Why Won't These Damn Things Stay On?
September 16, 2010 5:51 AM   Subscribe

What am I doing wrong with my garters and stockings?

I like wearing the old fashioned kinds of garter belt with the clips (plastic) with thigh-high stockings. However, they only stay clipped on for a little while before I'll bend or move too much and they'll snap off and I have to reattach them. It happens more on the back ones than the front. Why?

Here are some possibilities I thought of:

- the fabric on the stocking top is too thick for the clip
- the garters aren't long enough (I put them at the longest length)
- the garter belt and the stockings aren't meant for each other (garter belt from some store online, thigh highs from Duane Reade)
- the garter belt is super cheap and wouldn't stay clipped onto anything

Is there a special technique to gartering? Are there better ones to buy that don't have these problems? Should I try metal ones? I'm willing to spend money if there is a significant difference. Any brand or type recommendations?
posted by amicamentis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Are these stockings specifically meant to be worn with a garter belt? My thigh highs have a thick band of elastic, so maybe that's what's making the fabric thick.

It sounds like you're bending forward and the back of the garter belt rises, causing the clips to pull up and off. You'd probably need longer straps (or longer stockings), then. They might not be perfectly tight on your legs, but better that they stay on at all than having to constantly reattach them.
posted by Madamina at 6:06 AM on September 16, 2010

I have used garter clips on a sheet holder. They were metal and held pretty well.
Plastic tends to be a little more slippery, IMHO.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:09 AM on September 16, 2010

-You're normal.

-Metal ones work better in that they don't break, but not to hold onto anything.

-If you're willing to be a little ghetto-punk-rock, poking a hole in the tops of the thigh highs and threading the nobby bit of the clip through helps a lot.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:21 AM on September 16, 2010

Thigh highs and stockings are not the same thing. If they have the elastic on top (thigh highs) they aren't going to sit right in the clips (spoken from frustrated experience).
I also have better luck getting stockings that are one size bigger than I normally do.
posted by zara at 6:24 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

If they're from Duane Reade, that is likely the problem. You're going to want to get ones which are made to be worn with garters. The difference is like night n' day.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:36 AM on September 16, 2010

I hate those plastic garter belt clips. I hate them in metal, too. I made myself some garter straps and altered a garter belt to take small suspender clips that came with plastic inside the clip. (I thought suspender clips with metal teeth wouldn't work at all.)

I only wear these occasionally, so it may be that this sort of thing would eat the top of stockings if used on a regular basis, but the times I have used them it's worked well with no visible damage yet. So much more secure and easier to use than those usual things.
posted by galadriel at 6:41 AM on September 16, 2010

A Breakthrough which Changed My Life:

I used to put one suspender down the front of my leg, and one directly opposite, round the back.

THEN - I tried putting one on the front, and one round the outside.

No more snapping off, no more uncomfortable stretching. You can thank me later.
posted by greenish at 6:41 AM on September 16, 2010 [10 favorites]

My grandma's stockings had no top band; she never had snapping-off issues as far as I know. Her clips were metal, but I think it's down to the bands of the thigh-highs adding tension.
posted by SMPA at 6:47 AM on September 16, 2010

Try Victoria's Secret stockings. They're much more expensive than the ones you're buying, but they're made for use with garters and last a long time before developing runs. They're sometimes hard to find in stores, but they're the best stockings I've ever tried.
posted by mchorn at 7:04 AM on September 16, 2010

Since I just yesterday tried to buy those very same VS stockings that mchorn linked to above - they're out of stock in all but nude and none of my local stores have them at the moment - I thought I'd share the online shop [link probably NSFW] that was recommended by a friend. Give me a few days to a week and I'll be able tell you how well they hold up.
posted by alynnk at 7:19 AM on September 16, 2010

I agree with greenish re: ideal clip placement an also in that you should buy stockings with no top band. Those with very little elastic in them and without a top band are ideal for this purpose. I wore a pair from What Katie Did all during my 13 hour wedding day and never thought twice about them.

