Garters Over & Over Again (Panty & Garter History – Plus A Surprise At The End!)

Seems the matter of which comes first, the garters or the panties, just won’t lay down smoothly. Or stay down, for that matter.

I’ve gone on recordtwice — with this subject, not only to say that I’m not the lingerie police but to insist that garters do go over the panties. But the subject continues to prompt responses. So here we go again…

First, there’s been some discussion that the matter may be one of culture; most specifically that “garters over” is an American phenomena while “panties over” is what’s done across the pond in the UK.

Evidence of this comes from my dear Bijoux, of The Artisan (and this interview, which I feel rather hurt about as so few of you commented!), who wrote me the following:

I don’t know if there is any more to say about suspender belts. I was a bit concerned that my comments seemed to shut you up.

Dear Bijoux (and others) sometimes conversations, especially in comments at posts, just die. (Someone has to be the last one lol) And, with equal parts honesty and embarrassment, I’m not always able to keep up with comments (and emails) as much as I (or others) would like. As always, my apologies. And more on that later. Let’s get back to Bijoux’s observations on the subject of garters (suspenders in the UK) and panties:

One of the things I did notice about your description of you undoing your suspender belt and laying it on your lap while you sat down, is that it painted such an attractive picture of you with a smooth concave stomach and no lumpy bits that the belt pulls into, a straight back and long arms that elegantly bent behind you. The image of myself rolling around on the loo trying to pull it do it up behind me, huffing and puffing, and pulling and poking my stomach to get it all under the belt as it expanded after a meal and a pint etc.

What I meant about wanting to get out of women’s loos, is that in the UK in a club or pup, they tend to be over subscribed, not enough for them amount of use they get. When I went to the US I was shocked at just how many toilets there are, It’s the land of plumbing! A club licensed to hold 600 people may only have 20 female cubicles and 2 small washing areas. A typical scene would be a line of young women spraying perfume and hair spray and applying yet more lip gloss, one being sick, another one in tears with a group of drunk friends having the usual conversation, ‘Oh Tracy, he’s not worth it, kick him to the kerb’ maybe another group in a cubical having a coke break and that doesn’t include the two having a fight. Yeah, I think I may prefer the company of the guy waiting at the table.

I’m flattered by such an elegant description of me *blush* but cannot really add anything to the issue of loos abroad. I can, however, discuss a bit more on the subject of a broad using the loo. *wink*

For me, the matter of unhooking garters is very simple. A garter belt may only require the disengaging the hooks in the back, not detaching the stockings themselves; a corselette (or open-bottom girdle), may only require the detachment of garters from stockings; a panty girdle may only require a tug down. Doing the opposite to redress isn’t that much work and provides the time to check and straighten stockings, which likely would need to be done in any circumstance.

However, if it works for you the other way around, again, I’m not a member of the lingerie police so I won’t hand you a ticket. Nor will I turn snitch and report you to the actual lingerie police, should they actually exist. *wink*

But back to the idea of culture in this matter…

Recently I spoke to the fabulous Kimberly, of Glamour Gurlz and eBay’s The Slip Shoppe. Speaking of lingerie, as we do, I mentioned my belief in garters over panties as a fact, to which I received the following shocking reply:

But what do you mean garters over panties? The garter belt over top the panties? Because really, they are supposed to go underneath…

To which I replied:

OMG, not you too! Garters go over panties! I’ve been writing on this forever — and have a new post to make. Show me the proof of such silly thinking! Yes, there’s an argument for “easier” but practicality is not the point. Garters were on corsets, and, later, girdles, and panties didn’t go over garters then, so they don’t go over now! I have proof in terms of catalog photos etc. Other than men’s mags and porn, what can you offer as proof?

Kimberly’s reply:

I just remember my mom and grandmom wearing open bottom girdles and/or garters and they always put the granny panties on top because if you have to pee, then you would have to take off everything just to go. lol

Now, in case you don’t know Kimberly, she currently lives in the UK — but she’s from the US!

…And Kimberly’s mom was Blaze Starr’s personal hairdresser. Which makes me want to go back to the pornification of lingerie as part of the “panties placed over garters” thinking.

But as I said, I can find plenty of historical images which serve as documentation that garters do indeed go over the panties, i.e. lingerie shown in fashion catalogs & magazines.


In giving this subject its full due, I have given consideration to points about catalogs, magazines, etc.. The fact that these publications are to showcase items for sale, panties may not always have been shown over girdles and garters so as not to cover-up the merchandise. Of course I’m also open to the idea that panties were only shown to provide a conservative sense of modesty in the print catalogs… However, panties are quite often glimpsed beneath those foundation garments while the reverse is not seen.

When you look at all the evidence, it’s in favor of my stance: Garters go over panties.

Then too I return to the matter of the evolution of lingerie, how garter belts descended from earlier foundation garments. This was largely a matter of hygiene. Hygiene should trump any perceptions of practicality; penny wise, pound foolish and all that. (See “Taint Misbehaving” on last night’s Glee episode, The Spanish Teacher.)

First corsets. Bloomers etc. were the panties of the day. Bloomers did not go over the corset. (And if you wonder how that went as far as “to go,” well, there were openings in the crotch of the bloomers.) Bloomers, being much easier to clean, went underneath so as to keep the corsets clean and keep them from needing to be laundered.

After corsets, in the early 1900s and certainly by the 1920s, there were shapers which were like girdles, in most regards. (See also Scanties.) If the shaper had boning, the same corset rule applies: panties under to spare the laundering of the does-not-withstand-laundering-well corset. If the shaper did not have boning, and especially if the shaper had legs and its own gusset, then it was the panty or brief. If the shaper had no boning but had an open bottom, there’s some anecdotal evidence in the form of oral stories from women that no panty was worn at all. (This seems to be a “middle class thing,” likely a combination of being able to bathe regularly and notions of efficiency; further study is required.)

In any case, there’s an illustrated tradition to follow: Today’s panties should go as their counterparts in early years did — beneath the garters.

That is why I believe it is correct to wear garters over the panties.  And until you can show me proof — in catalogs, fashion magazines (not men’s mags), in etiquette books, educational manuals, or some other documentation — I shall continue to believe it.

And so I shall continue to wear my garters over my panties. Yes, this is an actual photo of me in my lingerie. (Details to follow here!)

So, until you can offer proof as described above, I consider this topic closed.

You’ll likely continue to wear your panties and garters as you wish regardless of what I’ve said. And I’ll do the same — likely even if such proof arises. It’s our prerogative.

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