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  • How To Put On Suspenders - A Gentleman’s Guide

    Louis Antonio Orefice wears Smart Turnout Household Division Braces whilst enjoying Coffee

    Pictured: Household Division Braces (Ph: LouisAntonioOrefice)

    First manufactured in the early 1820s by British designer Albert Thurston, braces (suspenders) were created to accommodate the men’s fashion du jour of truly high-waisted trousers. At the time, fashion was adjusting in response to the French Revolution and reacting against the disdain of excessive wealth. As such, men’s trousers were starting to be tailored with a longer leg and looser fit. Belts were no longer of use for holding up these garments, thus creating the need for braces or suspenders. Doctors in the early 20th century even used to prescribe practising “posture, exercise, and the wearing of suspenders”.

    The accessory was first patented in the United States by the acclaimed author Mark Twain and remained hugely popular, never disappearing from the gentleman’s wardrobe over the following two centuries. Instead, braces have constantly been re-purposed, resurfacing in popular culture when worn by the likes of Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange; Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, or Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

    For any who ever feel hesitant about embracing braces, we are going to demonstrate how seamlessly they can complete a look, whether for work, a wedding, or Windsor racecourse.

    Brace Yourself for the Everyday

    A gentleman will always prefer braces over a belt: they are the definitive choice when looking to add a touch of colour to your shirt and trousers or for the perfect complement to your jacket and tie. They hark back to a time of suave sophistication, yet remain a contemporary wardrobe staple; part of ensuring their modernity, however, comes in choosing the superlative colour or pattern. You can choose to match your braces to your trousers, your socks, your wallet, or even to act in contrast with your other garments. Braces are a great opportunity for you to be creative and to add a degree of individuality to your casual wear.

    steven d elliot of genuine mens magazine wearing smart turnout royal fusiliers braces

    Pictured: Royal Fusiliers Braces (Ph: @StevenDElliott)

    Regardless of whether you are at home, at work, or out and about, braces should effortlessly elevate your style.

    How To Put On Suspenders

    Suspenders are often associated with being tricky to put on and may deter some gentlemen from using them as a wardrobe staple. However, that reputation is unfairly deserved, below our short guide will tell you not only how to put on suspenders but how to feel comfortable and style them appropriately.

    First - A few rules of thumb:

    1. Never wear braces and a belt;
    2. Never wear with slim-fit trousers, as this renders the braces redundant;
    3. Always leave a little comfort room;
    Putting On Your Suspenders

    Now to the important part, how to put on your suspenders. At first glance the format of braces can seem quite daunting, but look a little closer and the process is rather simple. The first thing to note is that there are two types of brace attachments. Firstly you have a clip fastening, a slightly newer method and firm favourite for those looking for a quick fix. Next, you have a button fastening, these can be notoriously tricky to attach, but when perfected give a real old school look that is very dapper indeed.

    Clip Method:

    We shall start with the clip method first. The great thing about suspenders is that they have plenty of give and ours are also adjustable, allowing you room for growth and movement. As with all braces you will need to start from the back, you will want to position the clips adjacent to your two back belt loops. This will give you the optimal brace distance for a comfortable fit. You must now bring the two frontal brace fastenings over your shoulders and ensure that they sit vertically and parallel down the front of your chest. Pull the front of the clip up to open the clip and then pull this down snuggly ready for attachment. You can now fasten the clip. There are two options for this and it is entirely personal preference. The first option is that you clip the clip to the waistband of your trousers, avoiding the belt, or alternatively, you can actually clip the clip to your belt depending on the desired look. Adjust to your desired fit, and voila, that is how you attach your clip suspenders.

    Button Method:

    On to the button method, now, most trousers do not come with suspender buttons already attached and this is what makes this method significantly more tricky than the clip fastening. This method takes commitment of sorts, but once you have got your trousers ready you are set for good. If your trousers of choice do not already have suspender buttons in place you will need to sew these on yourself. Our braces come with one button fastening at the back and two button fastenings at the front - this will be pivotal when marking your sewing points.

