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When people ask about the difference between hold-ups and stockings, the typical answer is that hold-ups stay up on their own while stockings require a suspender belt. Which is true, except for the suspender belt part.

Garter belts for stockings

Maison Close 'Les Fetiches' Les Suspenders

Stockings do require 'something' to keep them in place, but you’ve got lots of options! Suspender belts may be the favourite choice, but they’re not the only one.

Before we get onto garments that you can use to hold your stockings up, let’s mention one that you shouldn’t – Staysput. This is designed for use with hold-ups, which have strips of silicone inside the tops. If you use it with stockings, which are made from fabric only, you may damage them. Especially if they’re sheer.

Here are some better ideas…

Bluebella Garter Suspenders at Mayfair Stockings

Bluebella Garter Suspenders


Once upon a time, suspender belts didn’t exist and people used garters to keep their stockings from falling down. The earliest ones weren’t even elasticated, instead using ribbons that were tied tightly around the leg.

While you can still try wearing garters over your stocking tops today, it’s possible that your stockings will work themselves free as you walk around. Modern ‘garter suspenders’ offer much more security. These combine thigh garters worn above the stockings with suspender clasps, which ensure your hosiery won’t be going anywhere.

Mayfair Chloe Crotchless Suspender Knickers

Mayfair Chloe Open Suspender Knickers

Suspender Briefs

The other options on this list are all lingerie garments that you can easily find with built-in suspenders. One of the most well-known and popular is the suspender brief. Instead of needing to wear a suspender belt over or under your knickers, this blends the two together.

If you are looking for a suspender brief to wear all day long, it’s best to find one that’s high-waisted. Just as wide suspender belts that sit high on the waist do a better job of staying in place, a high-waist suspender brief is also less prone to being pulled down by your stockings.

Ravenna Corset from Mayfair Stockings

Ravenna Corset and Thong

Basques and Corsets

Basques are often designed with the boudoir in mind, meaning that more often than not they have suspender straps. Sometimes they’re fixed, other times they’re detachable. Some corsets also come with suspender straps.

Of course, you’ll never have to worry about these pieces slipping down, no matter the design! They’re the perfect choice when you want total stocking security.

Maison Close Coup de Foudre Thong Body with Suspenders

Maison Close Coup de Foudre Thong Body with Suspenders


Bodysuits, also just called bodies, are ideal when you want simplicity. Just one single piece that you can throw on and that’s your lingerie sorted for the day. A softer option than boned basques and corsets, they’re ultra-comfy too. 

There are many bodysuits around that have suspender straps. If it’s for all-day wear, look for a bodysuit that has an openable gusset (the one shown above has a hook-and-eye crotch fastening) so you won’t need to fully undress to use the toilet.

Freya Babydoll with Suspenders and Thong

...And Some Others

Bodysuits, basques, briefs and garters are the most typical alternatives to a suspender belt, but even these aren’t all your options. Lingerie designers can put suspender straps on almost anything!

How about a suspender skirt, which is essentially a variation on a suspender belt? Or a suspender dress or babydoll? I’ve even seen braswith suspender straps, although that’s definitely not a common item.

If you don’t want to wear a suspender belt and none of the above ideas appeal, remember that you can still wear other styles of hosiery besides stockings. Hold-ups look very similar, and suspender tights resemble a belt and stockings but are really just one piece.

How do you hold your stockings up? Are you a die-hard suspender belt fan, or do you like to mix things up?

Visit the Lingerie Collection to see all your options.

by  Estelle Puleston

1 Response


March 14, 2019

My grandmother, who was born in the 1920s, used to wear stockings for suspender belt without a suspender belt. Simply by rolling the top of the stocking over her thighs. So, I guess she “invented” the hold-ups. (If only she patented them!)
I still saw her doing so in the 1990.
Anyone here has witnessed anything similar ?

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