A friend of ours recently shared this nice little video on how to put on a garter belt. It's a simple, straight-forward demo on selecting and putting on this classic garment, but give it a look and see if you think it's lacking one important tip that might make wearing a garter belt a bit easier. Well? Did this video tell you everything you need to know about wearing a garter belt? Or are you, like us, still wondering about one little detail? Here's what we wanna know: How do you clasp the garter straps around back onto your stockings without breaking your back or falling on the floor?!! Not so sexy when that happens!
Want to create your own burlesque outfit featuring a fabulous garter? Here are a few to try:
This is a perfect start to an exciting Burlesque outfit. With nude colors, hair and makeup can really stand out. The long garters are perfect for any shape or size.
This exciting electric blue garter set adds a distinct color theme that would be great paired with a bright pink or a subdued nude.
A hot red number really rounds out a perfect collection of garter sets for your burlesque wardrobe.
Maybe it's because we're nostalgic romantics at Kuhmillion Lingerie, but we love to flip through fashion books about different eras. And since lingerie is our business, we often reference one of our favorite little illustrated gems, 1000 Dessous, A History of Lingeriepublished by Taschen. You can find it in any major bookstore or online and will be amazed at what you didn't know about lingerie from the past. To give you a little taste, we'll take you through a few eras and illustrate some of the big trends from the history of lingerie.
The thing that we must always remind ourselves, is that (western) culture and fashion is always steadily changing and sometimes big seismic changes happen suddenly. Often it is only when we look back that we identify iconic images and fashion that seem to define an entire era.
Lingerie is just a small part of fashion, which is itself just one part of the culture of any given time. It's like looking through a small window and seeing little hints of what everyone wore at the time. People were just as varied then as they are today, with very conservative men and women as well as counter-cultural rebels throughout society. 1000 Dessous is really great at illustrating the variety of lingerie styles from each era.
There's a lot more!
We have to admit that selecting new hosiery styles for the shop is pretty exciting. But we realize that many of you may not be as familiar with some of the hosiery terminology used, so I wanted to mention some of the most common terms and provide a quick explanation.
Pretty much all hosiery is knitted on specialized machines. Some specialty manufacturers still produce new stockings on vintage machines from the 1940s. The millions of different styles and textures you see today all come about by the incredible variety of yarns now available to manufacturers. By altering and mixing different thread weights, types and colors, hosiery manufacturers can do some amazing things.
Denier is simply the word used to describe how sheer or thin the hosiery is. Stockings, pantyhose and tights are knitted with a certain thread weight and weave which will affect how opaque the item is. The lower the denier number, the more sheer the hosiery will be.
Stocking vs Thigh High
The simplest difference is that stockings require garters to hold them up (left photo above), whereas thigh highs have some sort of elastic or silicone bands on the inside of the welt to help hold them up (right photo above).
The Welt is the band of contrasting fabric along the top of the stocking. This is usually doubled over knit fabric that is sewn to the main stocking and primarily provides strength to accommodate garters. It also creates a little visual interest where the stocking fabric changes.
A Cuban Heel stocking (shown at left) is one which has a reinforced heel (again a doubled knit strip) that extends up, out of the wearer's shoe to the back, mid ankle.
Reinforced Heel Toe
A Reinforced Heel Toe (RHT) stocking is one which has the doubled knit fabric on both the heel and across all of the toes. The heel does not necessarily have to be the Cuban style and there are many RHT stockings which are completely obscured when wearing shoes.
A "fully fashioned" stocking is definitely something that most people will never come across anymore unless they're into retro and classic lingerie. These are typically nylon or silk and do not contain stretchy yarns like spandex to accommodate stretching over the leg. Instead they are cut out in halves that are visibly shaped like a leg and sewn together, resulting in that super-luxurious back seam. Fully fashioned stockings were the norm back in the 1950s, but today, they are quite the specialty. Our favorite place to buy fully fashioned stockings is Secrets in Lace.
For more detailed info about hosiery, check out our article on the history of stockings in The Study.
All of our corsets come already laced up, but you may need to remove the lacing from time to time to wash your corset or you may want to get creative and switch out the lacing with another style or color. We're going to show you in a few easy steps how to properly lace up a corset so that when you put it on and tighten it, the cinching is even and looks beautiful.
Let's start by looking at a properly laced corset. The laces are actually installed BEFORE the corset is worn. Lacing up a corset while a person is wearing it is very difficult. The lacing is threaded through the eyelets in a criss-cross pattern, but notice the center pair of eyelets on each side. The lacing "skips" a crossover and stays on the same side for one jump, thus creating a loop on each side. These loops are pulled away from the wearer when the corset is being cinched, which has the effect of pulling the slack out of the lacing in all directions at once.
The careful thing to note is which side of the corset is up and which side is down. And of course, the lacing always goes in the back. You will likely have to tie up the laces each time you wear the corset and let them back out when you take it off.
So let's start. First, you should only have one long lace. This one lace should be run through the top matching pair of eyelets, from the back out through the eyelets towards you with equal amounts left on each side as shown in this photo. Then, cross the two ends and run them through the opposite, diagonal eyelets like you're lacing a shoe.
Keep doing this, crossing sides, over, then under, until you get to the center pair of eyelets on both sides. This is where you need to make those big loops that we talked about before that allows the lacing to be cinched evenly. Instead of crossing over, stay on the same side of the corset and go through the eyelet, back into the corset as shown in the photo. If your corset has an even number of eyelets on a side, then these loops will be at the exact center of the back of the corset. If your corset has an odd number, then the loops may be offset by one eyelet. No problem.
Then resume the criss-cross pattern and finish lacing like before until you run the laces through the last eyelets. You've now reached the bottom of the corset. Take both ends and tie a knot, thus closing the laces. This should be a tight knot and won't be untied when you loosen the corset. When you make this knot, make sure that both ends are equal in length and near the end of the laces. Sometimes during the criss-cross, you can get one lace longer than the other. If this happens, adjust the criss-cross lengths with some wiggling.
Now, if you lay the corset flat and pull on both sides of the corset away from each other, the panels will loosen evenly in parallel fashion. This is the way a corset should move both when tightening and loosening and it's the way you'll know that you laced things up correctly.
So now it's time to try it on! We'll see how it fits on our mannequin here at Kuhmillion. First, make the laces as open and loose as possible by pulling the corset apart like I just mentioned. With the hook and eye closures free, wrap the corset around the wearer and hook the eyes. The back lacing should at this point be very loose. Carefully pull the two big loops you made and tighten the corset up. You will have to do this slowly, adjusting and freeing up some of the criss-cross lacing to get the corset to cinch up nicely. When you've got it right, double up both ends and tie the whole thing like a big bow on a present. Then tuck the ends under the bottom of the corset and into the lacing to keep them out of the way.
So there you have it! It's really simple to lace a corset once you know how. Don't rush things and remember not to wait until the last moment. Even experienced corset wearers need some time and patience to get the lacing just right!