    Firstly, search out the centre seam in your chosen pants and use this as a reference point. Measure 1 inch either side of this line and draw a mark on either side (we recommend chalk as this will wash out from the fabric.) This will give you a nice overall distance of 2 inches, a perfect distance for the attachment. For the frontal markings you will need to draw 2 markings (as you did with the back) 2 inches apart, just above your hip bone, repeat this to the right and left of the zipper. Now you are ready to sew. We recommend sewing your buttons on the inside of your trousers, this give a much more chic and formal overall look. You will need 6 plain, flat buttons before you can start sewing. Sew each one individually atop of the chalk markings you have made. Start by threading the the needle through the trousers and then thread the needle through the hole on the front of your button. Next, loop it through the second hole in your button and back through the pant. Continue this until the button is secure. Once all buttons are in place you are ready to go. Follow the same rules as stated for the clip on method, the buttons should fit nicely through the attachment holes on your suspenders.

    Don't forget at Smart Turnout, we sell both button and clip fastenings, so whatever your preference, we have you covered.

    Getting Comfortable

    Regarding comfort room, braces are also the flattering choice. Braces allow you to hold up your trousers whilst floating your natural waist, rather than underlining or emphasising your gut in the way that a belt might. Moreover, for those men whose weight has a tendency to fluctuate, choosing suspenders can save many a trip to the tailors.

    Follow the doctor’s orders by improving your posture and your wardrobe. With your new braces, you will easily become the classiest man around.

    Smart Turnout Princess Louise Braces and Savant Rose Gold Watch

    Princess Louise's Braces

    Savant Watch Rose White Princess Louise Edition

    The Perfect Finishing Touch

    Not only for the everyday, braces are an essential addition to any gentleman’s evening wear. They hark back to a more traditional era, back when belts were mere decorative ribbon. As such, braces provide the ideal finishing touch to your formalwear.

    For instance, you could easily add our Royal Artillery braces to your suit: they offer a rich band of colour and can be used to complement anything from your tie or pocket square to your wallet or partner’s attire. To complete your classic style and solidify your fashionable status, accompany the braces with our matching Military watch.

    Royal Artillery Braces and Military Watch by Smart Turnout

    Royal Artillery Braces

    Military Watch Royal Artillery Delivery

    Braces to the Races

    Finally, whether off to Epsom or Royal Ascot, a trip to the races requires the most attractive of accessories. Attempting to follow in the style footsteps of Hollywood icons and the Royal family may feel daunting, but you can be sure that braces are a critical component to blending in, and standing out, at the racecourse. For those in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, braces are just as critical as a vintage silk top hat.

    Smart Turnout's choice:

    We at Smart Turnout would recommend our Royal Regiment of Scotland braces. They are the ideal width to complement your morning suit and have an elastic insert to provide comfort and flexibility. To round out the look, why not add one of our Master Watches.

    Smart Turnout Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces and Master Watch Black

    Royal Regiment of Scotland Braces

    Master Watch Rose Gold Black Oak Edition

    We hope you have enjoyed reading our post and have learnt something about how to put on suspenders, with some added history thrown in.

     

  • A Smart Guide to Regimental Cufflinks

    Cufflinks are thought to have been around since the 17th century. Over the years they have served many purposes, not only are they functional but they have, and still do, serve as a sign of style, status and identity. For these reasons, many choose to opt for cufflinks that embody their passions or show pride in a certain organisation that they connect with. Our cufflinks offer you an opportunity to proudly display the colours and emblems of your school, university, or regiment on your sleeve. They also offer an inarguably more personalised approach than the humble button.

    Smart Turnout Regimental Cufflinks on Display in Piccadilly Store

    Below are five of our most interesting pairs, both for regiments and organisations.

