Garter Belts, Panties, Donning and Doffing
Now that we’ve talked about fully fashioned back seamed stockings in Part 1, it’s time to talk about garters and garter belts. Your authentic stockings should be made from 100% non-stretch nylon which means they have no elasticity. So you’ll also need to wear something to hold them up, otherwise they will slide right down. Garters and garter belts are the solution.
There is what seems like an endless variety of garter belts to choose from, but most are not substantial enough to wear outside the bedroom. The belt should be made from a sturdy material with minimal stretch. And the garter grips should be made from metal—not plastic. A quality belt will have satin ribbons covering the grips to create a smooth surface beneath clothing.
Choose a belt with at least six garters (three on each side) as just four can still give the sensation that your stockings are falling. For an even more secure fit try eight. Vintage inspired belts are the best if for no other reason than they are made to be paired with vintage non-stretch nylons.
You want the belt to fit snugly around the smallest part of your waist. That way it has a minimal chance of sliding down your hips. The shape it creates at the waist is not only unmistakably mid-century, enhancing the romantic curves of a woman’s body—but is also designed for practicality.
The belt should have at least three rows of hooks and eyes—like the back of a bra—to aid in the ability to take in the waist as it stretches. For the best fit and longevity, it should fit very snugly on the loosest hook. That way as it stretches it can be taken in to the next hook and so on. (This is also how bras are constructed.)
As for the width of the belt from the waist to hips (not including the garters), it can vary from hitting the top of the hip to all the way down to the hip joint. Make sure you are able to sit down in your garter belt comfortably at the hip joint.
Girdles with Garters
I suggest ditching the longer girdles and more cumbersome panty girdles with garters attached. They can make intimacy challenging as well as using the loo. There’s nothing worse than fighting with your stockings and girdle in the toilet—or in the bedroom. I prefer the narrower width style of garter belt for both of these reasons.
For most efficient ease of access, put your panties on last over your stockings and belt. This is the opposite of how the look is portrayed in print, but the purpose of wearing expensive stockings is to leave them on! They create an unforgettable visual. And it’s terribly unsexy to be wrestling with your panties from underneath a garter belt. An even better alternative is to pair your belt with panties that tie on each side or have an open crotch. Then you can wear them over or under the belt as long as the important features are accessible. Let your creativity guide you.
As a sensualist, garter belts present a certain problem for me. As much as I love the feel of non-stretch nylon against my skin, I don’t enjoy prolonged compression around my waist and hips. But the belt has to be tight in order to keep the stockings up. I compensate for this by being mindful of what I eat and drink. There won’t be any large dinners or drinks with bubbles consumed for me. There’s certainly a time and a place for that. And it’s not when you’re wearing your industrial strength garter belt.
The sensation of wearing such substantial undergarments can take a while to get used to and may be eased into over time. Why not begin by wearing them for an early evening or just for an afternoon? It may be a matter of finding the right style and brand of belt. But if discomfort persists, you will love the freedom of Hold Ups which are discussed here in Part 3.
Donning and Doffing Fully Fashioned Stockings
To don—or to put on—your stockings the first thing is to make sure that your finger nails and toe nails are filed smooth. Nylon stockings are fragile, and it’s terrible to snag them right out of the gate. A luxurious and authentic way to put on stockings is to give yourself a manicure first. It enhances the glamour of the whole experience. After your nails are filed, put on your garter belt and make sure you have a full length mirror nearby.
Gently take your stockings out of the packaging and marvel for a moment at their exquisite construction. Lay them on a bed or soft surface. Keep pets out of the room when you do this! Insert your arm into a stocking all the way down to the toe. Doesn’t that feel nice? Keeping the seam straight along the back of your arm, hook the thumb of your other hand into the weft. Slide the top of the stocking down to your fingers.
You should be left with the whole stocking bunched around your hand. Have a seat and hold the center of the bunch open with your thumbs. Gently slide your toes into the stocking as far as they will go. Then pull the heel design up around your heel. It should cup it perfectly. Keeping the seam straight along the back of your leg, slide the stocking all the way up the thigh until it’s nice and taught.
Now go to the mirror and take a look at the back of your leg. Is the seam straight? If it isn’t carefully adjust it until it is. Now you are ready to attach the garters.
Fastening Garter Grips
Garter clasps called grips can be tricky little things and it can take a couple of tries to get the hang of them. There are two parts to the grip. One is a metal piece with a loop, and the other piece has a rubber or latex knob.
Begin with the rear garter first. This will ensure that your seams stay straight. I like to place the rear garter grip directly above the finishing loop over the seam in the weft. When the back seam and garter are joined together it creates one glorious line up the back of the entire leg.
Place the weft of the stocking between the grip over the knob and underneath the metal loop. Then place the large hole of metal loop securely over the knob making sure the weft is between them. Insert the knob into the loop and slide the metal piece up to lock the grip in place. Attach the front garter next, and the side garter(s) last.
Voila! You have donned a stocking. Repeat the steps on the other leg.
To doff—or to take off—undo each of the garter grips on one leg. Have a seat and gently slide the stocking down into a bunch around the toes. Reach down and pick up the bunch, then pinch the toe of the stocking from underneath. Pull it upwards allowing it to un-bunch itself.
I like to store my special stockings gently folded up in individual sandwich baggies. A label can be added to denote brand and style. This method, while more practical than glamorous keeps everything organized and easy to find.
How about you? Do you have any secrets for garter belts?