I often hear people mix up the terms "garter" and "garter belt." There is a subtle, but distinct difference between the two, so I thought I'd explain the difference between a wedding garter and a garter belt. Sometimes a garter can be called a wedding garter or bridal garter and these are used interchangeably and the same thing – just a garter.
In my next garter 101 blog advice series, I'm going to tell you, hopefully once and for all, the difference between a garter and a garter belt. These are confusing terms, I totally get it. But, it is important to know the difference because if you go to a store or a bridal shop and ask for a garter belt, you might get something totally different than if you go to a lingerie shop asking for a wedding garter! This is about knowing what to ask for in the right location!
Before we get into it, a gorgeous picture of a bride getting ready on her wedding day putting on her lace garter. (This bride is wearing my polished wedding garter style from my collection.)
First off, a garter belt. A garter belt is a piece of lingerie that goes around someone's waist. It is usually made of lace, but not always. The garter belt uses clips or snaps to hold up pantyhose or stockings. I can only imagine that the garter belt started back in the days before elastic when holding up stockings what a lot harder and thus anchoring it around the waist made the most sense. Over time, I think we can all agree that garter belts have grown into a sexy symbol of femininity and not really all that useful.
Here are two pictures of a lace garter belt, you can see the beautiful lace band or belt that goes around the waist and the straps that hang down to clasp onto the panty hose. When you wear a garter belt, you need to use panty hose or stockings that don't go all the way up your leg, like thigh high stockings or some other panty hose designed to be worn with a garter belt.
Second, is the garter. The garter represents the oldest wedding tradition. It is a small piece of decorated material usually with elastic that is worn around one of the bride's legs during the wedding ceremony and reception. Often times, the couple will participate in the wedding garter toss tradition in which the garter is removed and tossed to guests as a sign of good luck. Tossed or not, the wedding garter is as a small little expression of a couple's big day and it is a keepsake meant to be cherished and passed on through generations.
Although I'd like to think that I'm talented enough to design "garter belts," I think they are a bit out of my wheel house, especially when it comes to actual construction. I think I'll just stick to the wedding garters (for now).
So, there you have it…the difference (according to me) between a garter belt and a wedding garter!