Braces! I think we all know what braces are. I mean, the Americans don’t, but everyone else does, right? I think they call them ‘suspenders’, but that’s hugely entertaining to the rest of the world, because what we call ‘suspenders’, the Americans call ‘garters’, and when we say ‘suspenders’, we mean the kinky variety worn by ladies of the night. Not your ‘sock garters’ or the ones you wear on your wedding night, I mean the properly kinky variety. That’s what we call suspenders. Our braces are what Americans call suspenders. We don’t use the word ‘garter’. Much. Well, ‘sock garter’, maybe. Are you following all this? You’re gonna have to be able to follow all this for this question to make sense. I’m talking about braces. The things that hold your trousers up that isn’t a belt. That you loop over your shoulders. I’m also not talking about braces for your teeth, which I assume the Americans also call ‘braces’, but knowing how different they are, in all likelihood, they probably call them ‘banjos’…
Braces! Fabric or leather straps worn over one’s shoulders to hold up one’s trousers. Usually elasticised and clipped to one’s trousers, or buttoned on instead. Many believe nobody really wears braces anymore. That they are the preserve of either the wrinkly old man or the young modern hipster. Braces were invented in 1820 by a British man named Albert Thurston, who yes, does sound like the type of man who would invent braces. They were far more practical than belts due to the type of trousers that were worn back then. They were also named ‘galluses’. Despite what Wikipedia says, they are not more popular in the UK than belts and we don’t all wear them. I’ve certainly never seen anyone wearing them…
Whilst they fell out of fashion, they are coming back in some style. Once the preserve of the middle-class, they became a potent symbol of the punk era and entered popular culture. The skinheads and the working classes, a symbol of their generation. They became common amongst women and they were encouraged to wear them in all kinds of fashion magazines in the ‘70s and ‘80s. And they died out before the modern dandy revival style reared its ugly head. As you’ve probably figured out, I’m not a fan of braces.
I liked them in the olden days because they were a product of the olden days. But so were candlestick telephones and nobody has one of them anymore. They’re not like vinyl, fashionably retro, they’re more, ‘Aww, were they your granddads?’ I’m confident they day will come when it’s cool again to wear them, but right now, people are doing it to be cool and hip and trendy and all those other modern buzzwords, but that makes them inherently uncool. Like, I have long hair, and I had it when it was becoming fashionable for boys to grow their hair long, which made it uncool. But now it’s not fashionable, and I still have my long hair, I’ve heard people say they like my long hair. It’s unusual. Different. Cool. Yet everyone hated it when I first grew it long. You see? That’s what braces will become.
So, right now, I’m in a bit of a love-hate relationship. I adored braces in the olden days, I loved that they became a symbol of the greatest music genre in history, and I hate that the hippies have adopted them nowadays, but I’m confident that they’ll shut up one day and allow normal people to adopt them – thus allowing them to become cool again. That’s my complex view on braces, readers.
Although I think we can all agree that it is beyond hilarious that the Americans call them ‘suspenders’. Tee, he, he…
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