Suspenders or Belts; the definitive guide (and why it matters)

The most absurd and meaningless debate has raged for decades; when it comes to holding pants up most effectively, what’s a better choice; suspenders, or a belt? It’s absurd and meaningless because the answer is obvious. There should be no doubt that suspenders are the better of the two. Let’s break it down. 

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Function (how it works) 

A belt works by squeezing on your body with enough force such that your pants are (theoretically) prevented from falling down from your waist. This method increases pressure on your midsection, introducing the possibility of permanently restructuring flesh around a belt as it squeezes your body every day, while offering no assurance that your pants will remain at a constant point on your body throughout the day.  

The former means that your midsection will eventually look like an uneven mess, even while naked, while the latter means that the belt will fail at its primary function; to keep your pants firmly in place.  

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In contrast, suspenders work by hanging your pants from a strong and stable part of your body; your shoulders. Ever heard of the expression ‘carrying the weight of the world on one’s shoulders’? Why do you think it isn’t ‘carrying the weight of the world on one’s hips’? It’s because that would be dumb since hips aren’t meant to carry things that way.   

Set lengths also mean that suspenders are a set-it-and-forget-it accessory that don’t need to be adjusted throughout the day. Even adjustable suspenders can be locked into place, keeping your pants exactly where you want them, no matter the time, activity, or load. Need to run after a bus with your smartphone, wallet, keys, portable battery, and Nintendo Switch in your pockets? Unlike some other trouser accessories, suspenders have your back and won’t buckle or falter under pressure. All this while exerting minimal pressure on your wait and midsection. Truly inspirational. 

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Style (how it looks) 

If you’re after a no-nonsense business-casual look, a belt will do just fine. This isn’t some belt witch hunt, so I will concede that. Belts have become so ubiquitous to become almost invisible. Which is fine. Though the way the belt looks isn’t the only important factor here, is it? The way that it makes you look is also an important factor.  

If you’re a slim guy with little fat and a flat belly, then a belt won’t change the way that you look for the most part. That being said, slim dudes aren’t the only kind of person wearing belts, are they? As weight increases, the belt does less and less to flatter the wearer, and moves instead to ‘disservice’ territory. If you’ve got a big stomach overhang, then a belt isn’t for you – but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Dear lord have they tried.  

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While belts have enjoyed the fashion mainstream for decades, suspenders have fallen out of favor with the general public. Catching glimpse of a suspender-clad gentleman or lady isn’t exactly notable, but compared to belt-wearers, it is quite uncommon. You may see those who wear suspenders simply to appear ‘edgy’ or ‘different’, but don’t be fooled. These people know nothing of the pant-superiority suspenders have over belts.  

Suspenders have a big advantage over belts when worn by an individual carrying a bit of extra weight, or even an overhanging belly.  Belts force these people into one of two devastating camps; tuck the belly into the pants and squeeze the belt to form an unsightly bulge along the entire front of the body, or, hang the belly over the belt and create some sort of ‘melting ice cream cone’ effect. It’s sick.  

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Suspenders don’t try to move or restrict, they merely hold pants. They’ll work around a big belly, because their job is to hold pants up, not pull double duty and wrestle a big wad of fat into submission. Ever wonder why Santa wears suspenders? It’s because he’s supposed to look like a pleasant fat man, not sad and upsetting, melting in the heat while he hitches his pants up for the 50th time. Sure, he has a belt to hold his jacket closed (the thing that belts are best at), but when it comes to the actual pants? Suspenders all the way, baby! 

So we now end on the same note we began with; suspenders rule and belts are for uneducated losers who think that the best way to secure something is to squeeze it to their body really tight. That’s bullshit. Throw your belt out the window.  

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