Montreal, Canada


Suspenders of Disbelief: braces & suspenders

Montreal, Canada | On Etsy since 2010

SuspenderOfDisbelief is taking a short break

Graham St-Laurent

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Graham St-Laurent


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Last updated on July 26, 2011
Welcome to Suspenders of Disbelief, a shop for unbelievably nifty suspenders at unbelievably reasonable prices. And when I say "suspenders," of course, I'm using North American terminology, not British. If you’re British (or simply use British terminology), then you probably call what I make "braces," and use "suspenders" to refer to something completely different.

From both a practical and fashionable point of view, I feel that suspenders are some of the most under-used accessories in today's wardrobe for both men and women, but especially for men. True, you must slide them away before using the washroom sometimes, and true, you must prepare your pants in order to wear them by sewing in buttons, but the variety of different kinds of vertical stripes that you can ALWAYS have on your shirt is not something to pass up. They keep your pants on no matter how loose you like to keep your waists (which comes in handy if you've recently lost weight), they keep your pants on no matter how loose you keep your gut (which comes in handy if you’ve gradually gained weight), and they don't get that peculiar curve in them that belts can get. Suspenders are a simple idea, and an old one, but if done right, they can be one of the most elegant solutions (or at least the most stylish) to one of gravity’s most under-rated problems.

This shop has one main goal: to help proliferate suspenders and their benefits to people all over the world. I do this using two main techniques: make suspenders that people WANT to wear, and sell them at prices they WANT to pay. Of course, nobody WANTs to pay anything, so let me put this another way: I was in a department store once, and I saw a nice pair of suspenders on sale for $300. They were certainly nice. Then I saw some more for $125. They were also nice. Later, I went to a men’s clothing store and saw that the starting price for suspenders was $80. They were nice, but not THAT nice. In fact, none of these suspenders that I've mentioned so far were THAT nice enough that I'd ever pay $300 for them, or even $100. And the worst part is, anything new, that I’ve found lower-priced than even $80 (usually around $30) were, first of all, simply of insufficient quality, but, second and more importantly, there really is never anything special about them that would make me want to wear them. So I don’t. And based on what I see around me, nobody else does either. So, I sell suspenders at the reasonable prices (between $30 and $49) but with the niceness that you might find in suspenders that are ten times that. (Thriftiness+ niftiness=a great combination.) I make suspenders that people see and want to wear, and can actually afford. I make suspenders that people see and realize that if they’re not wearing them, they’re missing out. (By the way, I’m open to suggestions or customizations.) My ultimate goal then, is to make unbelievable suspenders!

Unfortunately, I don’t know what other people want. I only know what I want, so for now, I’m making suspenders that I’d love to wear. But I have rather specific tastes in suspenders - I always have - so this is what you get if you buy some Suspenders of Disbelief (all sewn together of course - no assembly required . . . yet):

-two 1.5" (38 mm)-wide suspender STRAPS made out of some kind of interesting fabric, be it silk, cotton, embroidered something, ribbon, brocade, velvet, corduroy, or even burlap - anything, and they need not match. Currently, I only have the hardware to allow 1.5" straps, but there's been a fair amount of interest in narrower straps, so let me know if that's what you want - if it keeps up, I will get the appropriate hardware.
-two steel oval LOOPS at the bottom front that the straps pull up and through.
-two steel ADJUSTERS. I used to say that they are "usually found between your nipple and your neck" in well-fitted suspenders, but it's really a matter of size - yours and the suspenders' - not taste, and besides, I don't want to say the word "nipple." So instead of using your nipple as a point of reference, let's just say that anywhere on your front (your side with nipples) is best; I've started making them so that they fall on me about halfway between the lowest point and the highest point in the straps - i.e., halfway between the front sleeve loop and the top of your shoulder - so I guess that's my preference right now. Anyway, I use brass-plated adjusters for finer straps, and nickel-plated adjusters for thicker straps (which can still be the other kind of "fine").
-an ELASTIC at the back. Right now, I only have this in black or white.
-seven LEATHERY BITS. Unless I'm using salvaged leather from vintage leather clothing (which I do in order to get access to especially wacky colours), these all start as pieces of relatively stiff vegetable-tanned cow leather, which has a natural colour that varies a bit (that’s what nature's all about, after all), but that all fits into a colour that would be described by Crayola as “light peach.” I also dye it a “perfect” black or white, or an “antique” (i.e., grainy and variable - it brings out the leather's natural beauty) brown, red, green, or yellow (I have salvaged leather for blue and purple, and also red). On any one set of suspenders, the leather pieces are usually all the same colour, but for special occasions, sometimes I mix them. Anyway, the leather pieces are as follows:
-the YOKE - a triangular piece at the back where the straps and the elastic meet to form a Y.
-three MOUSTACHEs that, when worn, look like Yosemite Sam’s moustache. Each attaches to its respective pair of buttons sewn into the pants (two pairs on either side of the front, and one pair in the middle of the back). Each is also removable.
-three SLEEVES (two dangling, attached to the metal loops in the FRONT; and one fixed, attached to the bottom of the elastic in the BACK) that the moustaches slide through thus providing a connection between the straps and the attachment to the pants.

