Suspenders vs. the Belt: Which One is Best?

How do you prefer to hold your pants up — with belts or suspenders? In the mid-19th and early 20th century, suspenders were almost universally worn because the high cut of trousers during that time made belts impractical. Today, most pants fall slightly below the natural waist and belts have become the standard choice. However, modern suspender wearers tend to be passionate about their choice.

Why the enthusiasm for suspenders you might ask? If you haven't fully considered your suspenders vs. belt opinion, here are four key differences to help you develop your own informed stance.

Suspenders vs Belt: The Great Debate - Settled

1. Suspenders serve as a distinct fashion accessory; belts make a subtle fashion statement.

Say "suspenders" and the image that might come immediately to mind is that of a character in an old movie or TV show. Back in the day, certain characters in westerns and gangster flicks wore outfits that reflected their times. When a new generation wanted to make a fashion splash, suspenders became instantly old-fashioned. Ideas about what is fashionable constantly evolve, and so have views about wearing suspenders.  

Suspenders today are considered to be a cool and distinctive fashion accessory for men and women of all ages. With suspenders, men and women can showcase their personal style quickly and easily change or enhance outfits to create unique looks. This can be done because modern suspenders are designed to complement a wide range of personal styles. From fashion models and Wall Street executives to steampunks and everyday people, suspenders are a practical and fun way to accessorize your attire. Because there are so many great choices, you can build a suspender collection of favorite colors and patterns to broaden your fashion options.

Comparatively, belts also make a fashion statement, albeit a subtle one. Belts can be worn by men and women too, but ultimately, they lack some of the pizzazz of a one-of-a-kind pair of suspenders.

2. There are multiple types of suspenders, while there is only one type of belt.

Suspenders are available in numerous widths, fabrics, attachment styles, colors and patterns, ensuring you can wear them for just about any occasion from special dressy events to rugged outdoor work, and everything in between. There are even leather suspenders that give you the look and feel of a classic belt in suspender form. And, if you’re a fan of leather, you can choose a solid basic leather style or western styles with stamped borders or other beautifully handcrafted designs.

Conversely, belts feature a more limited range of style options. Belts boast a timeless look and feel, making them great for both casual and formal occasions where you want a subtle and functional way to keep your trousers in place. 

3. Suspenders are making a fashion comeback; belts continue to stay stuck in neutral. 

Suspenders are becoming exceedingly popular among children, teens and adults, as they provide you with a terrific opportunity to dress both fashionably and comfortably any time you choose.

In fact, it’s younger generations who are leading the way with their love of the skinny and ultra-thin suspenders. The sleekness of these suspenders is a refreshing change from the belt. Better still, they come in all sorts of cool colors and prints that go great with outfits that express a person’s uniqueness. Trendsetters are also leading the way with their creative use of color, texture and width, pairing all kinds of suspenders with a wide range of shirt and tie styles.

On the other hand, belts come in neutral tones that blend in with any outfit. These items may provide a subtle accent to casual or professional outfits, but rarely, if ever, serve as a bold fashion accessory.

4. Many people find that suspenders are more comfortable to wear; depending on your build, belts can cramp your style.

Tightening a belt to the point where you feel constrained or uncomfortable for any reason can be annoying. Belts can also feel awkward due to their construction or belt hole placement.

Suspenders have neither of these problems. By distributing the load over the shoulders, suspenders allow pants to stay perfectly in place without discomfort. Additionally, suspenders are popular for business and dress attire because they allow pants to fall naturally, thereby providing a clean and polished look.

When it comes to deciding between suspenders and belts, it is vital to consider many different factors. And when considering all of the above, you'll be able to make the right decision between suspenders and belts, keeping in mind that suspenders are easy to adjust for comfort and fashionable.

Can't decide? While formal fashion experts advise against wearing both suspenders and a belt at the same time, some folks just want to be doubly sure their pants stay in place. It looks nice — and some would say if you have belt loops on your pants, it looks better to fill them with a belt rather than have them be empty. So, if you are comfortable thumbing your nose at the nay-sayers, we say go ahead and do as you please!

In fact, there are suspenders designed specifically for this purpose. One popular style, called belt-clip suspenders, feature a heavy plastic clip that slides over belts up to 1-1/2 inches wide. You can learn more about how to choose the best belt suspenders with our video. Another style, often found on galluses (heavy duty suspenders designed for western wear) feature leather loops that belts can slide through.

Suspenders, belts or both? The choice is yours! 

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