We already know the problems.
Tights are annoying. They roll up, dig in, run, rip, sweat and stretch.
They're awkward to adjust in public, and it can be frustrating trying to find the right length for your size. If they don't squeeze around the thigh, they sag around the knee. . . or crotch. . . or both.
But for us skirt wearers, tights are necessary for keeping warm and
wearing shoes when we aren't going for the skirt and sock aesthetic.
The solution I found came simply from wearing the undergarments that was designed for the dresses I wear - most of which are straight out of the 50s.
It's a good old, classic garter belt and stockings.
For me, this solved all the problems.
It was cheaper, more comfortable, more fun and it made shopping a LOT easier. Plus it made me feel like a diva.
First and most important is to get a comfortable garter belt that's right for your body and the look you want.
I wanted a very smooth, lightweight and breathable garter belt that I could wear under any skirt, no matter how floaty or see-through. Something like this
At the end, I'll tell you all the details of what I think makes a good garter belt. For now, let me tell you what makes garter belts so great to wear.
With a garter belt, you aren't limited to buying just stockings.
You can buy ANY pair of tights that you like, and just . . . cut the legs off . . .
no sewing required.
And since you don't have to worry about the waistband or length, it doesn't even matter if the tights are exactly your size.
Tights become much more cost-effective when you wear them as cut-off stockings, because if one leg wears out before the other, you don't have to throw them both away.
Garter belts are completely size adjustable.
They fasten with hooks, just like a bra, so you can loosen or tighten them depending on how your body is feeling that day.
They also leave the sweatiest part of your body free to breathe, which is great in the summer, and every time you have your "time of the month".
It's SO much easier to go to the bathroom.
With nothing but the suspenders along the sides of your legs, whatever point your stockings attach to your garter belt is how much room you have to pull down your panties.
No more wrestling with control top tights and then trying to pull them back up without making a run.
With a garter belt, stockings last MUCH longer.
The stocking doesn't have to deal with the friction of walking and rubbing between the thighs, so they are under less stress, and simply don't wear out as fast.
You also don't have to worry about the stocking stretching out or bagging, since you can simply tighten up the fastening until you decide to get new stockings.
When it gets cold out, you can easily wear two layers of stockings without any additional pressure or thickness around your belly,
And if you want to get creative - it's easy to mix and match!
What makes a good garter belt
We're really looking at just a few important factors.
1 - Is it comfortable?
2 - Does it stay in place and do its job?
3 - Do you like the way it looks?
Strip of elastic around the waist
I find these to be more decorative than supportive.
Unless the stockings are able to stay up on their own, this style of belt will sag over the course of the day.
This is because the only support is coming from the tightness of the waistband, rather than any kind of fit or shaping.
Elastic support around the hips
This style is great for daily wear. They are comfortable, practical and effective.
Support comes from the fit of the garter belt around the hips, rather than simply from tightness around the waist.
This also allows the material to be thinner and more delicate, making it almost invisible under the clothing.
While satin style garter belts provide great coverage and a smooth line, I find them slightly sweaty,
My preference is for super lightweight, smooth lace or mesh.
Control-top support around the midriff and thighs
These are great if you're going for a very smooth look or wearing a pencil skirt.
They're a bit more 'present' than I like, since I prefer to forget about the garter belt altogether, but they certainly provide more support around the waist, without constricting annoyingly around the crotch.