All Leather Braces

Words by: Andrew Williams

Credits: Old Town Clothing;; Hackett

An unusual topic for a post you might think, and I would scarcely disagree.

But it’s funny the things that ferment away in the back of your mind over the weeks, months and even years. This is just such an example.

You see, a few years ago I was flicking through the TV channels on a wet Sunday afternoon when I came across an old American black and white movie. Sadly I can’t remember what the movie was called, or who the good looking actor who wore leather braces with his suit was either. But the idea has remained at the back of my mind ever since.

I’m sure there’re good reasons why most braces are elasticated, for one thing it allows a greater range of movement when going from a seated to a standing position and vice versa.

I wear elasticated braces with my suits, but I do miss that textural contrast of leather and cloth that wearing a belt with a suit provides – despite the much noted drawbacks. I also miss the way a good belt can instantly tie a look together, particularly with regard to footwear choices.

And then last week two things happened. Firstly, while surfing through various blogs on Tumblr I spotted the picture above of a high waist slim fitting English work wear chino from Old Town Clothing worn with braces and brogues. This look instantly appealed. So I set about looking through eBay for a pair of inexpensive beige elasticated braces with leather tabs. This was when the second thing happened; I came across a pair of all leather braces, which instantly reminded me of my old black and white movie. I decided to take a punt and bought them. And I’m rather pleased I did.

Having experimented they seem suited to all manner of clothing, and some I hadn’t considered. They naturally suit chinos, cords and moleskin for a distinctly European work wear feel – which was what they were intended for – but they also add a robust, textural contrast to worsted suits; and balance wonderfully with heavier cloths like tweed, adding an earthy sporty edge to that sense of country living.

An unusual item for an individual look.