Can a young, non-hipster pull off suspenders?

Keepin' yer pants on.  The old fashioned way.
Ask A Woman:  Do suspenders belong strictly to old men and hipsters?

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Dear Beth,

A few days ago I was looking at the family photo album and I saw a 50 year old photo of my grandfather wearing suspenders.  So that kinda got me thinking: what is the way to pull off suspenders without looking like you’re trying too hard?  Is this even possible in the 21st century?  I’m afraid I’ll end up looking like a hipster or one of those 20-something guys who fail to see that wearing a fedora with their casual outfit is generally frowned upon.

Thank you for your help!

-Kristian

 

Dear Kristian,

“Trying too hard” is a complicated turn of phrase, isn’t it?  When I think of trying too hard, I think of orange spray tans on men, a pound of foundation on women, and stiff, immovable hair on both.  Basically, trying too hard in my world is an excess of something.  It doesn’t mean super trendy.  As much as Dappered focuses on and promotes classic taste, I think everyone here likes to dabble in trends now and again…we just don’t want a whole wardrobe stacked with trends that are only wearable for a season or two.

The extremely rare dual redundant pant securing system, made even more rare by the camo / woven leather belt combo. In short: Don’t do this.

Suspenders are certainly trendy, in the way that fedoras are (er, were), but the trick is to add it to an ensemble that’s subtle in other ways. So you don’t want an outfit that features suspenders, fedora, man cardigan, black nerd glasses, skinny jeans, and a fashion scarf. It’s not that these items separately are offensive, in fact, I like most of them on their own. But you want to use them sparingly…like ant killer, or anchovies on pizza.

Yes, suspenders are hipster-ish, but to some extent, that’s not fair.  The hipster style is basically a reclamation of older, now-uncommon trends (see my list above).  It’s not like they invented the suspender–it’s been around forever.  The only reason suspenders went away is that belts were created and men stopped wearing formal attire like vests and suit coats which hid the suspender from view.  So I say, Kristian, wear suspenders if you dig them.  Like any uncommon piece of clothing or accessory, you’ll definitely get noticed in suspenders, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Some dudes who look dapper in suspenders: Andre 3000 who wears them better than anyone else; Ian Somerhalder looks dashing in them; Ed Westwick wears them conservatively; Denzel Washington is a bad ass in them; Jon Hamm smolders in them.

As far as your options, there are quite a few.  I prefer striped vertical-striped suspenders myself, like these navy and cream ones, or these red, white, and blue ones.  But they also come in patterns, like these navy and red.  And of course, your basic solid colors, like these in burgundy, navy, black, and olive.

Finally, a salute to the most faithful wearer of the suspender–our friend…Larry King.

-Beth

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Suspender belt duo photo credit.