Suspender button placement

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by carldelo, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    I recently bought a couple pair of trousers from J. Peterman that have buttons and am really liking wearing suspenders. I'm looking to add buttons to perhaps a half dozen more of my pants and want to do it right, as I plan to buy a couple or three pair of Albert Thurston braces.

    I've done a pretty thorough search here at the lounge on suspender button placement, but all the info concerns the 'inside vs. outside issue' - I'll be putting mine inside. I'm more interested in knowing where exactly to place the buttons laterally. I'm assuming the button placement should relate to the pleats, and can probably figure it out by trial and error, but would be curious to know if there is a template or standard button placement that I haven't found yet. Thanks in advance for any info, Carl.
     
  2. Charlie Huang

    Charlie Huang Practically Family

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    Front buttons: one above the pleat/crease, then the other to the side. Distance would be 2-2.5".
    Back buttons: 2-3" apart.

    As to inside/outside: really up to you but I prefer inside for the front and outside for the back.
    For formal dress trousers, they should all be on the outside if made of horn or MOP (unless they are of the plastic variety in which case, all inside).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  3. Lokar

    Lokar A-List Customer

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    Agreed, 2.5" is the distance I aim for.

    As for positioning - obviously the rear pair should be either side of the centre. I believe the rule with the front pairs is that on "civilian" garments the front button should go above the main pleat/crease, while on "military" garments the rear button of the pair should be above the seam (as military dress usually has a very visible stripe on the seam, and having a brace button above it keeps it perfectly straight) - I know some people use the "military" style for evening dress trousers.
     
  4. kpreed

    kpreed One of the Regulars

    I use the metal button used in the front of blue jeans, (from the Fabric store) on all my pants for mine. They come in many designs and do not have the problems I have with sew-on buttons. The 2½" between buttons, seems right for me.
     
  5. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    Thanks for the feedback gentlemen. It's useful, as the trousers I've been wearing with braces are comfortable, but the factory button placement is clearly incorrect. On both pair of J. Peterman pants I have, the front-most button is inside the pleat on one, outside the pleat on the other. The distance between the front pairs of buttons is 3-1/4" on both, which seems just a bit too large.

    However, the distance between the buttons on the back is a whopping 6-1/2" on both, which is obviously a mistake - the brace ends look silly. I have a feeling someone forgot to divide 3-1/4" in half when laying out the buttons on the waistband on either side of the center seam. Or they're laid out for X-back braces, which seems unlikely.

    At any rate, I've been experimenting by hanging my trousers with clothespins at various locations, and it seems obvious that on dress trousers, the front button should go just above the pleat, to help the pleat hang plumb. In fact, I'm going to use the clothespin method on each pair of trousers, as I'm finding that small shifts of the location of the second front button can improve how the pockets hang. From the pants I've looked at so far, the spacing is either 2-1/2" or 3", depending on the cut of the trousers and the type of front pocket.

    Charlie, I think I am changing my mind, and will probably put the back buttons on the outside as you mention.

    KPreed, I understand that metal buttons are more robust, and probably prevent waistband rollover, but I don't think they'd work on the inside. I wouldn't want the metal post showing on the outside of dress or suit trousers, or a metal button on the inside. And what if you decide to move the button - wouldn't you be left with a big hole in the waistband? Or maybe you're only using them on casual trousers....
     
  6. Charlie Huang

    Charlie Huang Practically Family

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    Metal buttons are inappropriate for formal trousers. Must be horn (or plastic).
     
  7. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

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    Metal buttons are also fairly useless, as the metal on the sewing hole things is rather sharp and can cut through the thread
     
  8. kpreed

    kpreed One of the Regulars

    I do not understand this comment.
    I have used metal buttons for years and on both formal pants and casual with no (none) problems. I have them inside the front on my dress pants and do not tend to remove my coat (but that is me), so who would know or care they are not horn?
    Yes, metal would leave a hole, but I measure first before, so why do I ever need to move them?
    All I know is they work very well for me and have for years and will for years to come. Just my 2¢
     
  9. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

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    I mean that metal buttons tend to cut through the thread that holds them on, due to the inherent sharpness of the corners of metal
     
  10. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I think we're talking at cross purposes here - the original reference was to "metal buttons used on the front of jeans", which I understood to refer to this sort of thing:

    http://www.levisguide.com/buttons/silver1.JPG

    These wouldn't be sewn on, but stamped on (back piece and front piece, fasten together like a rivet, similar to how each piece of a stud fastener is fixed in place on a leather jacket). If I'm right, I should think they would only really be appropriate for casual clothing, but YMMV, naturally.

    Charles is, of course, entirely correct about positioning of the front buttons relating to pleats. If adding to a pair of trousers which already sport beltloops, they can be a handy guide too. As to distance apart, I've always found four inches works well for me (which is, I note reaching for the ruler, the measure Roderick Charles used for installing buttons on the corduroys I am presently wearing). Six inches and more is definitely overkill!
     
