Albert Thurston Suspenders

Albert Thurston Suspenders Review

A few months ago, we were approach by the German online retailer Herrenschmiede, who asked us to review a pair of their suspenders. They provided us with a striped pair of braces in white and navy barathea cloth. But first, let’s take a moment to look at the history of suspenders and the reason we wear them.

Albert Thurston History

Gordon Gekko in Horizontal Stripe Shirt

Gordon Gekko in Horizontal Stripe Shirt & Albert Thurston Suspenders

Since 1820, Albert Thurston has been almost exclusively producing braces and suspenders. The original workshop was located at 27 Panton Street, Haymarket, in London. By the 1850’s, Thurston had made a name for himself and the quality of his braces. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, Thurston was granted an Honourable Mention for the excellent standard their braces. As such, men about town, royalty and statesmen encountered these suspenders and wore them, completely concealed from the public, underneath their vest. Just like underwear today, suspenders were a very private matter in the Victorian era.

Striped Barathea Braces

Striped Barathea Braces

After WWI, many men began to favor belts over suspenders, but it was nevertheless the standard for men’s trousers, especially in Britain. After WWII, there was another shift in men’s fashion towards less stiff and formalized clothes, and waistcoats became more and more outdated. Consequently, the suspenders vanished as they no longer had anything to hide under. While pants for braces were traditionally cut with a high rise, pleats and a fish tail back – as you can see in the picture –  newer trousers would be tailored with a short rise and a flat waistband. Over the decades, only very few men continued to appreciate the comfort of full cut, fish tail trousers with suspenders.

Why Suspenders and Not Just a Belt?

Neat Workmanship

Neat Workmanship

Lately, there seems to be a growing number of clothes horses that are switching to suspenders. Personally, I prefer suspenders over belts for two reasons: firstly, they ensure that the trousers remain consistently in the same position on the torso, so there is no need adjust them over the course of the day. Not so with a belt; belted pants shift up and down with sitting and rising, which often leads to awkward repositioning. We’ve all seen men hike their pants back up after sitting, and it’s certainly not an elegant motion. Secondly, I can wear the trousers with more room in the waist, since its weight rests on my shoulders.

Leather Particles on Shirt

Leather Particles on Shirt

Moreover, I can feel the belt in my back when I sit, which causes me some lower back pain if I sit long enough. When you wear suspenders, you can also feel them a little bit when sitting, but they are far thinner than a belt and they generally avoid pressure points on the back.

Albert Thurston Suspender / Braces Review

Today, there only a few companies left who make high quality braces, and Albert Thurston enjoys the reputation of being the best.Now, I am always inquisitive and a bit critical when someone tells me about the ‘best this’ and the ‘best that’ because it is a subjective impression rather than an objective fact. Therefore, I always enjoy wearing and testing the products so I can reach a conclusion for myself.

Albert Thurston Suspender Buckles

Albert Thurston Suspender Buckles

Out of the box, Albert Thurston braces seemed to be very well made.  The (non-flexible) barathea fabric is thick, and the nickel coated brass buckles are sturdy. -the leather appears to be of a higher quality than those from Trafalgar, another common braces brand, based on a side-to-side comparison with a pair I already own.

When I put them on for the first time, I was very happy with the look and feel of the braces. It wasn’t until later that day that I noticed a dark fuzz on my shirt. Back home, I realized that they were fine leather particles that rubbed off the exposed edges of the leather loops onto my shirt. Luckily it did not color off, and everything came off after a moment of brushing, but I was still irritated. I hoped that it will stop eventually, and I wore the suspenders a few more times to gauge if there was a change. To date, they still shed black particles, which is especially visible on lighter colored shirts.

Fish Tail Back Trousers for Suspenders

Fish Tail Back Trousers for Suspenders

Verdict

My braces may be a lemon, though this experience with Albert Thurston was obviously none too pleasant. Despite the many other nice features – the fabric, the pattern, the feel, the hardware – I still feel disappointed. Have you had any experiences with Albert Thurston braces or other braces were fine leather particles came off? Please share with us, it is highly appreciated!

15 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    I’ve had a pair of white silk braces made by Alex Kabbaz (link here: . They are spectacular, much nicer than my other pairs, which are mostly Thurstons. They hand monogram as well, which I thought was a nice touch, since only I know its there.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Thanks for sharing John. For $195 and up for a pair of braces, I would not except anything but perfection ;). How is the quality of the leather? And would you mind sending me a few pictures of yours?

  2. John
    John says:

    yes, well, I thought I might as well splurge for perfection for my pair of formal braces! I’ve emailed you some photos, as I couldn’t post them in the comment box, but please feel free to do so if you’d like. The leather and metal fittings are both of excellent quality. Mr. Kabbaz was kind enough to include an extra set of front leather fittings as well, as the white leather used for formal braces is the most supple and soft. All in all, I am extremely pleased with them.

  3. John
    John says:

    Forgot to mention, as you can see in the photos, the edges of the fittings are all turned, so no exposed edges or the chance of leather particles rubbing off.

  4. Turling
    Turling says:

    I’m confused with suspenders as to how the trousers should fit around the waist. My tailor says the trousers should fit snug so they won’t move should no suspenders be worn. I thought they should have some room, so if no suspenders are worn, the trousers will drop a little. Yes?

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Turling, thanks for your comment. If you want to wear the same pair of trousers with and without suspenders, then they have to fit properly on your waist, so it will be a snug fit. If you always wear them with suspenders, it is more comfortable to have some more room and unlike with a belt, you won’t have to buckle up after a rich meal.
      However, I would not wear roomy trousers without suspenders, because not only will the waist drop but also you bottom hems and the crotch.
      Though, you could add a half belt in the back that allows you to tighten the trousers without suspenders in case you want to wear them that way.

  5. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken
    Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    The retailer that the reviewed suspenders are from seems to offer the option to order shirts designed after one’s wishes ( http://www.herrenschmiede.de/herrenmode/designer.html ). Maybe this could be an interesting topic for an article sometime, although the assortment of fabrics available is a little small.
    As to Mr.Kabbaz’ shop, I can only tell it’s amazing and I thank you, dear John, for the link. I must tell that I could imagine more suitable places for undressed ladies than a gentleman’s suspenders, but the variety of desings is really astonishing.

  6. David
    David says:

    Wearing braces every day, exclusively Thurston’s in either barathea or felt, I have never experienced the problem you are describing here.

  7. Roger v.d. Velde
    Roger v.d. Velde says:

    It’s not entirely true that braced trousers stay put all day, they do move about and they can pull the shirt out of place as well. In these post-waistcoat days braces move about a bit more.

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  1. […] waist. Belts are very much useless because they will not be able to keep the pants up. Instead, use suspenders. They allow for a little more room, so you can comfortably sit down and your trousers will always […]

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