie event.

Benefits of Wearing Suspenders

The debate between belts and suspenders is very much in existence. Some strongly believe that suspenders are better for holding up pants than wearing belts. So let us look at some advantages that suspenders have over most belts.

Pair of Braces

Image Credits: pinterest.com

1. More Comfortable

Suspenders are comfortable because they hold up your pants without cinching at the waist. Therefore, you’ll look good without feeling uncomfortable. You can always taper your pants to have a comfortable fit as you wear your suspenders.

2. Prevents Bunched-Up Dress Shirt

If you want to look as sharp as you did when you left the house, suspenders are your best bet. Belts cinch tightly at the waistband resulting in your dress shirt bunching up as the day progresses. If you’ve experienced this problem when you wear a belt, it might be time to try out suspenders.

Neat Formal Outfit

Image Credits: pinterest.com

3. Encourages Good Posture

Most people walk and sit with a little slump, which is unhealthy. When you wear suspenders, you will realize that you walk straighter than usual because they hang on your shoulders. In other words, it will promote good posture without putting pressure on you. Subconsciously you will walk better and even sit better without feeling like you have to adjust your posture every time.

4. Use As a Fashion Accessory

A belt is a subtle fashion accessory and can go unnoticed. On the other hand, you can use suspenders to make a fashion statement. It is a distinct accessory that stands out both as a classic and fun addition to any wardrobe. Therefore, if you are looking to show off your style, make a statement by wearing suspenders.

Benefits of Wearing Belts

Wear a Belt

Image Credits: oxhideleather.sg

There are many reasons even men who loved to wear suspenders transitioned to belts. There are several other benefits belts have over suspenders. Additionally, today most trousers come designed with belt loops. 

The following are a few of the reasons why you should wear belts.

1. Comfort

Many men feel uncomfortable having suspenders hanging on their shoulders. One reason for the discomfort is that when the day comes to an end, you’ll feel the pressure that was on your shoulders the whole day. For this reason, people prefer wearing belts for the comfort that is attached to them. When you wear a well-fitting belt that is not too tight, you can go through the day comfortably without having your attention drawn to your waist.

2. Fashion Statement

It is easier to make a fashion statement with a belt. You can use a belt to display wealth or status, or you can use it to communicate your fashion sense. The options and materials are numerous, from alligator leather and calfskin belts to blinged-out belts. There are always belts that can fit your style, regardless of how your pants sit, whether on your waist or your hips.

Belt Typically Worn with Casual Trousers

 Image Credits: etsy.com

2. Utility

One of the reasons many American men, and most men the world over, prefer belts to suspenders is because of how useful they are. Historically, people used a belt to hold scabbards, tools, pouches, and holsters. While the central use for belts has always been to hold trousers up, a belt can also be functional today.

Granted, using your belt to hold things like belt bags, phone clips, and pouches may not be the best idea for a formal look.

3. Variety Of Style

Belts accommodate a variety of styles and tastes. While suspenders can also come in different materials and patterns, belts are the better choice. Belts easily balance a look and make it more pronounced than a suspender would ever.

Casual Belts

Image Credits: stylesatlife.com

Frequently Asked Questions About Suspenders and Belts

Below are some common questions and answers about belts and suspenders.

1. Can you wear a belt with suspenders?

Wearing a belt together with suspenders is a big fashion fail. It is very redundant to wear them both at the same time. Both belts and suspenders hold up your pants. Therefore, there is no need to wear them at the same time. 

2. Are suspenders more formal than belts?

You can wear both belts and suspenders to formal events. However, suspenders are more formal than belts because, on occasions that require a tuxedo, only a suspender would be suitable.

3. Can you wear suspenders under a shirt?

Suspenders that are worn under a shirt are known as undergarment suspenders. You can’t tuck in your shirt or sweater when you wear these undergarment suspenders.

4. Why did belts replace suspenders?

 Even though men continued to wear suspenders for a long time, belts gradually became more popular. The reason behind belts replacing suspenders in most wardrobes is the ease of use and the versatility they bring to most people.

5. Do suspenders help posture?

Suspenders help you engage your core and straighten your back as you walk and sit. A suspender that fits well will be very beneficial to your posture. However, ensure that they are not too tight on your shoulders.

Conclusion

We have covered what you need to know about suspenders and belts. We have delved into the benefits and how you can wear each one. Everyone has personal preferences, so the debate might never end, but one fact is that both accessories are essential. 

Ultimately, the occasion you are going to and your style will determine what you will decide to wear. Whatever you pick to work with, wear it with confidence!

Featured Image Credits: greensfelder.com

Photo of author

About the author

jacky chou

Leave a Comment