Why Did Suspender/Garter Belts Only Have 4 Straps In The 1950s?


Hi, I’m Katie. from What Katie Did, and welcome back. Today, I’m going to address the question of
how many straps your suspenders or garter belt should have. Back in the 1940s and 50s when people used
to wear stockings every day, they were quite happy with four straps. Whereas today, serious stocking wearers prefer
six. What brought about these changes and why is
it so important? If you’ve been watching my videos recently
over the last few weeks, you’ll know I’ve been talking about the 1940s quite a lot,
lifestyle and fashion. And I’m going to blame suspender belts on
this, too, because during the 1940s there was a lot of restriction on what could be
made due to lack of fabrics and also women took on a more active role. So they moved away from long line girdles
like this, which were really quite restricting and moved towards suspender belts like this. And this is actually an army issued CC41 suspender
belt. You didn’t just get your uniform, you got
everything issued to you if you were a woman in the army or in the armed forces. And this is the government issued suspender
belt. As you can see, it only has four straps. But as you can also see, it’s very, very deep. And if I put it against this mannequin here,
you can see that basically it’s almost the same length, same depth as a girdle. And this is very important because if the
suspender belt is very, very deep, you get less movement in between the bottom of the
suspender belt and your suspender straps. So as you can see here, the suspender strap
is, it’s on its tightest hook, tightest setting here, but it’s only a couple of inches long. So it’s not going to move around if you’re
wearing that. So that’s quite a secure piece. And there’s not going to be a huge amount
of movement from the suspender strap. And again, at the back. The back goes down very low over your bottom. And although the back straps are slightly
longer, there’s not going to be a lot of movement when you’re walking around and the gap between
your suspender belt and your stockings is quite short. So it’s going to keep everything quite secure. Again, if you look at the girdles, which people
would have worn before the suspender belts. The girdles, the straps are still very, very
short, and girdles remained very, very popular right up until the 60s, 70s. So those suspender belts started to be made
in the 40s and were in fashion. A lot of women, especially older women would
keep the girdle because that’s what they grew up with. Now we’ve done a take on the CC41 suspender
belt, which is our CC09 suspender belts. Our CC09 range, the first incarnation of it
was in 2009 which is why we called it CC09. And this is our version of it. It’s still deep when you look at modern suspender
belts, and I’ll show you a picture of it on the model so you can see how deep it actually
is. But as you can see, even on this one, the
suspender straps are far longer, which means that if you wear it with a small pair of knickers
then you’re going to get a lot of movement with the straps far more than the 1940s version. And the reason we didn’t replicate this 1940s
version is because it just looked to sturdy and functional. And I know on a lot of stocking forums and
groups, people do comment on six straps suspender belts, and they do say that they look sturdy
and functional and they want something a bit sexier. And the truth of the matter is that they do
… to actually do the job, they do need to be deeper and they do need to be more substantial. And personally I feel you can’t feel sexy
if you’re not comfortable. So I’d prefer to have something just a little
bit sturdier that’s going to stay in place all day. Then something flimsy that you’re going to
be worried about slipping down all day. And if you take a look at our CC09 suspender
here, you’ll also notice that this one does have six straps. We put six straps on because, well firstly
we know you don’t like four straps. We have experimented with four straps in the
past simply because they are more period correct, and they really don’t sell as well as six
straps at tall. And also cause it was narrower than we … we
decided we would need to have one on the side as well. The reason we put off doing the 1940 suspender
belt for so long was we couldn’t work out exactly where we were going to put the extra
strap, and in the end, luckily with our design we managed to squeeze it in. So, this one does work well as a modern take
on a 1940s design. When you look at the era when stockings were
really in fashion, you’re actually looking at a very narrow area of time. Skirts in the 30s were quite long. It’s not until the 40s that they became shorter
to just below the knee and throughout the 50s. And that tends to be when we think about stockings
being really an integral part of your outfit so you’re only really looking at two decades. So in the 40s you’d be wearing a girdle or
you’d be wearing a very deep suspender belt like this. In the 50s you’d still be wearing something
similar. Yes, suspender belts were coming in, and they
were becoming shorter. But they would still be far more substantial
than the suspender belts you’d see today. And it’s quite interesting when you think
about it because when tights came in, in the 1960s, this is when suspender belts really
became quite brief. And this is when stockings went out of fashion. And I can only think of … So the two tie
together is if you were growing up in the 1960s and you thought, “Yeah, I’d want to
wear a nice little fashionable suspender belt. I don’t want to wear this thing here.” That you’d wear a nice little fashionable
suspender belt, and then you start getting the slipping and sliding and things twisting
around. And you were like, “No, stockings aren’t worth
it. I’m just going to wear tights.” And it seems to me that that could be very
much the case because the right suspender belt or girdle really does make the difference
when you, when you wear stockings. When you look at contemporary designers they
still use four straps, and they still use a very, very narrow waistband. And I really don’t know why this is because
it really is insecure when you wear stockings, and I can see if you wear something like that
then it’s going to turn you off stockings immediately because everything will be moving
around and it won’t be comfortable. I can only imagine. I can only think that designers are doing
a suspender belt as an add-on or as something sexy for the bedroom and not something that
you’d wear every day. And of course when they look at history, they
would have seen that all suspenders or girdles had four straps, so they’d be thinking, yep,
well they have four straps. And that’s the reason why people coped well
in the 40s and 50s when they wore stockings every day. So I’m sure they can cope with four straps
now with this narrow little suspender belt and everything will be fine. And the other thing you have to remember is
that when you look at contemporary fashion or contemporary lingerie design is that the
knickers are a lot smaller as well. In the 1950s you’d be wearing your, you’d
be wearing your wide suspender belt and you’d be wearing your knickers over the top. And if the leg line of your knicker would
again stop, would be down here. So it would stop any movements and help keep
things in place. Whereas if you’re going to wear a modern,
very narrow suspender belt with a tiny pair of knickers, then nothing’s going to be held
in place and everything’s going to move around and slip and slide. So when it comes to lingerie and stockings,
the decades that you really need to look to is the 1950s because that is really the one
decade where there was a slight crossover between girdles and suspender belts, where
women did wear stockings every day and wear lingerie, well it came away from the functionality
of the 1940s and was beginning to look glamorous. So I guess that we’re lucky with What Katie
Did. That’s why we focused on that decade is because
it is, it combines both comfort and glamour and durability. So it basically covers everything you need. I do have another video on suspender belts
about what to find, what to look for in the perfect suspender belts. And if you have liked this video, please do
subscribe. Just click below, and I’ll catch up with you
soon. So take care.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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