I do not know how Larry King, the American television host, began wearing his signature braces, but I do know that converting from belted trousers is not easy. It took more than a decade before my wardrobe was consistent, meaning I had braced trousers and trousers with side adjusters but none that required belts.
Now I am certain that the majority of men, belt wearers all, will wonder what the issue is and that is a fair question that has to do with the rise of the trousers in the first place. For trousers should be worn at the natural waist, several inches above the hips, which requires that they are made with a high rise. That high rise means the waist is covered under a buttoned jacket, which is a cleaner look than the clutter of an exposed belt or waistband, and the trousers hang in a straight line over the belly that sedentary men pick up over the years. It, meaning that same high rise, also precludes belt-wearing.
Recognizing that the overwhelming majority of western men have supported their trousers with belts since the rise of ready to wear clothing sometime after the Second World War, any move away from belts is likely to occur in stages. It usually begins with evening clothes or a vested suit, where dissatisfaction with protruding belt buckles leads to a change in trouser suspension for one or two garments. And then over time a man notices that he is no longer required to pull his trousers up several times during the course of the day as braced trousers do not require periodic adjustment. After that, new suits begin arriving with buttons already on the waistband.
Once a wardrobe enters the mixed phase, with some belted trousers and some suspended, change tends to accelerate. Unused belt loops make the waistband look cluttered, and are removed. Next, low rise trousers are replaced with high to achieve the clean waisted look. Some of the new models may be worn suspended and others cut to remain in place without aid but it is only a matter of how many years go by before the belt wardrobe is donated to a worthy cause.
Now I am willing to wager that flat bellied younger men reading this are thinking that they will always have their belts, and some of them are correct. Unless one wears tailored clothing regularly, the issues are unlikely to arise. But, for those for whom the suit is daily garb, the transition to unbelted waistbands is, in my opinion, an inevitable part of becoming well dressed.
Photo: MM Tussard