Men, women and children enjoy wearing suspenders and it’s not uncommon for new suspender wearers to wonder how tight do suspender straps need to be to feel comfortable. The answer is…it depends on various factors.
Too Tight or Just Right?
The first indication that suspenders are too tight is when you feel constricted in the chest area. Instead of feeling relaxed, your mind is preoccupied by discomfort. Sure, you want your suspenders to stay on your shoulders, and you want those straps to not shift this way and that or drop off the shoulder as you move around. There’s nothing more annoying than having to constantly pull a strap up over your shoulder. Still, you may pull those straps so tight they feel more like a stiff harness than a practical fashion accessory.
Don’t suffer because you think those straps are going to somehow fall down. Instead, loosen the straps until the restriction is gone, and then start over again with your strap adjustment. Your goal is to make straps feel comfortably snug so that they fit just right. Take some time to experiment with different strap adjustment settings. Starting with completely loose straps. Pull straps tighter in small increments until they sit securely on your shoulders, but don’t slide. Also, there’s no feeling of constriction.
Select the Right Size
Size certainly matters when it comes to choosing which suspenders are best for your body type. If you end up with a pair that is too small, they’re going to feel too tight, and unfortunately, there’s no way to make them larger. This is because suspender sizes show you the full extended out length, without any adjustments. For example, let’s say that you’re 5 foot 9 1/2 inches and you figure you can fit into medium 42-inch suspenders. Since suspenders are adjustable, you figure that extra half-inch isn’t going to be a big deal.
The suspenders arrive and you’re eager to try them on. Right away, you notice they feel too tight. You try adjusting the straps, but they only feel tighter. What gives? Well, you have chosen the wrong size and it’s impossible to make them extend longer to relieve the tension. Always remember that suspenders can be adjusted smaller, but never longer. So, you must replace the medium with a size large (48-inch size), which you can easily adjust to make the straps tighter until they fit just right.
The above rule of thumb applies to all suspenders. But, even when following this rule, you may still run into sizing issues. Suspender sizes are, after all, guestimates at best. Body types vary from person to person, which is why there are such wide ranges for each size category.