All of the above ingredients are sewn and attached together to make my favourite kind of suspenders. The suspenders that I like are Y-shaped in the back (as opposed to X-shaped), but each of the three arms of the Y also branches out into a Y (the moustaches) - although when worn, all these little Ys are upside down. They attach to pants simply with three pairs of buttons. My suspenders are usually made with a non-stretchy fabric for the front straps; the entire source of flexibility comes from a short strip of elastic in the back.

I think my suspenders could be sorted into three general categories: FORMAL, CASUAL, and NIFTY. Now, to be honest, all of my suspenders fall into the nifty category. But only the finer fabrics, usually with the brass adjusters, and either the brown or black leather will fit into the formal category. The casual ones are usually more cottons and can be worn on a daily basis without attracting too much attention outside of the usual elegance that you exude (once people get used to the idea that you wear suspenders!). The nifty category, though, contains the stuff that’s a bit too outrageous for casual wear, but not dressy enough in the traditional sense to be formal wear (although for me, I find them quite dressy for some of my outfits . . . .) An example of this, perhaps would be the Relish, Ketchup and Mustard suspenders with green and yellow straps, and red leathery bits (GYR). All of this, of course, is subjective and full of overlap, but it might help in your understanding of the product you're looking at, so I always include my conception the suspenders’ functionality.

Usually, I make my straps by essentially making a long, reinforced tube of fabric and ironing it flat, but sometimes I go to the ribbon store and I get some 1.5" (38 mm) ribbon. Now ribbon comes in all sorts of varieties and qualities, but, so far, they’ve all made great suspenders. They’re an easy (although, strangely expensive) way to get some really nice straps, but I find that defining their functionality is a bit more elusive than it is for regular, fabric suspenders. Nevertheless, I give it a try; they too can be formal, casual, or just plain old nifty.

Ultimately, I would like to provide you with a line of fully-customizable suspenders - i.e., the straps and leathery bits could all be interchanged so you could get endless colour combinations - but I am still in the design phase for that. Until that’s complete, I hope that you can find something that you like from what I’ve made already. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there’s something you want that I don’t have. You see, I probably do have it, I just don’t have it yet . . . . (You can even provide the fabric yourself for a unique creation!)

Accepted payment methods

Returns and exchanges
I want you to want to wear your suspenders. If you are unhappy with your purchase, please return it within two weeks for a full refund, minus shipping costs. In the unlikely event that they actually break, send them back within a year of purchase for a full refund, including shipping.
I accept Paypal, as well as checks or money orders in Canadian funds. I will not ship an item before I receive payment for it. Payments must be sent within two days of purchase.
I generally ship via regular Canada Post. This is usually fine for within North America, but it can be quite time consuming if you are overseas. If you want something shipped more quickly, please let me know before paying so that I can inform you of your options and update your invoice. I usually ship within 2 business days of payment, but if I am unable to do that, I will notify you of the delay.
Additional policies and FAQs
All of my suspenders come with six buttons and instructions so that you can stylishly wear them with any of your pants. They are made in a smoke- and pet-free environment.

I also do custom orders. Please do contact me if you have a special project or request in mind.