Garter belts are a sexy and practical accessory that have been an integral part of women’s undergarment fashion since their invention in the early 20th century. Centuries ago, they represented a move toward women’s liberation and a slight loosening on the reigns of modesty in women’s fashion. Before the invention of garter belts, women were forced to wear uncomfortable, restrictive corsets to hold up their socks or stockings. Garter belts offered a more comfortable, less modest solution to the problem of slipping stockings.
Although garter belts became virtually obsolete in their role of holding up women’s everyday stockings by the 1960s, they cycled back into the forefront of fashion around the 1990s as lingerie. Late 20th-century garter belts were common in sexy, vintage-inspired burlesque fashion—which reached the height of its popularity near the end of the 20th century. Two decades into the 21st century, sexy garter belts and garter sets are still commonly worn in modern women’s lingerie looks.
Garter belts and garters are very similar and serve virtually the same purpose, so it can be difficult to keep them straight. Despite their similarities, however, there are definitely differences between these two styles.
Garters are thin bands of fabric that fasten around your mid- or upper thigh and are designed to hold your stockings or high socks tightly around your legs to keep them from slipping down throughout the day. Garters are also often worn decoratively—even without stockings or socks—as a sexy, alluring accessory in a lingerie look.
One of the most common uses for decorative garters is as an accessory for a bride to wear underneath her wedding dress. Bridal garters are almost exclusively worn as a decorative accessory—they are usually not used to hold up the bride’s stockings. These bridal garters are linked with the centuries-old tradition of the wedding garter toss and add a feminine, sexy finishing touch to your wedding-day look.
Like garters, garter belts are also designed to prevent your stockings from slipping down your leg. Unlike garters, garter belts are almost never worn by themselves—they are usually exclusively attached to stockings. The fasteners that are attached to the garter belt hang down and look awkward if they are not securely fastened to the top of a pair of stockings. Garter belts are very commonly worn as part of a sexy lingerie look; modern sexy garter belts are rarely paired with everyday clothes.
Garters and garter belts can be useful and sexy, but figuring out how they work and how to wear them correctly can be tricky.
Garter belts are complicated. Trying to fasten your garter belt if you’re not already accustomed to wearing one is a frustrating challenge for many women. When you want to fasten a garter belt to your thigh high stockings, put on the stockings and belt separately first. Position both the stockings and the belt to a comfortable position; make sure your stockings are pulled all the way up to where you want them. Adjust the length of your garter belt straps to the length that is most comfortable for you—the straps should be about two inches longer in the back to give you room to sit down and bend over comfortably. Most garter belt straps can be adjusted in the same way as standard bra straps, so this part of the process should be relatively simple for most women.
Next, open up the plastic or metal fasteners at the bottom of the garter belt straps. Place the back piece of the fastener under your stockings, directly against your skin. Push the back piece against the fabric of your stockings and push it through the wide end of the front piece of the fastener. The fabric should be in between the fastener’s front and back pieces. Slide the back piece into the front piece’s narrow end to lock it in place. Then, just make any final adjustments to the length of the straps if needed. Putting on a garter belt definitely takes some practice, but try not to get discouraged. Women who wear grater belts regularly get the hang of it quickly and the process that was once so frustrating becomes second nature in no time.
Fortunately, garters are much easier to put on than garter belts. They are usually made from stretchy bands of fabric with no fasteners or attachments. Just place the garter around your leg above your knee and slide your socks or stockings up underneath it to hold them in place—that’s it!
There are countless different types and styles of garters and garter belts. Each style is slightly unique in its fashion and function, so every woman can find a flattering, functional garter or garter belt regardless of her body or style preferences. Check out some of the most popular garter and garter belt styles here.
Modern garter belts are usually not worn alone. Since they are most commonly worn as lingerie, they are usually paired with other sexy lingerie pieces to create a complete lingerie look. You can find garter belt sets that include a garter belt, stockings, panties, and a bra or other piece to wear on top.
If you don’t want to put the time or energy into putting together a full lingerie look with several separate pieces and accessories, invest in a garter belt set instead. These sets allow you to achieve a completely sexy, stylish lingerie look without all the work required to put it together yourself.
