What Are Garters & Garter Belts
There is one accessory that straddles the line where forbidden, beauty, power, and femininity meet. Standing alone, you would not know the garter packed such historical and contemporary connotations - when worn, you cannot miss it.
Today, we are spoiled by elastic and other such helpful stocking-holding materials. Here, at VienneMilano, we make good use of the premier silicone band - only the very best will do. Still, that doesn't mean we've relegated the classic garter to history - we wouldn't dare! Instead, we believe it's an impossibly sexy accessory that's well worth getting to know.
So, here's to first introductions!
Meet the garter (and the garter belt.) Like any mysteriously sexy number, it's a piece that works under many names. So you can take your pick of "garter,"; "garter belt,"; "suspenders,"; or "suspenders belt."; Or, if you're to be ceremonious about it, you could reach for "bridal garter"; or "wedding garter."; You could even call them "stay ups,"; or "hold ups"; if you were feeling rather "different.";
But, for the sake of this blog post, we are just going to call it a garter (for now!)
Crunching the finer details
In the most practical terms, a garter is an article of clothing composed of a band of material designed to wrap around the thigh or waist using bra-like clips or hooks. Dangling from the main body of material are adjustable straps with hooks that attach to stockings and other such hosiery.
When it comes to selection, the garter follows in the endlessly versatile tradition of most lingerie. Whatever fabric, color, size, or shape you desire - you can have it.
The Origins of Garters and Garter Belts
Nowadays, garters are an accessory we tend to associate with women or more feminine looks. However, men once also wore garters to hold up their stockings. Just think along the lines of Bonaparte's sock-enveloped, perfectly-crafted calf. You didn't think they stayed up without some extra support, did you?
As hemlines crept their way northwards, women shifted their garters up to their waistlines in the name of discreteness and thus was born the garter belt!
What are garter belts?
In a nutshell, garter belts, also known as suspender belts, are garter-like lingerie worn around the waist or hips to hold up stockings. The garter belt has a number of straps with clips to hook up thigh highs or stockings on the leg.
Back to the history books
In 1939, as the war began to wage, Du Pont created the first pair of nylon pantyhose. But not even this innovative, game-changing invention could spell the end of garters. In fact, they were further popularized during the 1940s with stocking and pantyhose making a sharp ration-time comeback - and something needed to do the heavy lifting!
But really, where the garter comes into its own is as everyone's favorite (debatable) Wedding tradition.
The bridal garter toss, dating back to the Dark Ages, is considered the male counterpart of the "bouquet toss."; As the tradition states, whichever lucky bachelor snatches the wedding garter from the air is the next to be married.
But what's the difference between a classic garter and a bridal garter?
Simply put, the difference is mainly symbolic. Bridal garters are garters a bride wears to a wedding. However, while any garter can serve as a bridal carter, there are some preferred fits. Wedding garters typically come in a ruched, satin style or a lace band. They can come in any color, with white being the most common, followed by red (fiery and suggestive) or blue (Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.) In fact, something old and something borrowed can also be fulfilled by bridal garters, often borrowed from friends/family or inherited. Some wedding garters also feature delicate bows, appliqués, beading, rhinestones, or crystals.
Now that you've got an idea of what a garter and garter belt are - it's time to learn how to use them.
How To Wear Garter Belts
Wearing a garter belt can require a bit of practice. Here are five easy steps to guide you through:
Step 1: Put garter belt around the waist. Make sure the straps fall on your leg; otherwise, you may be wearing the garter belt upside down!
Step 2: Fasten the hooks. To make life easier, slide the belt over so that the front is the back and the back is the front; essentially, the fasteners should be on your belly. Once you've adjusted the belt to a comfortable fit, reverse the garter back.
Step 3: Put stockings on. Traditionally, garter belts are worn with fully fashion stockings or stockings that do not feature a silicone band. Instead, this style of hosiery is made with a welt and a shadow welt at the very top. For more information on how to wear thigh high stockings, Read here.
Step 4: Attach garter belt to stockings. By far, this is the most tricky part of the process! To start, you'll need to open the clip up by sliding the silicone nub out of the loop. Then, place the welt of your stocking in between the silicone nub and the loop. The intention of the welt is for attaching garter belt clips; thus, this part of the stockings is made with a double layer of nylon. Once you are ready, slide the nub so that it fits into the smaller loop. Next, repeat this step as many times as necessary for all clips to be used. Note: This is where the advantage is for wearing thigh high stockings as you do not need to attach any clips to the stockings.
Step 5: Adjust your straps. Similar to a bra strap, the length of a garter belt strap is adjustable. If you are sitting a lot, you may want to make the length a little longer. For photoshoots, it may be better for the straps to become a little shorter. Our tip here is to adjust the length that is the most comfortable for you.
How To Wash Garter Belts
Similar to washing stockings, the best way to wash garter belts is by hand washing or machine wash with cold water inside a lingerie bag. To learn more, check out our how-to wash stockings blog post.
How To Style Garter Belts
Garter belts are fantastic with a sexy pair of thigh such as the OTTAVIA Lace thigh highs in black. Pairing a garter belt with thigh highs will make you irresistible to your loved one. Garter belts and thigh highs are perfect for boudoir photoshoots, costume parties (with a fabulous corset), or a special night of play. You can even wear garter belts and thigh highs under your work clothes and feel a little dangerous and a lot naughty.
There are lots of ways to wear this look, the most important thing is to have fun! VienneMilano has a beautiful selection of luxurious thigh highs that will look fantastic when paired with a garter belt.
Garter Wrap Up
Tossed or not, worn thigh high or waist-high, lace or lace-less, frills or no-frills - the garter and garter bels served and still serve one purpose: to hold your hosiery in place. Whether you wear them by day or by night and who you show them to is entirely up to each wearer. No matter how you prefer your garter products - be sure to feel comfortable, sexy, and oh-so-gorgeous!