Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Suspender belt: A brief history

The history of the suspender belt is indeed short.

The inception of the suspender solved a problem for the Edwardian woman: how to keep her hosiery from falling down. It began with the corset, with suspenders first being attached to the corset itself and later developing into a garment entirely of it's own.

Suspenders were made possible by the invention of elastic, and first appeared on S-bend corsets of the Edwardian era. This corset is part of the Symington Collection in Leicester.
It is dated 1905.

The first suspender belts of the 1920's were still made from the strong cotton broche of their corset forebears and were designed to be equally tough and functional.

Until the development of the true suspender belt in the late 1950's the girdle had served the same function of the corset...to keep waist and bum in check and hold up stockings. I'll go into more depth about girdles in another blog, if you don't mind, to stay on subject...

In the 1950's clothes were literally revolutionised by the invention of affordable man made fabrics. Underwear benefitted in particular through more lightweight fabrics such as nylon lace, polyester and jerseys and from the 1960's onwards undies for the mass markets were now to be seen and not felt.

The suspender belt, like corsets, were rendered unneccesary by the evolution of fashion. With more women wearing mini skirts and trousers and the introduction of tights the fashionable lady no longer needed suspenders to hold up her hosiery.

The modern suspender belt is purely a provocative garment, so off I go to make some...
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