What are prom garters?

Written by kylie keeler
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What are prom garters?
(Photo by Photos o' Randomness, Creative Commons License Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

Like prom dresses and flower corsages, prom garters have recently become a staple of the U.S. prom tradition. Worn around the leg of most girls attending prom, these garters can be specially made to match a girl's dress or school colours.

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Purpose

Much like a bride's garter, a prom garter is worn around the leg of a girl attending prom. The garter is traditionally worn on the right leg just above the knee. The girl may choose to give her garter to her date, removing it herself, as a souvenir of the night. Some schools hold a "garter dance" in which a girl removes her garter, throws it to an awaiting group of guys and dances with the one who catches the garter.

Types

Generally, a prom garter is made to match the colour of the girl's dress. However, some girls choose to have the garter made in their favourite colour, their date's favourite colour or their school colours.

Function

Although it's a relatively newer tradition, girls usually show off their garter when taking the traditional prom photo. The girl raises her skirt just above her knee to reveal the garter for the camera. Later, if a girl chooses to give her garter to her date, he might wear the garter around his arm. However, this tradition is left to the discretion of the girl. Some girls choose to keep the garter as a token of their prom night.

Features

The most popular choice for a prom garter's material is lace with a matching silk centre. However, the garter can also be made entirely of silk or from the same fabric as the girl's dress. Charms are sometimes added to the centre of the garter.

Misconceptions

Unlike a bride's garter, the prom garter is meant to be removed by the girl herself. Typically, the first time a girl's prom date should come in contact with the prom garter is when she gives it to him to wear on his arm.

Criticisms

The relatively new tradition of prom garters has come under fire by those who speculate that the symbolism of the garter is inherently sexual. In 1997, the Cass City, Michigan school board called for the end of the "garter dance" ceremony that had "got out of hand" the previous year. Although students attempted to repeal the decision, the ban stood in effect.

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