Try investing in so great stockings and a sturdy belt and placing the clip forward and at the side below your hip.
posted by Saminal at 7:21 AM on September 16, 2010

You're in New York City, so you can go to Macy's and talk to someone in the hosiery department. They sell a variety of the kind you want, which is the "very little to no elastic on the top band" variety. They also sell (or at least they did a few years ago when I lived in NYC) double-ended suspenders, which is to say a packet of four sturdy ribbon lengths that have the clips on both ends. This way, you can wear whatever type of fancy underwear you like and connect your stockings directly (bypassing the belt, which often shows under clingier clothing).
posted by tractorfeed at 7:31 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have fantastic cuban heel stockings I got at Sock Dreams. I could not recommend them more.
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:34 AM on September 16, 2010

If you are buying thigh highs with an elasticized band meant to stay up on their own, then you are buying the wrong kind, as the band will be too thick. You need to buy stockings specifically made to be used with garters.
posted by violetk at 7:35 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have to agree with bibliogrrl. The cuban heel stockings from Sock Dreams are great-for staying up with your garter belt, resisting runs in general, and resisting toe poke-age in particular (the reinforcement on the cuban heel portion). I find the seams tend to stay very straight on them as well. I've given way too much money to the Sock Dream people, but it's totally worth it.
posted by atomicstone at 8:01 AM on September 16, 2010

I've been wearing garter belt+hose for a couple of decades. I've mixed and matched expensive and cheap belts and stockings with no problems, so it's unlikely that the mismatch is causing your problem

N-thing 'the wrong stockings'. You don't want what are called "thigh-highs" or "stay-ups". You want stockings. Thigh-high hose won't stay in garters (as you have found), because the top is heavily elasticized, and many of them have sticky silicone on the inside. Also n-thing the front+side placement of the garters.
posted by jlkr at 8:25 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Question for the front + side people: Wouldn't the twisting of the back strap to clip to the side create a readily-apparent line in a tight skirt (because it would no longer lay flat)?
posted by desjardins at 8:45 AM on September 16, 2010

Agreeing with the back strap placement. If the front strap is 12 o'clock, the back strap should be something like 7:30 for your left leg and 4:30 for your right.

It might also help, when you're putting them on, to adjust the back straps while you're sitting down.

If you're using stockings designed to be used with garter belts (instead of the rubbery-lined thigh highs), could you be clipping too much of the stocking fabric in?
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:34 AM on September 16, 2010

I totally recommend metal clips - much more secure. The holy grail for me would be metal clips and more than 4 garters. I've seen styles with 6 and even 8 and they're gorgeous. They're also more expensive, so I try to get vintage whenever possible.

It also sounds like you need longer stockings. (On that note, anyone know where I can get shorter stockings? I adore cuban heel, but not when it goes halfway up my legs)

I don't think you necessarily have to buy hose & garter together, just get good quality and it should work.

..........I really need to go shopping.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:17 AM on September 16, 2010

Nthing the wrong stockings and that you need the kind without elastic on top.

Also, when I wore garter belts and stockings regularly, I learned that the quality of my garter belt made a huge difference to how reliable the clips were. Sturdy clip build is key. I'd suggest some careful review reading if you are buying on line.

desjardins, I didn't wear skin tight skirts in thin materials when using garter belts because any garter belt will show through at the clip. You're fine, though with any garter position with slightly thicker skirt materials or slightly looser skirt cuts.
posted by bearwife at 10:23 AM on September 16, 2010

Yeah you need stockings, not thigh highs. And the rear garter is under tremendous stress as the garter has to stretch like crazy if bend over or sit down. Try stockingirl.com for some excellent choices.
posted by chairface at 3:01 PM on September 16, 2010

Response by poster: What wonderful answers! Thanks, guys. I had no idea about the difference between 'thigh-highs' and 'stockings'. I will definitely start looking for different clips and moving the back one over. AskMe is the greatest.
posted by amicamentis at 8:55 AM on September 21, 2010

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