The consensus seems to be that belts are more fashionable than suspenders. Belts seem to be the standard; however, a slight increase in pant security can be had by wearing suspenders. This increase in pant security comes a cost of a proportional decrease in other's perceived notion of your fashion sense. So there are benefits and costs to both, but both seem to be about equals. The choice is solely up to personal preference.
Then there is the belt and suspender look. This option offers a considerable amount of added pant security. When a belt-suspender combination is added to a pair of properly fitting pants, the likelihood of pant failure drops drastically. I believe that one could weather a tornado and still have his pants properly resting on his waist after being thrown a few miles through the air. The consensus seems to be that although this option offers a staggering increase in pant security, the drop in your "you-don't-look-retarded" factor is far greater.
Although I would assume that the average person would answer, "yes" to the the question, "Would you like it if there was virtually no chance that your pants would fall down at an awkward time?", the fact that there is little chance of a pair of pants falling from their desired resting place while wearing only a belt or suspenders rules out any consideration for most people to wear a belt and suspenders simultaneously.
I also learned that there is a saying: He's a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy. As you can imagine, it refers to a person that checks and double-checks everything he does, often to the point that this checking outruns its utility. I like to think that the saying could also be a sort of double entendre for a person that either has no fashion-sense or lacks the common sense to draw the conclusion that although unaware that this is a fashion faux pas, the combination is unnecessary and will at best be perceived as an act of paranoia.
I then started wondering what type of person fits this description as an overly cautious (belt-and suspender type of) person.
- I own around 15-20 alarm clocks and set all of them, plus the alarm in my cell phone. If the power goes out, I have a back-up. If the battery dies in one clock, I have a back-up. If I set the time incorrectly on one, I have a back-up. If a cell tower goes down...
- When I write something, I proofread it. Then I proofread it again. Then I have someone else proofread it. Then I proofread it again. Even emails stating that I am going to miss work are carefully proofread.
- When I build something, I use about 3x's (no exaggeration) the necessary hardware. Example: When I built my subwoofer box, I used about one screw every two inches. I also used almost two full bottles of wood glue. My grandfather who is known for overdoing the hardware when he builds/fixes something was watching me install cabinets at my mother's house and said, "Wow son, I've never seen anything quite like that. That thing's never coming down. You're using about twice the hardware I'd use."
- When I was in the Air Force, I had to wear a reflective belt on the flight-line during times of inclement weather. I wore the required reflective belt, but I also wore reflective suspenders and put reflective tape on my ear defenders.
I believe that I qualify as a belt-and-suspenders type of guy (I don't believe that the example of reflective items solely qualifies me as the point was not to keep my pants up, but rather to stay visible at night. Perhaps it does.), which raised an important question. Why don't I wear both a belt and suspenders?
Although I hardly ever wear a suit, I don't see why I can't wear both a belt and suspenders. Initially my thought process met a stalemate as I realized that I do not tuck my shirt into my blue jeans. Without tucking my shirt in, suspenders do not seem to be an option. Digression: Anyone that tucks their shirt into their blue jeans needs to be beaten severely. It looks retarded. If you are wearing blue jeans and want to look a little more dressed up, go put on a pair of slacks. The tucked-in look is doing nothing but making you look retarded. Blue jeans were invented to wear while mining for gold in California. They are strong (What other articles of clothing do you own with metal rivets at the points of strain?), they are incredibly comfortable, and they are durable. They are not formal. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/bluejeans.htm I then had an epiphany! I simply need to wear the suspenders underneath my t-shirt.
As an added benefit, I could choose reflective suspenders. If I were to get stranded at night on the highway, I could wear the suspenders outside my shirt as I searched for a gas station. This seems to be far safer... Perhaps all people should keep them in their car as part of their emergency kit.
Just imagine the possibilities... I bet I could run a marathon with both pockets filled with nickels with no fear that my pants would fall.