A garter belt corset adds a bold edge to any lingerie look. These special corsets feature garter straps that attach to socks or stockings just like the straps on a standard garter belt. The style of garter belt corsets is vintage-inspired and helps you create a daring, sexy lingerie look that’s totally one of a kind.
An added bonus of garter belt corsets is that most of them extend up over your bust, so you don’t have to worry about finding a bra or other top piece to pair with your stockings and garter belt.
If you don’t want to deal with the frustration of trying to figure out how to fasten a regular garter belt, try garter belt leggings instead. These special leggings look almost identical to regular garter belts, but they are much easier to put on and more comfortable to wear.
Instead of garter straps that attach to stockings, garter belt leggings are crafted from one piece of material that you slip on like leggings. To create the look of a traditional garter belt with straps, these leggings include thin strips of material that connect the waistband of the leggings to the stocking-like material that extends up to your mid-thigh. They look virtually indistinguishable from a two-piece garter belt and stockings set, but they’re much more convenient to wear.
High waisted garter belts rise up higher than standard garter belts. Most high waisted styles rest around the middle of your waist, at or just below your belly button.
These garter belts give your midsection a smooth finish and conceal any imperfections around your tummy, waist, and hips. Their high waisted design enhances your curves and creates a flattering finish when paired with a bra or other sexy lingerie piece on top.
Garter belts are not designed for a specific figure. Women of any body type, shape, and size can rock a garter belt as part of a sexy lingerie look.
Plus size garter belts accommodate a wider range of sizes, including women with curvier bodies. These garter belts come in extended sizes and effortlessly flatter the figures of women of all shapes and sizes.
The vast majority of garter belts are crafted from lace. Stretch lace is the most common material for garter belts. It’s comfortable and offers a secure, flattering fit that effortlessly accentuates your curves. Plus, stretch lace material is semi-sheer and shows off a peek of your bare skin underneath for an ultra-sexy, feminine finish.
Other popular materials for garter belts include silk and satin. These materials are completely opaque and offer slightly more coverage than semi-sheer stretch lace.
Garter skirts put a sexy, ultra-feminine twist on the classic garter belt. They feature garter straps and fasteners just like garter belts, but their material extends down to your upper thigh like a mini skirt.
Like most garter belts, garter skirts are commonly crafted from sexy stretch lace, silk, or satin. They offer slightly more coverage than garter belts and add a delicate, feminine finishing touch to any lingerie look.
For many women who choose to get a garter permanently inked into their skin, a garter tattoo represents femininity, sexuality, desirability, and self-confidence. Garter tattoos are a one-of-a-kind way to express yourself and help you feel sexier and more confident every single day. Plus, these tattoos are usually placed around your upper thigh, where they stay hidden most of the time. This concealment only adds to their seductive nature; a garter tattoo doubles as an instant turn-on for anyone who gets to see it.
If wearing lingerie has a significant effect on your self-confidence, consider pulling the trigger on a garter tattoo to act as a subtle, constant reminder to yourself of just how beautiful and sexy you really are. Garter tattoos are virtually permanent lingerie and allow you to reap the benefits of wearing lingerie all the time—not just on the occasional sexy night in the bedroom.
For centuries, brides have worn a garter hidden underneath their wedding dresses— usually fastened around their thigh—to be ceremoniously removed during the reception by the groom and subsequently tossed into the crowd of eager guests.
Traditional wedding garters are decorative and ornate. They are usually white—the classic bridal color—to match the bride’s wedding dress and adorned with lace, bows, and other delicate, feminine detailing. Today, many brides even go so far as to weartwogarters: one to have for themselves as a keepsake from their wedding and one to give to a lucky guest during the garter toss.
The practice of brides wearing garters to be publicly removed by their husband and tossed into a cheering crowd of guests is widely accepted as a fun wedding tradition. In fact, the wedding garter toss tradition is an expected part of most modern wedding receptions.
