Posted on April 07, 2014
A Garter Belt, or as more commonly known outside the US as a Suspender Belt, is a lingerie accessory designed to hold up stockings. Prior to the invention of pantyhose (nylons that are held up with an elastic waistband, specifically), women wore nylon stockings that required an additional accessory such as a garter belt or garter to hold them up.
Garter belts are worn above the waist and feature four or more suspenders which clip on to the tops of pantyhose with metal or plastic clips, or 'slings'. the clip is fastened directly to the stocking. In some cases, as with lace-top stockings, clips fasten to a small loop of material like that which you might find on a swimsuit with a removable strap.
Garter belts became popular in the 1930's to the 1960's. Garter belts started to decline in popularity due to the invention of pantyhose. Today, garter belts can and are still used to hold up stockings, however, the job can be assigned to other lingerie as well. For instance, a corset or girdle can feature suspenders to hold up stockings.
Garter belts are often seen as a sexier, more attractive alternative to pantyhose, and can make a lingerie outfit fancier and more intricate.
In practical terms, garter belts offer the wearer the ability to keep nylon away from the crotch area. Wearing pantyhose can cause indirect pressure on the urethra and the material traps moisture and bacteria. Women who are prone to urinary tract infections should avoid wearing pantyhose and wear stockings with cotton panties instead.
Garters are known today as traditional bridal accessory, with very little actual function. While this tradition of wearing a garter as part of the bridal attire dates back to the middle ages, it did at one point in our history serve an actual function. A simple band of ribbon or cloth would be tied around a ladies thigh to hold a stocking in place. Garters were a less expensive alternative to garter belts. In the 1920’s garter belts became more accessible for all women, and started the decline of garters.
LingerieNYC.com offers both practical and sexy garter belts, some with matching panty and stockings, from $10 and up.