Q: Regarding your article concerning braces, first the good then the bad. Congratulations on calling them braces rather than suspenders, as the latter are what, in Canada, used to hold up our socks. You might have mentioned the comfort and health advantages. With braces the pants waist can be looser than with a belt and reduces the feeling of being bisected when seated. My own return to braces was prompted by a friend's advice that the bigger waist reduced indigestion problems.
But buttons! I haven't seen braces' buttons installed in a store for 30 years. Maybe the store will put them on, at a cost.
Then there's button maintenance. It's no coincidence that fly buttons and braces' buttons disappeared at about the same time and were replaced by zippers and belts.
A: Thank you for your letter. As you probably know, if you look around fashionable society and especially Hollywood these days, you will see that most well-dressed men wear braces. But only the adolescent stars who wear them with jeans use clips.
This is a style that works equally well for the heavy man as for the slim one. Still, if he wears braces with clips, the sophisticated man-about-town air is lost to a dressed-for-daily-chores-in-overalls look.
One must have the tailor who alters your trousers sew on the buttons. Better suit stores currently do so. Most manufacturers of braces enclose a set of the six requisite buttons with each new pair.
Switching braces from one pair of pants to another can be a nuisance. Owning a few extra pairs lessens the effort. Coordinating (but not exactly matching) the color and pattern of braces with suit, shirt, and tie pays dividends.
Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.
Ms. Fenton, author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for companies around the country.