The Advent of Suspenders.
In the eighteen-century trousers and pants were held up by suspenders. The manufacturers used ribbon strips to make the suspenders which were attached to pants and trousers using buttonholes. In these olden days, they were only worn as an undergarment so as not to be indecent.
Present day suspenders – also known as braces, first came into existence in the early nineteenth century. They were manufactured and designed by Albert Thurston. Leather loops were used to attach the braces. The suspenders come in various designs. However the categorization of these belts is dependent on two things; according to the shape formed at the back and the method of attachment. For example the earliest designs formed an H at the back as a result of joining braces. Later designs crossed to form the letter X and the most recent were Y-shaped. The second type of categorization was dependent according to their attachment to the trousers and the earliest designs were attached using buttons. Later, leather loops were used to make an attachment to the trousers using buttonholes and finally, suspenders were attached to trousers by use of metal clasps.
Materials used to make them has also changed over time. for instance the materials used have evolved from ribbons to woven wool. The woven wool material is also known as the box fabric. Despite using different materials all suspenders served the same purpose; holding up trousers. Belts were not familiar because the fashion trend that was there then involved wearing very high waist trousers The trousers were high-waist that belts could not be used; only braces were suitable.
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There are famous and influential people who cannot be left out when talking about the history of suspenders. These people are credited with the manufacture and designing of the precursor to the designs we see today. These earlier designs have only undergone a little changes since their introduction into the clothing industry. Albert Thurston, who is known as the founding father of modern day braces, credited as the first designer and manufacturer of stylish suspenders. The H-Shaped suspender was first introduced to be worn by men in the fire department by Benjamin Franklin. Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, received a patent for Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments in 1871.
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Famous people who wore and embraced the suspenders fashion include; actors Humphrey Bogart and Ralph Richardson who wore them frequently in their movies. With the advent of the twentieth century, young British men began using braces as fashion statements. Working class women also adopted this subculture, and it gave braces a unisex appeal. The glamor of suspenders was not only left in the twentieth century but was imported into the twenty-first century whereby iconic figures still adorn this attire.