My Accidental Love of Braces (the trouser variety)

It began by accident as many relationships often do, it was a cold spring night in April, I look back at it now with rose tinted fondness as I was not to know of the tragedy that was to unfold.

It was my friend’s fancy dress birthday party and I had decided to dress up as Doctor Who, the newest incarnation of The Doctor: bowtie, braces (or suspenders if you are american) and all. I brought the vast majority of the costume online bar the tweed jacket (that unashamedly I had owned for a few years previously). The night arrived and I unboxed the maroon braces with golden clasps and after a lengthy, swear filled period I successfully got them on. My first time wearing the braces began like many firsts do; painfully, with awkward moments and hoping no one sees the facial expressions as you struggle. However, after an hour had past and everyone had stopped twanging my braces like a slapstick comedy bra strap I truly began to enjoy them.

The night came to a close and I de-doctored and the braces were put away and eventually forgotten about like: odd socks, unwanted bills or Lindsay Lohan. I thought little of them after that night, thinking of them as a one-night stand, merely a piece of dress-up get-up. All of this changed about two weeks later, when the relationship truly blossomed.

I was already 20 minutes late to meet friends at a bar, my phone buzzing like a bee on steroids with disgruntled friends fuming at my lateness. The hold up was my belt, or rather its location, which was eluding me buried under a thick blanket of lecture notes, dirty clothes and week old newspapers that would have required an archaeologist to excavate. Without some sort of trouser support system, embarrassment would undoubedtly rear (pun intended) its ugly head especially since it was laundry day and my “last resort” lime-green boxers were being worn. Then suddenly it hit me, the braces, slightly cautious as to what my friends might make of my lumberjack accessory I hid them under a jumper. That night was one of the most comfortable nights of my life, without the constant pinching of a belt and with the security that my trousers would never end up around my ankles while the braces were in town, it was bliss. So the braces slid into daily wear always hidden like Superman’s costume under the suit of Clark Kent. This was until I was caught re-arranging my straps one night, soon the pointing and questions hailed down like judgemental rain and I had not brought an excuse umbrella. Stuttering like a kicked dictionary I tried to explain the social faux pas I had committed by wearing them, however, after explaining that it wasn’t a man bra and how the braces were a supportive god send my friends accepted them and a few (who will remain nameless out of fear of being revealed) began to wear them too.

All loves have an ending and after many months of joy and trouser support the relationship came to a end, the breakup came in the most literal sense. It all occurred a few days ago whilst out in a pub, I had gone to get some more drinks and upon noticing my shoes were untied I bent over to remedy the problem, then it happened. It was all done in slow motion, the sound of elastic snapping echoing around the crowded pub, the broken braces going limp and my heart like my trousers dropped.

I will buy another pair but nothing is as special as your first love, however, I took this from the heartbreak (and embarrassment from having my trousers fall down in a crowded place)…….

It is better to have braced and lost than never to have braced at all

78 thoughts on “My Accidental Love of Braces (the trouser variety)

  1. Katharine Breaker says:

    Lol my husband is exactly the same a subtle love of braces. You have hit the nail on the head I hope this becomes freshpress too, you are really gifted. Congrats 😉 xx

  2. sarahnsh says:

    This is so funny, and at first I thought you were trying on and taking off braces as in braces for teeth. I realized with the suspenders picture that it was what you were saying, and they do look comfy, but being a girl I would not only get laughed at for even trying them I’d be abolished from many places.

    I hope you get another pair since you love them!

  3. James says:

    I too find braces very efficient and comfortable, but am shy at showing them in public. However, I have been caught out occasionally, and nobody has made any comment at all. I am still nervous at braving my braces (particularly as I am only 19,) but shall persevere.

  4. Ky says:

    I have been secretly wearing braces for a couple of years. They are very comfortable, and efficient, but also very difficult to hide. However, whenever I have been caught out, nobody (gf included) has made any adverse comments, so why do I still feel embarrassed? Answers would be much appreciated. I am only 19.

