Guide to wearing suspenders

Updated April 17, 2017

Suspender designs of generations past were attached to corsets and more substantial items of underwear, so they didn't cut into your waist and stockings didn't drift downwards. Anyone who remembers the lingerie of the 1960s onwards, however, remembers how painful, uncomfortable and impractical stockings and suspenders could be, particularly when worn all day. All that has changed, and lingerie today offers a broad range to suit all shapes and sizes.

Stockings and suspenders

Stockings and suspenders are big business, according to Debenhams in a 2010 article on the This Is Money website. The 21st century gives everyone the chance to choose between a wide range of suspender belt designs, including corsets that accentuate a curvy woman's voluptuousness and add that little zing with attached suspenders. Make sure that the stockings you buy are long enough in the leg not to end up pulling at your suspenders, or that the suspenders are extendable to accommodate differences in stocking length.

Matching your body shape

If you have a full, womanly shape, you're not going to enjoy wearing a tiny suspender belt all day, as the fabric will cut into your skin. You might prefer to buy a corset or one of the elegant half corsets that have suspenders attached. Equally, if you are very slender, you might suit a narrower belt, and feel too constrained by a figure-hugging corset that flattens you.

Suspender accessories

Suspender buttons sometimes detach, so keep a couple of spares handy. A set of instructions is usually attached to show you how to take off the old strap and fit in the new one. You can also buy a suspender belt extender if you sometimes find the waist a little tight. This gives you a little extra space during those times of the month when your waist size increases a little.

Hold ups

You might consider wearing hold ups if you don't like the feeling of your stockings dragging downwards and pulling at the suspender belt. That way you can still enjoy the feeling of wearing stockings and be comfortable. This might be a good option if you prefer to wear flimsier belts without the discomfort that all-day wear can give when wearing one with ordinary stockings.

Suspender straps

The range of suspender belts goes from four- to 15-strap versions, and includes pull-on versions with tummy-hugging panels or single-layer options as well as belts with hooks. The Legs 11 Hosiery website suggests that you use a belt with at least eight suspender straps for non-stretch stockings to give you extra support and reassurance, whereas with stretch stockings, you can use fewer suspenders and keep the straps tighter.

Attaching the suspenders

The best way to attach the suspenders to the welt, or top, of the stocking, is to clip the back of the stocking first and make the straps slightly longer than those at the front. The Wedding Chaos website suggests that by extending the back suspenders, you give yourself some flexibility when you bend or sit down, and you will have a perfectly aligned stocking with no awkward twists.

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About the Author

Veronica James has been writing since 1985. Her first career was as a specialty-trained theater sister responsible for running routine and emergency operating theaters, as well as teaching medical/nursing students. James's creative and commercial writing has appeared online, in print and on BBC radio. She graduated with an honors Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of North London.