The wonder of long socks is that they extend the life of a skirt—cozy thigh highs mean you can keep wearing some of your favourite pieces as the weather gets colder.  But not all garter belts (also called suspender belts) are created equal, and some just don’t have the staying power to keep a hold on thick socks.

The bit that holds on to the stocking is technically called the garter, though we tend to call them “garter clips” more often than not.  They come in basically two types, loop-and-button or suspender.  The loop-and-button garter is the classic type more traditionally associated with garter belts.  Suspender clips are called that because they’re the type of clip you see on modern suspenders, with little teeth to get a good grip on whatever they’re biting down on.

On average, suspender clips can hold more and better than traditional garter clips.  They clamp down fiercely on even the thickest socks.  That’s why our Suspender Clip Industrial Garter Belt has them and why we offer sock garters with that style of garter clip.  They’re all-purpose and a good way for a person to start trying types of garters.  They hold everything!  And though they have little teeth, they still do well with thinner styles of stockings, though very delicate styles aren’t advised, because nothing is sadder than a laddered stocking.

However, the loop-and-button style is best for delicate nylons.  And for the more flimsy garter clips, thin stockings are as much as they can hold.  But how can you tell if a garter clip of any kind is going to have the holding power you need for your socks and stockings?  Well, I’ve rounded up all the clips of the various garter belts we sell and after the jump we’ll go through them, from lightest to strongest!

We carry a couple kinds of garter belts from Leg Avenue.  They have two variations on the most basic garter clip, one with a ribbon tacked on with a couple of stitches to hide the clip and one without.

With a wire loop and flexible plastic for the button, they’re the lightest weight garter belts we carry.  They do wonderfully with thin nylons, fishnet and other delicate stockings.  Comparatively inexpensive, they’re great for costumes and trying out garter belts for the first time.

Lace Garter Belt and Thong
Satin Garter Belt
Lace Garter Belt and Thong Plus-Sized

Next up are the Escante garter belts.  They’re also a lighter-weight garter clip, but the loop is solid plastic, which is a great option for folks allergic to nickel.

Thin cotton stockings can be worn with these, though thick socky-socks are still too thick.

Escante Lace & Bows Garter Belt
Escante Satin Garter Belt

The Rago garters have fantastic clips, they’re the almost the strongest traditional garter clips we have, paired with some of the fanciest garter belts and cinchers.  They’re strong metal wire, with the flexible button firmly attached to the clip instead of hooked on like the Escante and Leg Avenue garter clips.

Medium-weight stockings and socks pair well with these garter clips.  Thicker styles like the Long Cuffable Scrunchables do just fine, but styles with thick cuffs, like the Dreamer Socks, are a bit too thick, since the welted cuff is double the thickness of the sock.

Rago Six Strap Garter Belt
Rago Cincher
Rago Pink & Lace Cincher

The absolute sturdiest traditional garter clips are those on the Industrial Garter Belt.  This style is made for hockey players, to hold up their thick socks and keep them up while playing.  Big, strong loops and sturdy flexible plastic will hold most socks.  The only thing to remember is that the vinyl tab with the button isn’t permanently secured.  We don’t have spares, sadly, so make sure when you take your garter belt off for the day that the vinyl tab is secured snugly.

Using a traditional garter clip might take a little practice, the sock needs to be stretched over the button and the metal loop popped over it and then the narrower part of the loop snugged up, holding the sock in.

For reference, here are images of the Rago garter clip with a couple different thicknesses of socks.  First up, the easy to accommodate thin Dream Stocking styles, like the Dreamy Knees.

Next, with the thicker Long Cuffable Scrunchables:

And it looks like they even hold the Ribbed M stockings!  Remember, traditional garter clips do best with single-thickness cuffs, apparently even with thick ribbed styles like these.

What kind of garter clip do you like most?  Do you have one all-around garter belt or several styles for all your socks and stockings?