  11. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    I think Edward is correct about the metal buttons KPreed mentioned. I would be fine installing these on chinos or hiking trousers:
    http://www.davidmorgan.com/product_info.php?products_id=32

    BTW, I have found a good source for plastic suspender buttons in multiple colors, by the dozen or the gross, in NYC:
    http://www.wardrobesupplies.com/store/susbuttons.html

    I have one further question for those who've responded so far. I wonder about the difference between cloth suspenders (Barathea or boxcloth) with an elastic portion in the back, versus fully elastic suspenders. The cloth type seems more traditional, but I wonder if there's much difference in wearing them.
     
  12. Qirrel

    Qirrel Practically Family

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    There isn't a huge difference really. Personally I prefer the ones with an elasticated piece in the back, which are thinner over the shoulders and front than the fully elasticated ones, which I think is more pleasant than the thick elastic. For physical work, I use the fully elasticated, as they are a bit more comfortable when bending and stooping etc.
     
  13. kpreed

    kpreed One of the Regulars

    I agree. I have both kinds and use them for the best purpose. But it is hard for me getting real physical from my Wheelchair, but I do try.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  14. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    Update - I've purchased a couple pair of silk braces (with the elastic in the back, below the Y) and a fully elastic set. The silk are quite nice, and very comfortable, I haven't received the elastic ones yet, but I've worn them in the past, so they're no mystery.

    In the meantime, I've been experimenting with button placement, and now believe it's most important to get the dimension between the two front-most buttons correct, rather than simply placing them at the location of the main pleat. I say this because I've found that my trousers have a pretty wide range of variation in the measured width between front pleats. I guess this shouldn't be surprising, but I was surprised nonetheless.

    Anyway, in my case, I've found that these buttons should ideally be placed 8" apart, centered between the pleats as this generally this puts them a little closer to the center, and possibly improves the drape a little. If the two centermost buttons are too far apart, the waistband has more chance to sag, especially if there is a belly involved. The spacing between tabs I've found to be good at 3-1/2" to 4" in the front and 4" in the back.

    YMMV of course - my placement is necessary to make sure my 'midsection' does not push the suspenders out to the side, which looks bad, and to prevent waistband droop. As far as the spacing numbers, they're probably better expressed as a fraction of the waist dimension, e.g. for the numbers above, the center spacing is 20-22% of the waist size of the pants, the spacing of the tabs is 10%.

    This calculation was inspired by Tomasso's comment re: a photo of Sydney Greenstreet showing very wide button placement in another thread:
    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/show...mp-the-body-shape-of-the-quot-larger-quot-men
    With the 10% value in mind, the 5"-6" spacing of Sydney's buttons makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  15. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    ^ Some interested ideas in that last post..
     
  16. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    Thanks Feraud, I know I'm over-analyzing this, but it's allowing me to avoid grading papers.

    On further reflection, I want to modify my algorithm. I think the 8" distance between the center buttons is more properly computed as 50% of the actual width at the hips, i.e. the side-to-side dimension (not half the waist circumference). For me, I am 16" wide at the widest point. I know this because I have kayaks, and you have to know the cockpit width you can manage comfortably. Anyway, 20 years ago, my suspenders would also have been about 8" apart, in spite of the fact that my waistband was much smaller then. 20% of a 30" waist is 6", which is clearly too close together. A skinny guy can still be wide, however, so I think width is the proper reference. So the distance between the front straps should be a function of body width, while the suspender tab separation is a function of circumference.

    For the measurements above, the center button separation is 50% of body width at the hips, the tabs are separated by 10% of the waistband circumference. I assume the look of the suspenders also depends on how the straps go over one's shoulders - ideally they should be vertical when in place - so the slopiness of the shoulders makes a difference too.
     
  17. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

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    Strictly a matter of taste and what functions well on the individual.
     
  18. Warbaby

    Warbaby One Too Many

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    My approach to placing the buttons is pretty simple - I sew the two back buttons first, then attach suspenders, put on the trous, pull the braces over my shoulders and look in a mirror while postioning and marking the location of the front buttons. Every pair of trous seems a bit different in regard to where the braces work best.
     
  19. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

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    ^^^ I agree, Warbaby - I found my button placement by trial and error in the mirror, using little binder clips to hold the tabs in place temporarily. I have a set of movable buttons on the way which should simplify things. The other calculation stuff I thought might be useful for someone trying to decide where to begin placing suspender buttons.
     
  20. Good points here. My question is, how does button placement affect the folding over of the trouser waist? I know that placing the buttons higher on the waist can help to prevent the latter from folding (something quite common when wearing belts), but how about spacing? Can wearing the trousers higher also aid in keeping the waist straight? For reference, I'm 6', 33"-33", I've a medium frame, and I weigh about 178.
     

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