History Of Suspender Belts

You might be surprised to learn that suspender belts have been around for a very long time, the history of suspender belts is fascinating. Admittedly, back in the mists of time they were practical rather than sexy – but we all have to start somewhere!

These days suspender belts are worn as an extra accessory to a sexy outfit that helps stockings stay in place. It takes away the need for any awkward adjustments and they also look pretty too. Sitting on or just below your hips, they flatter your waistline and are also practical so it’s most definitely a win-win here.

Join us as we explore the timeline of suspender belts and look at how they’ve changed over the years.

When Were Suspender Belts First Worn?

Quite astonishingly, we can see evidence of some form of suspender belts and garters back in the 1800s. In fact, the NHS were hugely in favour of suspender belts because they were less restrictive than garters. Back then, women were urged to use suspender belts together with their corsets.

Stockings themselves became fashionable in France in the 1700s – by men first. Albert Thurston, a British fashion designer, was the first known person to design suspenders. These suspenders were basically ribbons that were buttoned on. However, back then pants were too high-waisted to allow for belts. Suspenders, like belts, evolved over the years and buttons were replaced by clips.

History Of Suspender Belts – A Timeline

The history of suspender belts is surprisingly long, starting in the 1800’s all the way through to modern times. Here’s a complete history of this sexy lingerie classic.

1800s – Practical and Subtle

Suspender belts and garters were used for practical reasons by both men and women for holding up their stockings. These belts were never on display, worn subtlety under layers of clothing.

1930s – Girdles Became A Thing

The 1930s saw the invention of the girdle which actually evolved quite quickly. Girdles started as a full-body set consisting of a bra, skirt, and garter straps on one piece of lingerie. The girdle was an important milestone in women’s lingerie as it marked the start of making comfort more of a priority.

1940s – Girdles Became Belts

This era saw waist girdles that took on the appearance of what we know as suspender belts. Much like the full-body girdle did, the waist one flattered the woman’s figure whilst also doing a job.

1960s – Stockings A Must

During the 40s, 50s, and 60s, stockings were a requirement so these girdles very much kept evolving. The design and material kept evolving during this time and they were still very functional over anything risqué-orientated.

1970s – Step Aside Girdles

The 1970s and beyond saw girdles being left behind in favour of garter belts. It was during this time that saw them become more of a fashionable accessory now that stockings could stay up on their own. Stockings too had evolved over time and often had a thicker top to them. It was during this era when they emerged as sexy and were shown off. This coincided with hemlines getting shorter and shorter.

Today – Spoilt For Choice

Allure Kitten Black Lace Zip-Up Suspender Skirt
Allure Kitten Black Lace Zip-Up Suspender Skirt by Lovehoney

With an abundance of styles and fabrics to choose from, suspender belts are adored by many women today. Options are not limited like they once were and you can take your pick from materials including; wet-look, PVC, lace, sheer, and satin.

Coming in a much wider variety of styles too, makes choosing one so much more fun. Suspender skirts have become increasingly popular now, as have suspender tights. We can thank history and their strict criteria regarding drawers, stockings, and corsets because without them we wouldn’t have the choices we have today.

The Garter Tradition

Before belts became a thing, garters were worn around each leg to keep stockings held up. These were commonly used by both men and women. These days, garters are traditionally worn for special occasions – the main one being your wedding day.

This Western tradition dates back centuries where the Groom removes the garter with his teeth and throws it in the crowd with the aim of a bachelor catching it. This is very similar to the bouquet toss, although no teeth are required here! It is said that whoever catches the bouquet gets the garter put on them by the lucky bachelor who caught it.

The tradition follows that whoever catches the flowers and the garter shall be the next two people to tie the knot. However, the origins of this tradition are somewhat more menacing. Wedding garters were a symbol of luck and guests in the olden days could be very feisty trying to rip off the garter and claim it as theirs. It’s believed this was why they were thrown at the first opportunity to avoid any fighting!

The tossing of the bouquet has stayed a firm tradition nowadays but the garter is usually left on to be enjoyed on the wedding night (teeth may still be used)!  It’s often also worn as the “something blue” option on the big day.

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