Albert Thurston Braces

Albert Thurston's original braces are elegant and handcrafted, designed and created exclusively in England with superb quality materials.

From classic to patterned, braces are an accessory that suit every style and can be worn for both formal and casual occasions.

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Men's braces are an unmistakably stylish accessory with a retro flavour, and Albert Thurston has been a leading name since 1822, when he invented them.

Original Albert Thurston braces are outstanding as they retain the traditional characteristics. They are recognisable for their attention to detail and finish; they are hardwearing and long-lasting, to accompany you on numerous occasions and always stay beautiful.

What kind of braces should I choose?

There are two main types of braces:

  • The classic version are Y-shaped, meaning that the two sides join at the back to form a single strap with is attached to the centre of the waist.
    This is the most formal and elegant style, great paired with a classic shirt and a tailored suit.
  • X-shaped braces have two straps that meet at the back but continue separately and are attached to two different points of the waistband. This style is also suitable for more casual occasions, and can be worn very comfortably with business suits and shirts. Compared to Y-shaped braces, they also give greater support and stability.

Men's braces with buttons or clips

If you're looking for a practical and more casual look, we suggest braces with clips. Albert Thurston's English braces have nickel-plated clips which attach easily and securely to the waistband. They can be worn with any type of trouser, including those without belt loops, but be careful with trousers made in delicate fabrics, as the pressure of the clips may damage them.
Also recommended with jeans for a trendy and sporty look.

Braces with buttons, meanwhile, are more suited to a classic, elegant look.
These braces attach to buttons on the waistband with leather runners and buttonholes.
Buttoned braces can also have loops for attachment; Albert Thurston's are made in passementerie with leather trim.
The disadvantage of button braces is that they can only be used with trousers that have buttons. A valid stratagem may be to choose braces with both buttonholes and clips, and use one or the other as required. Otherwise you can opt for our buttons with clips, which allow you to use braces without having to sew buttons on all your trousers.

Braces colours and fabrics

Men's braces are made either in rigid or more elastic fabrics. More rigid braces are said to be more suitable for formal outfits; Albert Thurston's are made in barathea, a soft but hardwearing fabric.

English braces in elasticated fabric - which usually have clips - are recommended for more casual and sporty settings. Braces are 35mm or 32mm long.
Alternative solutions, even more formal, are braces in linen or silk.

In our online shop, you'll find various models: patterned, solid colour, striped... For formal ceremonies, for example, dark blue braces are perfect, and the ideal match for a classic white shirt. For less formal occasions, or if you simply want a bold style, we have patterned braces with fun designs, polka dots, bright colours or floral patterns.

What to wear with braces

Braces are the perfect match for a tailored shirt. If you want to be sure, wear a classic shirt with solid colour or striped braces, and add an extra special touch with a coordinating bow tie and pocket square.
For a trendy look, we recommend a casual shirt paired with jeans and patterned braces... you'll definitely stand out from the crowd.
Finally, if your outfit needs a tie, it's best to choose a complementary colour, perhaps matching or with stripes to slim the figure and minimise colour contrast.

The history of braces

Braces today are particularly loved for their classy touch, the perfect compromise between elegant British style and a more casual everyday look. However, they have been an integral part of the male wardrobe for over 200 years.
Their origins date back to the French Revolution. With the uprising of the "sans-culottes" came the refusal to wear the knee breeches that were fashionable at the time. As a form of rebellion against France's aristocracy, men took to wearing long trousers without buttons, held up by two strips of fabric over the shoulders, in other words, braces. But in the early 19th century, when even Napoleon began wearing them, the French aristocracy were also seduced by this accessory. And so the trend rapidly became popular all over Europe among men of all social classes. While until then they were merely cloth strips attached to the trousers, braces as we know them today were invented in London in 1820 by Albert Thurston. In his shop at 27 Panton Street, Haymarket, Thurston produced and sold traditional braces for English gentlemen and the upper classes.

His braces were (and still are) so exquisite and beautifully made that they were worn for both practical and aesthetic reasons, and were hugely successful all over the world. One anecdote that confirms the impact of the Albert Thurston brand concerns an interview with the actor Ralph Richardson in 1939. Asked what he thought of the outbreak of war and how he would cope with possible shortages, he replied dryly that he would buy half a dozen pairs of Albert Thurston braces, in case there was a shortage. What's more, at the time of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851 (the first exhibition of the Works of Industry), Thurston received an honorary mention for the high standards and excellence of his braces.
In the early 20th century, braces underwent a further evolution which made them even more successful: they were produced in elasticated fabric and, instead of different sizes, the braces were made with length adjustors to ensure comfort for any physique.
With the outbreak of the First World War and the obligation to wear belts with military uniforms, braces began to lose their appeal. But as we know, fashion goes in cycles. And towards the end of the 1980s, wealthy young men in Wall Street dusted off the accessory to embellish their look with unmistakable style.
Today braces are back in fashion, and are the perfect accessory for any occasion for men who like to dress well.