Different but similar; these two iconic accessories are quite the challenge to compare. This is mainly because no one has tried it before (at least online.) It also bears noting that while both items have defining differences, they’re united by their most important attribute: An implacable place in fashion history and fashion now.

Here at VienneMilano, we’re up for the job of comparing garter belts and suspenders. We’ve spent plenty of time working with garter belts, getting to know their ins and outs and falling in love with them in the process. We're a little less in-the-know when it comes to suspenders, but we’ve admired them from afar and noticed how they compare to some pieces in our collection.

So, we're ready to get to the bottom of this, passing a few nuances and distinctions along the way, unique to these wardrobe staples that add a touch of allure to any ensemble.

The Transatlantic Divide: Garter Belts vs. Suspenders

In the world of fashion, terminology can vary significantly across different cultures. In the United States, "Garter Belts" are commonly used to describe an accessory worn by women to hold up stockings or thigh-high socks, typically featuring intricate lace or decorative elements. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, "Suspenders" refer to an accessory worn by both men and women, designed to hold up trousers or skirts, often made from elastic or leather and featuring practical clips or buttons.

Why the Difference?

The distinction in terminology between "Garter Belts" and "Suspenders" reflects cultural preferences and historical usage. In American fashion lexicon, "Garter Belts" evoke a sense of vintage glamour and are associated primarily with women's lingerie. Conversely, in British fashion parlance, "Suspenders" are more commonly used in a unisex context and are linked to both formal and casual attire, providing a functional yet stylish solution to keeping trousers or skirts in place.

Garter Belts and Suspenders: What’s the Big Difference?

We’re going to get started with a quick run down or what sets them both apart. It’s quite generalised, but we’ll work on that later.

Garter Belts:

  • Typically worn by women.
  • Designed to hold up stockings or thigh-high socks.
  • Consists of straps attached to a belt worn around the waist or hips.
  • Often looked upon as lingerie or a fashion accessory.
  • Regularly features embellishments like lace or bows.
  • Adjustable for a better fit.
  • Known for its vintage/retro aesthetic.


  • Unisex (often associated more with men)
  • Designed to hold up trousers or pants.
  • Consists of straps that go over the shoulders and attach to pants.
  • Generally worn underneath a jacket or coat.
  • Available in various materials, including elastic or leather.
  • Can be adjustable with clips or buttons.
  • Offers a classic or formal look, especially with suits or formal attire.

Expanding on the Above …

What are Garter Belts and Suspenders?

Garter Belts

The garter belt is a symbol of timeless elegance and vintage glamour. Crafted with delicate lace, satin ribbons, and seductive straps, the garter belt exudes an air of sophistication and romance. Designed to be worn around the waist, this enchanting accessory features adjustable straps that attach to stockings, creating a tantalizing silhouette that harkens back to the golden age of Hollywood.


On the other hand, we have suspenders—a sartorial staple beloved by fashion aficionados for its understated charm and dapper appeal. Unlike garter belts, which are designed to hold up stockings, suspenders are crafted to support trousers or skirts, ensuring a sleek and polished look. Typically made from elastic or fabric, suspenders feature clips or buttons that attach to the waistband of bottoms, offering both style and functionality in equal measure.

Explaining their Defining Differences

Functionality vs. Flair

While both garter belts and suspenders serve the practical purpose of holding garments in place, their primary functions differ significantly. Garter belts are designed to keep stockings from slipping down the legs, offering a sensual and feminine touch to lingerie ensembles. On the other hand, suspenders are intended to prevent trousers or skirts from sagging, providing a sophisticated and tailored aesthetic to formal or casual attire.

Styling Versatility

One of the delightful aspects of garter belts and suspenders is their versatility in styling. Garter belts, with their alluring allure, are often reserved for intimate moments in the boudoir, where they add a touch of romance to lingerie sets. Suspenders, on the other hand, seamlessly transition from day to night, effortlessly elevating office attire or eveningwear with a dash of debonair charm.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, the choice between garter belts and suspenders boils down to personal preference and individual style. Whether you gravitate towards the vintage-inspired allure of garter belts or the classic sophistication of suspenders, both accessories offer endless opportunities for self-expression and sartorial creativity. Embrace your unique aesthetic and let your chosen embellishment become a signature statement of your impeccable taste and refined sensibility.

Bringing it together now

In decoding the difference between garter belts and suspenders, we've unveiled their unique characteristics and explored their roles in fashion. While they diverge in functionality and styling, they share an unyielding presence in the annals of fashion history and contemporary allure. Whether you're drawn to the timeless elegance of garter belts or the sartorial charm of suspenders, both accessories offer a canvas for personal expression and individual style. So, as you embark on your own stylish journey, may you embrace the nuances of each, allowing them to accentuate your wardrobe with sophistication and flair.

June 28, 2024

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