Suspender Attachments: A Matter of Style and Functionality

Various suspender attachments

If you are new to wearing suspenders, you might not realize how many types of suspenders there are, and how many options you have when it comes to how suspenders can attach to your pants. Suspender hardware comes in a wide variety of choices, and when you're shopping for suspenders, it's good to get familiar with the attachments you plan to use the most.

At SuspenderStore, you can choose to shop for your suspenders by focusing your attention on specific attachment categories. This can be a time saver if you are sure that you know which types of hardware you prefer for ease of use, strength and fashion style. If you're wondering how to wear suspenders, figuring out which kind of attachment is right for you is a great place to start.

A Wide Variety of Attachment Types

There are quite a few different types of attachments for suspenders. SuspenderStore has suspenders with 12 different types of attachments: finger clips in both nickel and brass finish, construction clips (in nickel and black), drop clips, trigger snaps, leather button-on (also called rabbit ears or moustaches because of their shape), fabric button-on (also called runner ends), airport-friendly non-metal clips, belt clips, convertibles, industrial button-on and belt loop. With so many choices, choosing the right attachment style might seem overwhelming.

However, it's not as complicated as it might seem. Simply put, all suspender attachments can be divided into three main categories: 1) suspenders that clip onto your pants (clip-on suspenders), 2) suspenders that attach to buttons sewn onto your pants (button-on suspenders) or 3) suspenders that attach to a belt (belt-clip suspenders). And for people who want to keep their options open, there are convertible attachment suspenders that give the wearer the ability to switch the attachment from clip-on to a button-on and vice versa.

Convertible suspenders offer both clip-on and button-on options

Detailed view of brown leather convertible suspender

So, your first decision about your choice of suspenders should be finding out which of these three categories works best for you. The answer depends on a number of factors. What type of look do you want? Do you have any physical considerations that affect your ability to manipulate the attachments? Are you willing/able to sew buttons on your trousers? By the way, it's OK to choose suspenders in all three attachment categories - there are no rules. Each attachment type comes with built-in advantages. The table below summarizes the pros/cons of each attachment style:

  Clip-on Button-on Belt Attachment
Look Varies depending on the exact type of clip with some being dressier and others being more functional. Slightly less traditional and dressy than button-on. Generally a more traditional/dressy look. Most higher-­- end business and dress suspenders are button-­-on, and are frequently referred to as braces. Practical. Gives the dual support of both a belt and suspenders. Generally found on more casual suspenders.
Reliability Quality of clips can vary greatly. We pay extra for high-­- quality/strong clips, so ours are as reliable as you can get. But no clip, no matter how high quality, is going to be as fail proof as a button-­-on attachment. If you want to be absolutely certain that the suspenders won’t ever come off your pants unless you remove them yourself, button-­-on is the way to go. Quite reliable as long as the belt clip fits around the belt properly. Keep in mind the width of the belt you intend to wear.
Ease of Use Easy – clip them on and you’re ready to go! Keep in mind that some types of clips are easier to manipulate than others. Requires more up front work – you either need to sew, or have someone else sew buttons on all the pants with which you intend to wear your suspenders. Our “no sew” buttons can help overcome this obstacle. Easy – either clip the belt clip to your belt or slide the belt through the loop, depending on the type of belt attachment.

Within each of these three categories there are further options.

Types of Suspender Clips

The styles of suspenders with clip-on attachments are wide ranging. Many people prefer the ease of clip suspenders, and familiarizing yourself with some of our popular clip styles can make your suspender shopping more satisfying.

Finger clips are about 1/2 inch wide and come in nickel and brass finishes. These clips are dressier than our wider construction clips and they can be made even more dressy by the addition of a leather attachment, in which case they are called "drop clips." High-quality finger clips snap tightly closed and grip well. Most of our 1/2-inch-wide suspenders come with nickel finger clips. Because some people prefer the look of brass clips, we carry some basic suspender colors in both nickel and brass clips. And in certain cases, we've chosen brass over nickel clips because brass is more complementary to the color of the suspender.