  5. micc23 says:

    i wear several types of braces; trouser, no leg no hips; arm non-union; leg, k-nail, knee; neck, not all the time; you figure. i’m extremely self-conscious but i find most women are quite perceptive to them, to the degree of sex play.

    is there something wrong with sexy – or sex. most women i know drag me into the shops by my braces. i could say a lot more.

    • James Dunn says:

      You don’t need to apologise I’m glad you’ve taken the time to go that far back in my blog. I must admit that I haven’t worn the fez yet, but fezzes are cool so maybe I will someday!

  6. Rory says:

    I am slim and have no hips to speak of, so have spent my childhood and youth constantly hitching up my pants. At the ripe old age of 21 I made a New Year resolution to try a pair of braces, but had to face the embarrassment of buying them. I saw some at the local outdoor market, and tried to decide which colour, whilst looking at the vast array of underpants next to them on the stall. The stallholder, a lad about my age, suddenly appeared, and assuming I was after the underwear, volunteered that given the freezing weather,(-10) he would recommend the thermal longjohns at only £4.99. I blurted out that I agreed, and he asked my size. When i said 30 inches, he stated that I would struggle to get them that small, but why didn’t I try the 32 inch, and keep them up with braces (which he could also supply). Problem of the braces solved. I bought both the longjohns and the braces, and whilst I have only worn the braces, I am absolutely delighted with my purchase. The comfort they afford is out of this world, and as a result my brother is also hooked. True, I do receive the odd unkind comment when I remove my jacket or cardigan, but most guys are curious, and the gals love them! So, don’t wait until you are in your 40’s, enjoy braces now.

    • Sherlock says:

      good one mate. I am of senior years and have always liked braces but been shy of wearing them. Go for it and enjoy. Don’t wait until you are elderly!

  7. Jonathan says:

    I stumbled across this post because oddly enough I’m in the middle of researching the history of braces. Have to say – the ‘stuttering like a kicked dictionary’ moment elicited a literal LOL from me. But to my point: no need to be ashamed of wearing braces. In fact, I find it quite perplexing that you should feel that way at all. I’m incredibly fond of them, have multiple pairs and wear them quite regularly with jeans and a tshirt or with a more formal outfit. It’s quite common to see people – guys and girls – wearing braces here in Sydney. So I say wear them with pride and love every minute of it!

      • Mick says:

        There are only two ways to hold your pants up – a belt or braces, and I know which is more comfortable and efficient. Most men don’t wear braces because of their perception that they are something you wear when you are old, like or fathers and grandfathers, but once you have experimented with them, you will be hooked, as i am! And you certainly can’t keep them hidden, so wear them out loud and proud!

  8. Sherlock says:

    I have to agree completely with Mick about the perception peolpe have. I have always preferred braces but a few years ago began to wear them in some places but still shy in others. At the age of 60+ I am finally getting over my inhibitions.
    Wear them with pride folks and don’t wait till you are 60!

  9. Sherlock says:

    How often might you typically wear them, are they the clip or button type?
    I bought yet another pair from a vintage type store in Brighton. They are fawn, brown and white striped with brown leather ends and raised back and go a treat with my ‘cargo’ type fawn lightweight pants!

    • James Dunn says:

      clip, although I would like to get some button ones in the future. Your pair sound brilliant, maybe I’ll have a look in some of the shops next weekend when I’m down in London

      • Sherlock says:

        Hi again James,
        A good place for new button end braces is Tie Rack but second hand and vintage shops have some much more interesting ones. In London I guess Camden Town Market the Horsemarket section) is the best place I know for them.
        Happy shopping and do keep me posted!

  10. Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

    I share your love of them. You don’t realise the endearment of braces until you are hung by a coat hook by them. Mine withstood an hour and a half of me, swinging slightly about 30 cm off the floor. Great quality, have no idea how they witheld that long.

  11. Sherlock says:

    Hi Trouser-Braces_Boy,
    Sounds an unusual way to use braces!
    Do you wear them generally to hold up your trousers or just for coat hook fun?

    • Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

      Well I wear braces because I love them and , yes, to hold up my trousers as I prefer them to a belt but when you’re in secondary school, people use them against you either by twanging them or suspending you by a coat hook. I don’t do it as a hobby but its a form of secondary school teasing that I am prone to having. Hope that clarifies things.

      • Sherlock says:

        Hi again,
        I am so sorry you get this hassle at Secondary School. When I was at school braces were fast going out of fashion. I still loved wearing them but used to hide them under my jumper. Jumpers are not worn so much these days! It sounds like you are bold to let it be known you waer braces. Good for you!
        Are you in the UK?

  12. Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

    Thank you, Sherlock,
    Yes. I’m the only one who wears them and they’re button-on braces which hold surprisingly well. Oh well, good fashion comes at a price. Even my teachers tend to twang them which gets slightly irritating because, as they’re teachers, I can’t do anything to stop them. Anyhow, I love braces and don’t intend to be put off by their actions. I think I was born in the wrong era as my style is as some would call ‘outdated’ in my generation but I’m proud.

    • Sherlock says:

      Hello again Trouser-Braces_Boy
      Thanks for your reply. I also am far more fond of the button style than the clip end braces. Your teachers are surely out of order in twanging them unless it is done playfully. There is a fine line between being playful and acting in a way which is meant to humiliate.
      As for being born in the wrong era, of the few guys I see wearing braces, I guess there are more younger than older people or is it that the younger are more bold to let their braces be seen?
      Do you manage to purchase trousers with buttons already sewn into the waistband for braces or do you (or your mother perhaps) sew them on?
      Do keep in touch, and keep being bold to wear your braces with pride!

  13. Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

    Hello Sherlock,
    I’m sorry I haven’t replied in a while but my computer has had the oddest meltdown! My teachers, I am sure, are merely twanging my braces straps in fun. I do think that younger people are bolder to show their braces. On the buttons, I sew them onto the waistband myself. Do you have buttons on the inside or outside of the waistband? I just notice that some people have buttons on the inside instead of the outside. Just a random question. Keep in touch!

    • Sherlock says:

      Hi again,
      Good to hear back from you. Incidentally I am currently having PC problems, especially on line.
      I have buttons on the inside with suit or ‘smart casual’ trousers but sometimes on the outside with jeans such as I am wearing today. Also you can get metal buttons (similar to the fly button on jeans) to hammer into the waist on jeans. I have done that several times and it looks just as though the jeans were made that way.
      Where do you buy your braces? I have quite a collection mainly picked up cheap from charity shops.
      Yes do keep in touch

    • Sherlock says:

      Hello again Trouser Braces Boy,
      I wondered whether you had chance to get metal hammer in buttons over the weekend?

    • Sherlock says:

      Sorry I left a message about hammer in buttons inserted in the wrong place in the correspondence.. I have a new PC and struggling with understanding how it works!
      Do let me know how you go on with the buttons.

  14. Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

    Hello again,
    I must give the metal buttons a try as I wear jeans with braces but the buttons clash with the overall look of the jeans. On purchasing braces, I buy them, similarly, at alot of charity shops but also retro second hand shops; I pick them up whenever I find cool pairs. They’re usually wide button-on but, now and then, I get skinny button-on straps. What width do you prefer? My personal preferences are wide button-on straps and skinny clip-on straps.

    • Sherlock says:

      Yes the metal buttons work well and are hammered in quickly but take care not to bend the pin as you hammer!
      Depending on the charity shop and the area it serves you can sometimes pick braces up cheaply but not always. In retro shops (certainly round here) you are looking £10/£12 for nice button end braces. You can get nice ones on line too, also in Tie Rack..
      Yes I much prefer the wide type but have a few skinny clip end pairs.

  15. Baz says:

    Like many I used braces as a kid, I am now 73 and bought my first pair of braces for years two days ago, no belt pinching me, its easier the bend over, the zip is easier to get at and generally more comfortable, I am now a braces man! oh, I ordered two more pairs from Amazon last night, the ones I’m wearing are from M & S, very sturdy.

