Though the go-to method of supporting trousers these days is the belt, English suits weren’t traditionally worn with belts. The Duke of Windsor famously went to an American tailor to have his suit trousers with belt loops made because his London tailored refused to at the time when the English were mostly wearing trousers supported with braces (suspenders).
There are many reasons not to wear a belt with a suit:
- A belt breaks the visual flow from the coat to the trousers, especially on a lighter-coloured suit. A suit should be a unified garment.
- A belt buckle disrupts the line of a closely fitted suit coat.
- A belt buckle creates a lump under a waistcoat on a three-piece suit.
- Trousers will sag during the day with a belt and need to be pulled up.
Only braces can truly solve problem 4 by suspending the trousers at a consistent height relative to the shoulders, but the other three problems can be solved with side adjusters. Side adjusters will still help for problem 4 because they don’t weigh down the trousers like a belt does. By the 1950s it was common for English tailors to make trousers with an adjustable waistband system to take the place of braces, and there are a number of different types of waistband adjusters.
Sean Connery’s Anthony Sinclair suits all featured “DAKS tops,” originally made by Simpson’s of Piccadilly. The name is a portmanteau of “Dad” and “slacks.” The style has buttoning tabs on the sides, connected with hidden elastic across the back. One drawback to this is that the adjusters can only be tightened to where the buttons are placed, though the elastic helps for a snug fit. There are usually two or three buttons—often of mother of pearl—on each side, and Connery used one of the buttons on the left to secure his shoulder holster. Roger Moore also wore this style on his Cyril Castle suit trousers in Live and Let Die.
Daniel Craig introduced another classic trouser adjuster style to the Bond series with his Tom Ford suits in Quantum of Solace. The Tom Ford side adjusters are two strips of cloth brought together with a slide buckle, though a more casual variation can be found that uses D-rings. As opposed to button-tabs, this style allows for an exact adjustment.
Other styles of side adjusters exist, such as a waistband that expands and contracts with a locking zip fastener. There are also adjusters that look like DAKS tops but don’t have elastic across the back, and thus they do not function as well.