Detailed view of nickel suspender finger clips

Nickel finger clips

Detailed view of brass suspender finger clips

Brass finger clips


Detailed view of brown leather suspender drop clips

Drop clip

Construction clips are also sometimes called "alligator clips" because of their large "teeth." These clips are about 1 inch wide, and they are chosen for the strength of their grip. While their size makes them less dressy than a finger clip, it also optimizes their functionality. These clips are most often found on our 2-inch-wide suspenders - including our work suspenders, which are intended to hold up heavy tool belts. These clips are either nickel or black, depending on the color and pattern of the suspender on which they are being used. If you're looking for work suspenders with an extra-firm hold, consider styles with these strong clip suspender attachments.

The term "side clips" simply refers to a variation of where these clips are placed. Instead of having four clips with two on the front and two on the back of the suspenders, side clip suspenders have only two clips - one that attaches on each side (left and right) of the wearer. Side clip suspenders are popular with people who spend a lot of time sitting or driving because the positioning alleviates any pressure from the clips on the wearer's back.

Detailed view of nickel suspender alligator clips

SuspenderStore pioneered the design and use of airport-friendly suspender clips with the introduction of our proprietary "BuzzNot" suspenders in the early 2000s. Made of heavy-duty plastic and featuring an easy-to-handle lever that is pushed down to close the clip, these suspender clips not only contain no metal (so they will pass through metal detectors), they are also easy to use, making them a good choice for people with impaired hand function. They are also popular for sports such as skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities.

Detailed view of airport friendly Buzz Not suspender clips

The final type of clip-on attachments are trigger snaps, most commonly found on our Western suspenders. Similar in look and feel to the hardware found on dog leashes, trigger snaps attachments clip onto pant belt loops. They are easy to use, highly reliable and come in both nickel and brass finishes.

Detailed view of nickel suspender trigger clip

Types of Button-On Attachments

Button-on suspender attachments are highly fashionable all on their own, creating a classic look for any outfit. All button-on suspenders feature a "moustache" or "rabbit ear"-shaped strip of either leather or cloth with a buttonhole on each end. Button-on suspenders are typically Y-back, so there is one attachment point on the middle of the back and two attachment points on the front.

Leather ends are by far the most common type of button-on attachments. In this case, they are comprised of leather, sewn together along the center. The color of the leather depends on the color of the suspender fabric and can be either black, dark brown, medium brown or white.

Detailed view of black and brown leather button-on suspenders
Detailed view of black runner-end suspenders

Fabric ends, also called runner ends, are found on high-end suspenders intended for business or dress wear. The fabric gives the suspender a more polished or formal look. Functionally, runner ends work in an identical manner to their leather counterparts.

And finally, on some suspenders intended for heavy-duty work, such as our firefighter and Rugged Comfort suspenders, you will find industrial leather button-on attachments that have a sturdier look and feel than the standard leather "rabbit ears." The difference with these attachments is simply a matter of look and durability; the functionality remains the same.

Detailed view of brown leather Rugged Comfort suspenders
Detailed view of black leather fireman button-on suspenders

Types of Belt Attachments

The final category of suspender attachment styles is found on suspenders that are intended to be worn WITH rather than in lieu of a belt.

Detailed view of black Perry Belt Clips

By far the most common type of belt attachments are called Perry belt clips, named for the person who invented them, Don A. Perry. Made of heavy-duty plastic that slides up onto and around the wearer's belt, these clips have the added benefit of being airport friendly. Worn with a buckle-free belt such as SuspenderStore's BuzzNot leather belts, one can go through metal detectors wearing these suspenders without triggering an alarm. People also wear these in high-security facilities.

Finally, our Rugged Comfort Western suspenders come in a belt-loop style. These attachments are a loop of leather that the belt slides through, similar to the belt loops on pants.

Detailed view of brown leather Rugged Comfort belt-loop style Western suspenders

So, no matter what your fashion and function needs may be, you're sure to find just the right attachment style from SuspenderStore's vast selection of suspender styles. And now that you know that attachments are another element of getting to know more about various suspenders, you can begin thinking about how to create new looks based on hardware style and functionality. We want you to enjoy planning these looks and shopping our selection for various types of suspenders to wear daily, or whenever you're in the mood for suspender fashion.

Have further questions regarding what type of suspender you should buy? Be sure to check out our other style guides, which discuss how to choose the best width, fabric, cross style (X- or Y-back) and size for you!