    • Sherlock says:

      Hi Baz,
      Welcome to the ranks of braces wearers. Whenever I hear of anyone trying braces for the first time or returning to them after wearing them in childhood, I hear the same coments about comfort. I returned to them a few years ago but am still shy in some circles. There is no good reason for that I trust you will be bold!

  16. Baz says:

    There is an old expression that I remember from my younger days, ‘He’s A Belt And Braces Man’, could have several meanings.

  17. Trouser-Braces_Boy says:

    Hello again, Sherlock. Forgive me for not writing for a while. I must thank you for the recommendation of metal buttons for jeans. The whole look of the trousers and braces combo is now unruined by unmatching buttons and they feel much more secure.

  18. Coolguy says:

    Hi all

    My Granddad came to stay recently, and has always worn braces. Somehow on an older man they don’t look so odd. However, one night when the rest of the family had gone out, he politely pointed out that most of the time my underpants were showing and did I not find this embarrassing. Before I had a chance to answer that it did not bother me, he asked if I had ever tried braces. I replied “no”, and he suggested that I try a pair of his. To humour him, I agreed, and was gobsmacked to discover how comfortable they were, although I felt nervous at being seen wearing them, so went up to bed before the family returned from their night out.

    Next morning I overslept, and got dressed in such a hurry that I came down to breakfast not realising that I still had his braces clipped to my jeans, but hanging down. I was quickly stopped in my tracks on entering the kitchen when they caught on the doorknob (I thought they only did that in old films) and a burst of laughter from my brothers.I was so red-faced, until i noticed that my younger brother was also wearing braces, but correctly on his shoulders. Then dad walked in, and said that if we were going to wear braces he would as well, as he always wanted to, but was afraid of showing himself up. It transpired that both my brothers and Dad had fancied wearing braces for some time, but all were too shy to make the first move.

    We all regularly wear braces around the house now, but still keep them covered in public. So glad I no longer unintentionally show my underpants!

  19. Sherlock Wilkinson says:

    Hi Fellow braces wearers,
    I recently purchased a pair of linen trousers from a charity shop. Although one size too big in the waist they were in pristine condition & I soon attached braces buttons. Visiting London over the hot weekend I wore them with braces and felt so very comfortable. The contrast between a belt rubbing tight around my hot waist and loose cool trousers held in place with braces and letting the air in, was unmistakable. Out of the hundreds of folks I must have seen I guess I noticed not more than 10 openly wearing braces. Even less than 10 stared at me and I guess those who did may secretly like braces but were too shy (as I have often been) to wear them!
    As some of the youngsters like to show off the waist or brand of their underpants, we braces wearers need to be proud and show what we like to wear. Perhaps some of the ‘shy’ ones might then become bold!
    Not much hot weather left guys. lets get out there with braces showing!!

  20. liz2you says:

    Hi James,
    I have grown to love and understand the useful purpose of braces, which in my South African upbringing would never have happened,. They were old men ‘s support! But my husband today regularly reminds me how practical they are and my, my, how sexy too!! Liz

  21. mark saniez says:

    It’s like when I left theUK in the 60’s to live in France My mother used to make me wear all day long short school trousers with buttons inside and with large and thick leather end braces + a cap on my shaven head!Once I arrived in France and up to the 1970’s not only did I have to continue wearing jean shorts with buttons and leather end braces but also thosd nylon buttoned overalls + a beret allways on my shaven head like allways that’s about up till I was 17 ! Plus here in france all the children were whipped by their mothers on their buttocks with a 10 tails leather whip called “the martinet” wich stung me quite a bit and My mother became a great martinet whipper with me and my sister ,Often are buttocks were very red because we had received so much whippings by our mothers !and you get get whipped with it anyware ,at home, in front of people,in the street ,at schol too by the women teachers !So there you are up to that age for me and my sister who by the way wore navy blue school skirts with large buttoned straps too and had to wear a beret up till she was 18 !That’s the way it was the great majority of teenagers here in France !.

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