Once solely worn as an object of utility, braces (also known as Suspenders by Americans and Galluses by the French) have not been given the recognition they deserve as a fashion staple that has remained and changed over the past 300 years.
First created by the French in the 18th century, there have been several precursors, however braces were not popularised as a men’s fashion accessory until 1822 where Albert Thurston reinvented a modernised version made of silk worn universally by all men to accommodate the high-waist of the mid-nineteenth and early
twentieth century trouser.
It was not until World War I that braces began to lose their appeal as men became accustomed to uniform belts. As fashion styles have their share of influence, pant styles became fitted and waist hugging while waistbands drooped to the hip lines rather than the physical waist. Braces were however yet again revived in the 1940s through the return of the fuller-cut trouser, needles to say, belts had become a far more convenient item for men.
Nowadays, braces are a significant fashion statement symbolising a position of power, efficiency and
professionalism thanks to movie characters such as Gordon Gekko (aka Michael Douglas) in the infamous movie Wall Street, turning braces into a style accessory rather than a necessity. Other fashion statements made by wearing braces include gangsters, who wore braces under their wide stripe suits or the British punk skinhead, who wore a thinner clipped version in several colours and patterns.
As current men’s trousers do not include the original buttons for braces, a clip-on version was developed
making braces ever more popular and useful. So whether you need braces to flatter your business attire, complement your black suit or add flair to a smart casual look, braces are a perfect way for achieving a contemporary and elegant nostalgic look.
Braces for women
Taking inspiration from men’s wear, braces have also been a hot trend for women since they stared wearing menswear as shown by Keira Knightly who rocked the look in the 2009 Chanel Mademoiselle perfume ad.
Military remains in fashion for both men and women in Autumn/Winter 2010-11, with inspiration drawn from the 1940s and 50s military. A particularly popular military-themed trend is the army and air force influenced combat boot for men’s fashion. These shoes come in a variety of styles, from military to motorcycle boots, that can match any sense of style.
Re-introduced by Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Autumn collection in 2010, the trend of the combat boot remains chunky and utilitarian essential for the colder seasons.
Perfect with this season’s chunky knits, checked flannel shirts or a pair of Diesel jeans, this timeless rustic vintage style can pretty much be worn to any occasion. As shown below, actor Hayden Christensen was recently spotted in Los Angeles wearing a pair of military side zip boots that are right on trend.
This look can easily be dressed up or down and incorporated into many different styles. Pair a sleek military-style jacket with dark jeans and a sweater for an outfit that is simple and nostalgic, yet still masculine.
Australia’s most glamorous fashion designer Alex Perry launched his latest show-stopping Spring/Summer collection “Cuban Princess” at last night’s L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Red Carpet Runway event held at the historic Royal Exhibition Building surrounded by the sweeping lawns of the majestic Carlton Gardens. This star-studded event included LMFF ambassador Melissa George, Jessica Gomes, former Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch, actress Andie Mcdowell, Fashion TV host Amber Renae, Australia’s Hairdresser to the stars Joh Bailey and ANTM’s Josh Flinn.
Perry’s meticulously constructed gowns dressed the “Perry girls” in spicy, sexy, exotic colours taking you away on a rich, hot Havana fantasy. The flawless designs with wake you up colours of paprika, blood orange, pepper and Caribbean aqua displayed a range of styles including the sophisticated lean lines of the 1940s super slim pencil skirts paired with fitted nipped in the waist and slightly flared at the hip jackets. Other notable styles revealed traditional Japanese art forms with interpretations of the geisha and the kimono including the kimono obi used as waist bands and halter and bowed necklines. Other elements of Japanese trends include couture like fabric manipulation of origami pleats shown on several of the gowns which sat just above the hip line.
A luxurious mix of beautiful floral print fabric in black was used creatively as a feature in many of the designs. A favourite was the stunning oriental styled dress which moulded and shaped the figure to create a flawless hourglass silhouette.
And who could forget the dramatic Cleopatra inspired ultra violet winged eye look by L’Oreal Paris makeup director Rae Morris which wowed the audience and helped complete the perfect sultry look.
For amazing pictures and video footage on the event, please visit Sam Winter’s blog at www.sassisamblog.com