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The wonder of long socks is that they extend the life of a skirt—cozy thigh highs mean you can keep wearing some of your favourite pieces as the weather gets colder. But not all garter belts (also called suspender belts) are created equal, and some just don’t have the staying power to keep a hold on thick socks.
The bit that holds on to the stocking is technically called the garter, though we tend to call them “garter clips” more often than not. They come in basically two types, loop-and-button or suspender. The loop-and-button garter is the classic type more traditionally associated with garter belts. Suspender clips are called that because they’re the type of clip you see on modern suspenders, with little teeth to get a good grip on whatever they’re biting down on.
On average, suspender clips can hold more and better than traditional garter clips. They clamp down fiercely on even the thickest socks. That’s why our Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt has them and why we offer sock garters with that style of garter clip. They’re all-purpose and a good way for a person to start trying types of garters. They hold everything! And though they have little teeth, they still do well with thinner styles of stockings, though very delicate styles aren’t advised, because nothing is sadder than a laddered stocking.
However, the loop-and-button style is best for delicate nylons. And for the more flimsy garter clips, thin stockings are as much as they can hold. But how can you tell if a garter clip of any kind is going to have the holding power you need for your socks and stockings? Well, I’ve rounded up all the clips of the various garter belts we sell and after the jump we’ll go through them, from lightest to strongest!
We carry a couple kinds of garter belts from Leg Avenue. They have two variations on the most basic garter clip, one with a ribbon tacked on with a couple of stitches to hide the clip and one without.
With a wire loop and flexible plastic for the button, they’re the lightest weight garter belts we carry. They do wonderfully with thin nylons, fishnet and other delicate stockings. Comparatively inexpensive, they’re great for costumes and trying out garter belts for the first time.
Next up are the Escante garter belts. They’re also a lighter-weight garter clip, but the loop is solid plastic, which is a great option for folks allergic to nickel.
Thin cotton stockings can be worn with these, though thick socky-socks are still too thick.
The Rago garters have fantastic clips, they’re the almost the strongest traditional garter clips we have, paired with some of the fanciest garter belts and cinchers. They’re strong metal wire, with the flexible button firmly attached to the clip instead of hooked on like the Escante and Leg Avenue garter clips.
Medium-weight stockings and socks pair well with these garter clips. Thicker styles like the Long Cuffable Scrunchables do just fine, but styles with thick cuffs, like the Dreamer Socks, are a bit too thick, since the welted cuff is double the thickness of the sock.
The absolute sturdiest traditional garter clips are those on the Industrial Garter Belt. This style is made for hockey players, to hold up their thick socks and keep them up while playing. Big, strong loops and sturdy flexible plastic will hold most socks. The only thing to remember is that the vinyl tab with the button isn’t permanently secured. We don’t have spares, sadly, so make sure when you take your garter belt off for the day that the vinyl tab is secured snugly.
Using a traditional garter clip might take a little practice, the sock needs to be stretched over the button and the metal loop popped over it and then the narrower part of the loop snugged up, holding the sock in.
Next, with the thicker Long Cuffable Scrunchables:
And it looks like they even hold the Ribbed M stockings! Remember, traditional garter clips do best with single-thickness cuffs, apparently even with thick ribbed styles like these.
What kind of garter clip do you like most? Do you have one all-around garter belt or several styles for all your socks and stockings?
21 soxy thoughts:
Thank you so much for showing a fantastic Plus Size booty! Those of us with extra junk need these reminders that we are beautiful too!
@JessieB—Of course! It’s probably one of my favourite garter belt shots. Garter belts can be a um, butt to shoot.
My thigh-highs are all the thicker socks and the suspender clips have always seemed to work best for those. For some reason, the loop-and-button ones seem more likely to put a hole in the sock, although there is probably no good reason for me to think so.
And I’d like to second the gratitude for your lovely plus-size wares. 🙂
[Sigh. By ‘wares’ I meant socks in the store. When I re-read for better comprehension, I realized that JessieB was talking about models…]
this is really helpful! i love the look of garter belts, and i was a little unsure of where to start with actual belts(besides those pretty flimsy ones). thanks for the post!
@Theora23—Ha! And thank you for the gratitude. I prefer the suspender clips too, but I am really starting to love the Rago garter clips after these tests.
@Rowan—Glad to help! I’m kind of a sock nerd and it was fun to write this post.
I also wanted to add that I love the fact that you guys post photos of *real* women wearing your stuff instead of super models that nobody actually looks like! I only have one garter belt–a fairly cheap costume thing–and like Theora, I also fear the loop and buttons ones leaving a hole in my beloved socks. So much so, in fact, that I’ve sewn loops of twill tape or sturdy ribbon to the tops of my thigh high socks for the button to loop around. In this fashion, my cheapy garter is capable of supporting my thick wool socks! That being said, I’d still love to get a really nice garter. And after seeing this, I’m leaning toward the suspender clips.