     

    1. Royal Navy Regimental Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Navy Enamel CufflinksThe Royal Navy cufflinks provide an effortlessly bold look and are one of our best selling products. The crest of the Royal Navy may appear to the untrained eye as just a simple crown, but take a closer look and the crown comes alive with the sails and hulls of large ships and boats. It is believed that the crowns original design was born from the idea that the sails represented our British naval ships that appeared as small entities alongside the larger ships of the Spanish Armada. The Spanish Armada’s ships are depicted here by the large ship fronts that nestle between the sails. The crest shows that although we bared a smaller naval fleet, our heart and tenacity propelled us to become the largest navy for over 3,000 years. In the classic colourway of reds and blue, these regimental cufflinks can be worn with almost any suit or shirt.

    Shop Royal Navy Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Marines Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Marines Navy Regimental CufflinksThe Royal Marines cufflinks are one of the most intricate of all the regimental cufflinks we stock. The crest of the Royal Marines is compromised of 7 elements, all with significance and each representing something pivotal to the Marines detailed history. The seven elements are as follows: The lion and crown, Gibraltar, the great globe, the laurels, the fouled anchor and 'per mare per terram'. Take for example the great globe, a stunning addition to the crest. The globe is said to represent the Marines undeniable success across all corners of the globe. Some elements like Gibraltar represent significant triumphs for the RAMC, and some like the anchor are a nod to the overall DNA of the corps. Finished in the recognisable blend of red, navy, green and yellow the cufflinks are a fantastic way to show your affiliation on the edge of your sleeve.

    Shop Royal Marines Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Artillery Enamel Cufflinks - £49.00

     

    Smart Turnout Royal Artillery Red and Regimental cufflinks

    Most striking about the Royal Artillery Cufflinks is the unique zigzag that runs through the enamel in the regimental colours of red and navy. This is unlike any other style of cufflink on our website and strays from the more traditional diagonal lines seen on most styles. The zigzag line was first introduced on the Regimental Ties of the Royal Artillery and has rarely appeared on other merchandise. Here at Smart Turnout we found the zigzag both iconic and endearing. We made it our mission to include this on our cufflinks. Legend has it that the line actually represents a lightning bolt. This lightning bolt is said to have struck and ultimately killed the pagan Dioscorus. It is believed that this came as a form of retribution for the earlier beheading of his daughter St Barbara (The Patron Saint of Artillery) for refusing to marry within her religion. One of our most intricate cufflink designs, this pair depict the crest of the Royal Artillery. They also feature its motto ‘Ubique Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt’ which translates to ‘Everywhere That Right And Glory Lead’.

    Shop Royal Artillery Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

    1. Royal Air Force Regimental Cufflinks - £49.00

    Smart Turnout Royal Air Force Regimental Cufflinks

     

    Gaining the silver medal in our top 5 is our Royal Air Force cufflinks. The Royal Air Force's badge features an Eagle superimposed onto a circlet which is surmounted by a crown. The badge was originally designed by a tailor from Saville Row. It was first used back in 1918 and was then revised in 1923 when it was registered with the College Of Arms. The reverse of the cufflink features the traditional Royal Air Force light blue alongside strong navy and red tones. Light and bright, these cufflinks are a beautiful addition to a linen summer suit.

    Shop Royal Air Force Enamel Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Princeton University Cufflink - £49.00

    Smart Turnout Princeton University Enamel Cufflinks

    And the winner is…. The Princeton University Cufflink! These beautiful cufflinks feature the historic colours of Ivy League University, Princeton. The iconic orange and black colours go back as far as 1867. The colours were first used against fellow Ivy League school Yale during a basketball game. The front of the cufflink displays the beautiful Princeton shield with the open book depicting the Old Testament. Below is the universities motto Dei Sub Numine Viget, which translates to Under the Protection of God She Flourishes. Overall despite strong competition, we feel the beautiful mix of orange and black combined with Princeton’s elegant crest is enough to win our heart and the top spot!

     

    Shop Princeton Cufflinks HERE

     

     

     

     

     

    Let Us Know Your Favourite...