The wedding garter toss tradition has been so widely normalized and passed down through so many generations that most couples incorporate it into their wedding celebration without really thinking about why they’re actually doing it. Few people have bothered to keep track of what the wedding garter really means or why newly wedded couples started incorporating the garter toss tradition into their wedding ceremonies many centuries ago.
There are actually multiple conflicting accounts of the origin of the wedding garter tradition. One of the most popular origin stories of this tradition revolves around an ancient superstition. Centuries ago, wedding dresses were thought to be tokens of good luck. It was therefore common for guests at weddings to reach out to the bride and try to rip or cut off pieces of her dress in an attempt to take this good fortune for themselves. Understandably, neither brides nor grooms appreciated these invasive disruptions at their wedding ceremonies.
To solve the problem, brides started wearing a garter that matched their wedding dress but was not attached to it. After the wedding ceremony, the groom would then remove the garter from his new wife’s leg and toss it into the crowd for a guest to catch and keep. This new practice protected the bride and preserved her wedding dress while still allowing the newlyweds to pass on good fortune to their guests by giving out a piece of the bride’s attire. At modern weddings, this garter toss tradition has evolved slightly; many grooms choose to show off and remove his bride’s garter with his teeth instead of his hands.
The guests who clamor for possession are also now usually exclusively unmarried men. The idea that good fortune gets passed on to whomever catches the bride’s garter has also shifted to refer specifically to the ‘luck’ of finding love. The single man who catches a bride’s garter is supposed to be the first of the crowd to find love and get married himself. This concept parallels the tradition of brides tossing their bouquet behind them into a crowd of single female guests.
Another common origin story of the garter belt toss tradition is slightly more strange. This story recounts that bridal garters were used as proof that the newly married couple had successfully consummated—and therefore validated—their marriage. Some select friends or family members were chosen to accompany the newlyweds into a room to act as witnesses to the consummation of their marriage. These witnesses then emerged with the bride’s garter, which served as tangible evidence that the new marriage had been consummated. Of course, there are usually no witnesses when modern newlywed couples consummate their marriage. Instead, the bride’s garter is relinquished to guests during the wedding reception and is generally thought to represent a boost of good fortune—rather than a symbol of consummation—for whichever guest catches it.
Although it is now impossible to be sure of the exact origins of the wedding garter tradition, it is surely deeply rooted in old beliefs, values and superstitions. Regardless of how garters came to be an integral part of wedding ceremonies, the garter toss tradition is a sexy, fun way to help you and your new spouse share your love and good fortune with your treasured guests who are there to celebrate your happiness.
Whether or not you play into the idea of ancient superstitions and age-old traditions, wearing a garter underneath your wedding dress on your big day adds an extra level of alluring sensuality to your bridal look.
Play up the bridal vibe of your garter with a style that captures the essence of traditional wedding garters. Choose a classy white, lacy garter—ideally one that matches or complements your wedding dress. If you want to set yourself apart from the purity and innocence of classic wedding garters, go for a more modern black or red garter that makes a bolder seductive statement.
Wearing a garter belt under your wedding dress is not always practical. Garter belts and the fasteners and stockings attached to them are not compatible with most wedding dress styles. If your wedding dress is form-fitting or not floor-length, it will likely be difficult for you to find a dress that doesn’t show visible lines if you try to wear a garter belt set underneath it.
While you might not be able to rock a garter belt during your wedding ceremony, you can certainly incorporate a garter belt into your wedding night lingerie to create a bold, sexy look for your night to remember. A garter belt and stocking set pairs well with many different lingerie pieces, including a bra, sexy cropped babydoll, corset top, etc. Get creative with your lingerie to create the wedding night look that best fits your own personal style preferences and makes you feel as sexy and confident as possible.
If you want your wedding night lingerie to be especially memorable, pick out a white, lacy garter belt and stockings that match the style of your wedding dress to remind your new spouse of how beautiful you looked in your dress and how lucky he is to spend the rest of his life with you by his side. You can find bridal garter sets that include a garter in addition to a garter belt and stockings, so your wedding night lingerie can match the garter you wear underneath your wedding dress.