Are you typically a tights-wearer, but intrigued by the idea of stockings? Then you’ll also need to get yourself a suspender belt to hold them up. It’s the same thing as a garter belt, which is the US name for them.
Some people choose to wear a suspender belt and stockings for aesthetic reasons. It’s undoubtedly the more glamorous option! Plus, if you’ve put a pretty matching set on, why cover half of it up with tights?
There’s a practical reason to make the swap to stockings too. By leaving your upper leg and crotch uncovered, a lot of people actually find them more comfortable, both for warmer weather and just in general because it means less fabric between the thighs.
However, some suspender belts will do a much better job of keeping your stockings in place than others! So just what should you be looking out for in terms of design? And how exactly do you wear one? Below are answers to all of the common beginner questions.
In a word, yes. Ultra-narrow suspender belts can look quite chic, but they’re far less practical. Stockings may not be particularly heavy, but they are constantly pulling down on your suspender belt and over the course of the day a narrow one can end up slipping down. This can lead to wrinkled stockings and the tops being visible below shorter hemlines. A wide suspender belt (at least 4 or so inches tall) is much sturdier. Plus, it will cut in less, creating a smoother line under your clothing.
Where should the suspender belt sit?
It’s also harder for a suspender belt to slip down low when it starts high up on your waist. If you see a design that’s slung low over the hips, it’s probably intended to be a ‘boudoir’ piece for short-term wear only. For something that’s actually going to hold your stockings up from dawn ‘til dusk, look for a suspender that sits at your natural waistline and comfortably-but-firmly hugs your body.
A good-quality suspender belt will be made with smooth metal clips that aren’t going to do any damage. Cheap plastic clips on the other hand often have rough edges that can snag and pull delicate stocking fabric! Plus, plastic grips can break quite easily. So far from being a negative, metal grips are actually something you want your suspender belt to have.
How many straps should my suspender belt have?
The majority of suspender belts have 4 straps, two at the front and two at the back. In combination with a wide and waist-height design (see above), that can work perfectly fine. However, a larger number of straps means added peace of mind. The more straps there are holding your stockings up, the less they are going to slip down. So if you’re looking for a piece to wear all day long, choosing 6 or even 8 straps will make it much less likely you’ll need to disappear into the bathroom every few hours to adjust your hosiery!
Put your suspender belt on first, followed by your stockings one at a time. To open the suspender clip, slide the round ‘nub’ up to where the front part of the grip is wider and pop it out. Sandwich about an inch or so of top of the stocking between the two halves. Then push the nub back through the wide part and slide it down again, which will secure it firmly in place. Repeat for the other straps.
Can you wear a suspender belt with hold ups?
Technically, you can.However, it’s not recommended. Hold ups have strips of silicone inside the band to keep them in place, and suspender clips are not designed to grab onto such a thick material. You may find that they keep popping open, or worse, you may even end up damaging the clips or the hold ups themselves.
Honestly, this is up to personal preference! It’s said that knickers-over-suspender is the French way and it’s certainly more practical for going to the toilet, since you don’t have to undo all the straps to pull your knickers down. But if you prefer how your lingerie looks with the suspender on top, plenty of people wear them that way too.
You could also just eliminate the issue altogether by buying a pair of suspender knickers such as these ones, a garment that combines the two into a single piece.