You don’t have to be a fashionisto or trendsetter to notice. It only takes a pair of eyes at a fall party to clue in that gay Atlanta embraces and is now supersaturated in the suspenders trend that’s been gaining on us for a few years.
From VIP fancy (top photo) to Pride casual (second photo), our cameras have spotted little gay cadres of suspender boys all over Atlanta. They’re sporting many different styles with many different outcomes and to varying degrees of fashion success. The important thing to remember is it’s all in the attitude. You can still be you and incorporate suspenders into your look.
What was just a few short years ago considered quirky — Mondo Guerra wearing them with shorts and knee socks on “Project Runway” or Darren Criss mixing plaids on “Glee” – is a full-blown phenomenon, and the gay masses are all over it. And like other mid-century “Mad Men” accessories – bow ties, tie bars, pocket squares and horn-rimmed glasses – guys are finding all sorts of ways to rock the skinny suspenders.
Of course, it has very little to do with holding your pants up in any practical sense. Absolutely consider wearing them with that now-ubiquitous bow tie that has by no means fallen off trend. Yep, you even wear them with summer’s big gay tank top (with a jacket and jeans as temperatures drop).
But questions arise. And no, you don’t need a belt too and that’s not one of the questions. Clip on or button? String-skinny, wider or in between? Are they OK for any occasion? The answer is gleefully “yes” to all of the above.
No matter what vibe you’re after – from badass to Southern dandy, from mod to throwback – pull it off with this guide to the art of suspense.
White bucks. Linen suit. Bow tie. Seersucker. None of it ironic. If your pants have the buttons for it, cool. If not, clip-ons are OK. Keep the other accessories to a minimum to keep the look custom and not costume. Medium width.
Now channeling: Tom Wolfe, André 3000, whiskey-breathed men of letters kicking around Oxford, Miss.
The fashion crowd loves a punk reference. So throw on a t-shirt or tank, lace up your Doc-adjacent leathers or Converse, snap your super-skinny suspenders to your hard-to-put-on skinny jeans and get your bad ass to a gallery opening.
Now channeling: Queer actor Ezra Miller, members of the pop band Fun
Go ahead and call them “braces,” because it’s part of the Brit mystique and “no bullshit” butchness you’re after here. Wear thin but not string-thin ones in leather or woven solids like red with your cocksure tight Levis. This is for running with your hooligans south of I-20. Add to the experience by shouting “Oi!” randomly to get people’s attention.
Now channeling: British bands like the Specials, Blitz, and the 4-Skins
If you wax your mustache, experiment with liqueurs and Manhattans and wear a driving cap, you want a pair of rugged suspenders with classic leather tipping. Jeans are cool, but tweed or corduroy trousers are even better. Dare we say it? Consider pleated pants.
Now channeling: Teddy Roosevelt, “Boardwalk Empire,” speakeasy bartenders
This is your “Wall Street” moment. Not a lot of economic upturns to be justifying this one, but maybe your look will inspire wishful thinking for brighter times ahead. Be bold and kick ass with wider suspenders, possibly pinstriped, definitely button style. Wear them to work, happy hours or, you know, job interviews, with sky-blue dress shirts. Cuff links and an expression that says, “I will crush you” are definite options. Brick-sized cell phone no longer required.
Now channeling: Gordon Gekko, “White Collar”