In this day and age, women enjoy functionality as well as comfort incorporated into our fashion. We like wrappable dresses that can be worn 100 ways and designer flip-flops. If you asked us to stuff ourselves into a corset and petticoat, most of us would laugh. However, some fashions of old are still popular today, not because of comfort and function but because of style.
What Is a Garter Belt?
A garter belt is a circle of material that is worn around the waist. Hanging down from it are four strips with clasps on the end. They are called the garters. The garters may or may not be adjustable, but they usually hang down about 3 to 4 inches from the belt. There are two in the front, positioned over the thighs, and two in the back. Their function is to attach to the top of nylon stockings and hold them up.
Garter belts were designed in the 1920s as an alternative to uncomfortable and restricting corsets. Women could now be more free by wearing a simple belt instead of an entire torso restraint. They were also a lighter and more fashionable replacement for the girdle, though not as shaping. They were made from various types of cloths. The cloth was generally of a durable and thicker nature.
From the 1940s to the early 1960s, garter belts became a bit fashionable. Some women would wear them with a shorter skirt, so that they might be exposed during movement. Others would wear a longer skirt with a slit that might provide a bit of peek-a-boo. Much of this changed in 1959 when elastic provided an alternative. This was the invention of pantyhose. Women no longer needed belts to hold up their stockings. They would stay up on their own.
Today there is a huge variety of choices. There are tights of various thicknesses, body stockings, nylons, thigh highs that stay up by themselves and countless others. However, garter belts are still widely in use, mostly as sexy lingerie items. Garters still come attached to corsets, though many are removable, and there are garter belts that now come with sexy outfits. Still, some choose to wear their garter belts out of the bedroom as a sexy fashion statement.
Many different fabrics can be used to make a garter belt. The most popular materials in today's society are of lace, silk or satin. Some are made from leather, latex, vinyl or even chainmail. It all depends on the taste of the wearer, and endless possibilities can emerge with a bit of creativity. Garter belts can be found all over the Internet and also at lingerie stores such as Victoria's Secret and Fredricks of Hollywood.
Eva David is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in Chicago. She has received several awards for her short stories. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Advertising from the University of South Florida.