I constantly sing the praises of you guys’ stuff to everyone I know.
I own the industrial strength garter also. For the most part, I LOVE it. On the other hand…
the plastic garter clip tends to pinch into my poor thighs after about an hour of wear. Sometimes not even an hour. I have enzema, and the heat generated from all my petticoats and skirts, combined with the rubbing of the plastic garter clip… can send me running to the next private place to adjust. It is very irritating and very distracting.
I am hoping that if I get the suspender clips this will not be an issue. But I am not sure. The plastic garter clip industrial garterbelt has served me decently for close to a year now.
Overall, you guys are always on the mark.
@Nadine—Aw, thank you! We rely pretty heavily on word of mouth and it’s always great to hear that folks dig us. 🙂
Regarding the garter clips, you’ll probably do much better with the Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt, the smooth metal is much kinder to sensitive skin. Though, if you’re allergic to nickel it might not be for the best.
Y’know, I think, with the way the vinyl part slides into the clip on the Industrial Garter Belt, it would be pretty easy to make a little sleeve of old t-shirt material for it, like a garter clip cozy! I’ll give it a try this weekend and post the results here!
I am relieved to hear that the suspender clip industrial strength garter will work. I do not believe I am allergic to nickle. So, this is good. I am concerned the suspender clips will not hold as I do alot of moving around. But I guess I may just take the plunge.
The thinnest stockings I own are the b/w stipped heart leg avenue THs. I own many Foot Traffic (they just feel great and can be doubled for extra warmth) THs and hope that the suspender clips won’t tear them. The shortest stocking I own is in your “Victoriana” collection and it sits about 3-4″ above my knee.
On the clip-cozy idea:
I have done a simular thing with four trianglular shaped cotten scraps. It does the trick but, the fabric peices don’t stay on once I have taken off my garter. It is a pain to try to find the loose peices again, and then having to replace them regularly once they have gone missing. I could just sew them on… hmmm…
@Nadine—Oh, you should be fine with the Striped Thigh High with Heart Tops, they’re a pretty sturdy nylon/polyester blend.
And not quite related, but I’m linking a response to a great question on our Facebook here, so other folks with similar questions can find the info. Information on replacing garter clips for Rago garter belts. Replacing just the garter clips can be tricky with a lot of styles, but if you have a garter belt, like the Rago Cincher, that has removable garter straps, the search term you’ll want to use is “suspenders” and “garter suspenders” to find replacements.
I actually bought some regular suspender clips and replaced the traditional garter clips from my escante garter belt with them. I was getting frustrated with not being able to get most of my socks through the teeny garter on them, and I’m happy to say that the suspender style clips hold up everything from thin fishnets, to thick bulky socks with ease.
Thank you very much for that information. You addressed one of my most interested co9ncerns. I will get the suspender clips now and see how they fair for me.
Thanks a lot for this article as I find it quite informative. I have at least twenty different garter belts and use them every day, without exception, to hold up my stockings or thick, long socks. I have used only the traditional metal loop and button garter clips and they have worked well, but will give the suspender clips a try as they seem as if easier to fasten to socks. Don’t even mention those flimsy traditional plastic loop and button clips. They break easily, have absolutely no holding power and have had a habit of breaking or just popping off my stockings at the most embarrassing times and places.
@Terri, I’ve grown to be a big fan of the suspender clip style garter clips, they’re so versatile! They’re not the best for super delicate stockings, but I’ve got a nice Rago garter for those.
I think I will very soon give the suspender clips a try! I have quite an assortment of garter belts. Most are leather and are six, eight or ten straps. More straps, more secure stockings or socks. I actually discovered the wearing of socks by accident. While shopping in NY City with my husband this winter I was wearing a skirt, stockings ang garter belt. My legs were cold and, while walking, we passed a store that sold thick, long socks. I bought them, put them on, and loved them ever since. I will admit, though, that it was tough to secure the traditional loop and button fastener garter clips to the socks and that they repeatedly popped off while walking. I will definitely try the suspender clips.
Is there such a thing as a garter strap with garter clips at each end?
That way you can clip for instance fishnet stockings to a fishnet shirt and forego a belt.
@Kww, you mean longer than our Double Grip Clips? You’re not the first person to ask, and we have considered making them, but we still aren’t sure if we will yet.
I purchased the Industrial Garter Belt. It is industrial allright, but I have a couple of comments. The waist band is too narrow; a three inch band would be much better. And the tabs are a real pain. Hard to understand why hockey players haven’t forced a change so that the tabs don’t fall out all the time.
@angieallan, we’re sorry you’ve had problems with the Industrial Garter Belt. The traditional button-and-loop garter clip doesn’t handle thick socks well, particularly if the socks are pulled up to or past their maximum height stretch. We made the Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt to hold thicker socks more securely. The width of the Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt is the same as the Industrial Garter Belt, however.