    Let us know what you think of our ratings as well as your own top 5 regimental cufflinks rankings! Regardless of individual preference, there are styles to suit everyone with the colourful and bold cufflinks being a more exciting option than a button! I mean, who can get excited about a button?

    We make all of our enamel cufflinks here in the UK. They are gilt plated, enamelled and hand finished to ensure the best quality design and durability. You can opt for the more traditional chain fastenings or go for the more modern T-Bar method. The T-Bar method is also commonly known as a bascule fitting!

     

     

     

  • The Unconventional Groom: Wedding Bow Ties

    Gone are the days of conventional weddings and although tradition is certainly not dead, we are seeing modern weddings breaking the ‘rules’ and introducing a host of more personal touches. Wedding venues are no longer limited to churches and marquees, people are venturing out and finding unique modern alternatives to put a spin on age-old tradition. So, with weddings constantly evolving and the possibilities being somewhat endless, why not experiment with your wedding ensemble and really make a mark on your big day? Neckwear, more specifically bow ties, can play a pivotal role in shaping your overall look. We have listed 4 things that you should consider when swapping out your generic bow tie to ensure you have one of the best wedding bow ties on the market.

    1.       Experiment with Texture

    Fabric choice and texture are what really tie an outfit together. It is often too easy to reach for your trusted silk bow tie, especially on your wedding day. Granted, this can often be the best choice, however, it is all about weighing up the rest of your outfit and working towards ensuring the components all compliment on another. A fantastic example of introducing texture to an outfit would be with a wool or cable knit bow tie. When opting for a wool blend or tweed suit a cable knit number can often be the perfect complementary piece, creating a more rustic and rural overall look and feel. Pairing a waffle knit bow tie with a linen suit for a more dressed down approach is great for summer or outdoor weddings.

    Smart Turnout knitted and wool bow ties in navy red and green

    Shop Knitted and Textured Bow Ties 

    2.       Express Yourself

    Weddings are one of the very few days in your life that you can be wholeheartedly unashamed that it’s ALL ABOUT YOU! So, with that in mind, there is no shame in expressing yourself through your choice of wedding bow tie. Choosing one that represents something about your character is a great way to express yourself. Here at Smart Turnout we have a whole range of options, beautifully decorated with symbols and emblems that echo some of Britain’s favourite pastimes. If you are an avid golfer or a fan of sailing, why not show this with your neckwear? Opt for one of our characterful crested dickey bows for a touch of personality.

    Far Left: Golf Cotton Bow Tie £39         Far Right: Racket Cotton Bow Tie £39

    3.       Wear Your Stripes with Pride with a Regimental Bow Tie

    Smart Turnout is synonymous with some of the most prestigious and timeless colours of regiments, schools and universities across Britain and the world. What better way to wear your colours than on your wedding day? Regimental ties have been worn for years as a mark of pride and identity. Our regimental bow ties offer a unique alternative for your big day meaning you won’t have to compromise on style or self-identity.

    Smart Turnout Household Cavalry Crested Bow Tie

    Household Division Diamond Bow Tie £39

    4.       Tie Everything Together With a Splash of Colour

    The best wedding bow ties are those that create a focal point and bring a real finishing touch to your outfit. Colour has the ability to amplify a monochromatic look or enhance already colour rich attire. Our Wellington Bow Tie would be the perfect addition to a black suit, with a black silk base it is finished with thin, multi-coloured stripes. The Wellington has enough colour to lift an otherwise flat base whilst maintain enough subtlety so as to not overpower the aesthetic.

    Wellington Silk Bow Tie £39

    Ensure to choose a colour scheme for your accessories, making an effort to carry any stand out colours through the entire ensemble. Everything from your pocket square to your socks, and of course, your neckwear should sport similar colours to give a cohesive and thought out feel.

    Smart Turnout Yale Blue and White Wedding Bow Ties on Suit and Tie Fixation

    Yale Silk Bow Tie £39

    We hope you have enjoyed reading our picks for the Best Wedding Bow Ties. Please comment below your style tips for the big day. 

    Shop All Bow Ties

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