Your Guide to Braces
Types of Braces:
Clip Braces: The most common mens braces, these have clips on each end of the length of the braces which clip onto your trousers. The clips can be gold or silver coloured, but more important is the strength of the clips. Cheaper braces may have poorly made clips which slip too easily or lose their grip after a while, a common complaint amongst braces wearers. Opt for braces with sturdy clips to ensure a good fit and long lasting wear.
Button Braces: The original style of braces, button ends are usually leather and hook onto a button sewn on the inside of the top of your trousers. As a result, button braces are very reliable in terms of keeping their grip, although not all designs are available in this format.
Combi Braces: These are braces which combine clips and button ends, so you can alternate between the two as you desire. The same advantages and warnings as above apply, and again the range of designs is limited.
Suspenders: The American term for mens trouser braces.
X-Back vs Y-Back:
X-Back Braces: X-Back simply describes what the braces look like from behind when you're wearing them. In the case of X-back braces, the braces form an X on your back, so you have two clips or buttons on the front, and two clips or buttons on the back. This is the most common and popular design, probably because they fit and hold better than the Y-back braces.
Y-Back Braces: As the name suggests, Y-back braces form the shape of a Y on your back, so whereas you have two clips or buttons on the front, on your back you'll only have 1. This may not be as strong a fit as X-back braces, and the choice of designs is considerably restricted.
4-Clip Braces: Another name for X-Back Braces.
3-Clip Braces: Another name for Y-Back Braces.
Back Joins: Where the braces cross over on the back, they are joined together to keep them in place. This join can be leather, metal or plastic. Ultimately which one you choose comes down to comfort and look: plastic is cheaper but doesn't look nearly as good as metal or leather, whereas leather backs are scarcer than metal backs. For the most part, the back joins will be silver or gold metal to match the clips.
Plain Braces: Plain coloured braces are a single colour throughout (apart from the clips). There is usually a good choice of colours in both regular and extra long lengths.
Novelty Braces: These braces follow a certain theme or interest, so they might be rainbow coloured, or flags or even leopard print! There is normally a good choice of novelty braces, although these will not always be available in extra long.
Most braces are stretchable elastic, which provides a comfortable fit. Non-stretchable fabric braces are also available, although they have largely been replaced by stretchable elastic which is far more versatile.
Length: It's quite hard to size braces in terms of one's height for example, as the braces not only stretch, their fit is also dependant on the overall size of the wearer. Average braces lengths vary from 40" to 44" (101cm - 112cm), which would roughly fit someone of medium build up to 6' (182cm). Extra Long braces vary from 44" to 48" (112cm - 122cm), which would roughly fit someone of medium build up to 6'4" (195cm). These are rough estimates though - the only way to know for sure if they'll fit is to try them.
Widths: Braces widths also vary, from a super skinny 1" (25mm) to a wide 2" (50mm). The most common width though is 1.4" (35mm), which is suitable for most people. The extreme narrow and wide braces are rarer, and usually only available in very limited colours.
Slide Adjusters: Most braces have slide adjusters, which enable you to change the length of the braces to fit you. The slide adjusters are usually the same colour (gold or silver) as the clips, or one of the colours if button braces.
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