My Garter Belt Christmas Fiasco

Thigh highs and a garter belt, in case you were wondering, are not the way to go.  At least not when you’re in Manhattan for the weekend, you’ve gotten half price tickets to Stomp and it’s snowing.

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For those of you who missed Friday’s gift card debate, I decided to blow my Christmas bonus on a pair of boots.

Practical boots.

Black boots.

Boots that would enable me to spend the entire day walking around Manhattan without the risk of pneumonia or a twisted ankle, unlike my usual footwear.

So I got myself over to the mall by TWD’s house and made my way to Macy’s.  I don’t normally shop at Macy’s because I can’t normally afford anything at Macy’s but I figured I might luck out with the pre-Christmas sales.  (Actually, TWD figured I might luck out with the pre-Christmas sales; I scoffed at him and said, “What are you, crazy?  They’re not going to discount anything three days before Christmas!” only to discover that they had discounted practically the entire shoe department…)

I tried on three pairs, discovered that my feet are continuing to shrink (should I be concerned about this?) and settled on a pair with buttons and a chunky silver zipper up the back.  They were marked down to $100 but when I got up to the register, the sales lady informed me that they were in fact $40.

“Really?” I exclaimed.  “Forty dollars??? That’s unexpected!  That’s… that’s amazing!”

It was a moment of weakness.   I should have simply accepted the mark down, made the purchase and gotten the hell of there but I really was surprised and I couldn’t help myself.  Plus, I’m pretty sure Santa delivers coal to those who try to take advantage of elderly, overworked retail associates three days before Christmas.

She rescanned the boots.  Then she called over another of the associates.  I was, at this point, already dreaming of what I could buy at Victoria’s Secret with the remaining $60 (one bra?  One and a half bras perhaps?) if I hadn’t opened my mouth, thus alerting the entire footwear team to the possibility of an incorrect markdown and inadvertently dashing my own hopes of sexy underwear… but they at last ruled in my favor.

(I’m pretty sure it’s because I bought dinner for a homeless woman on Thursday night.  Whenever I buy things for homeless women, I get the hook up at Victoria’s Secret.)

Victoria’s Secret overwhelms me but I’m determined that someday, I’ll be able to walk in there and plop down eighty dollars for a rhinestone-studded bra like it’s no big deal…

Unfortunately, that day has not yet arrived so I wandered around avoiding eye contact with the sales associates, bumping into things and generally making a great nuisance of myself.  I found two garter belts: one that had a lacy skirt and black thong attached (no thank you) and one that was covered in sequins and said Ho Ho Ho (umm… no).

I was about to give up when I finally deigned to ask a sales associate for help.  “Do you sell garter belts without the thongs attached?”

Her colleagues looked at me like I was crazy but she said, “Yes!  Follow me!”

(I’m pretty sure she was actually an angel.)

She led me through the labyrinth of overpriced lingerie (is it just me or is it impossible to walk in a straight line through that store?) to a large white cabinet.  The bottom drawer contained garter belts.

“What size are you?” she asked.

“Ummm…”

(Aren’t they supposed to know these things?  I’m not the one running around with a tape measure around my neck…)

“They come in extra small, small and medium/large” she prompted.

“Small, I guess.”

(Way to make curvier amongst us feel right at home, Victoria’s Secret.)

When I asked if they sold a matching bra, she too looked at me like I was crazy.  (“Well, you could pair it with anything!  It’s black!  Like a plain black bra, or a lacy black bra, or a colored bra AND colored panties, you know, for a nice contrast.  A sequined bra… a strapless bra… really, it’s up to you!”)

After assuring me of the garment’s creative potential, she led me over to another display case: thigh highs.

I never knew thigh highs we so complicated.  It took me a good five minutes to make a decision.  But finally I found a pair (sheer black guaranteed to stay in place) and decided to venture back into the bra department on my own.

This, in hindsight, was a mistake.  I was so excited about the possibility of buying boots and underwear that I forgot I was planning to wear a strapless dress on Saturday night.  Amidst all of the confusion, I somehow convinced myself that paying $48 for a non-strapless bra was a very good idea—possibly the best idea ever—and I left the mall swinging my pink striped Victoria Secret bag with all the pride of a spoiled suburban teenager.

Fast forward to New York:

We’re in the hotel trying to thaw out after an hour in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square.  We’ve got half price tickets to Stomp and reservations at a Spanish restaurant downtown for 6:30.

“Shit!” I swear.

“What happened?” TWD shouts back (I’ve banished him to the bathroom so I can get dressed in private).

“My bra!”

It has finally occurred to me that my new $48 bra is not going to work with my old $14 dress.

Even worse, I can’t make heads or tails of these damn stockings.

I know how they’re supposed to work, in theory, but I’ve never worn a garter belt before and the clips are, as I feared, rather complicated.

The no-slip guarantee isn’t helping.  Each stocking has a large, plastic band at the top and the bands are so thick that the clips are slipping.

“Are you okay out there?” TWD asks.

“NO!  Don’t come out!”

I finally manage to get the front clips in place but I can only twist so far around to tackle the back.  I’m sitting there cursing mankind and the lingerie industry and Victoria’s Secret and the fact that technology hasn’t produced anything better than this damn contraption over the past… oh, I don’t know… FIVE centuries (except that I know it has.  They’re called control-top panty hose; I’m just choosing not to wear them).

Fifteen minutes later, I’m finally locked and loaded and ready to go, only to realize that my thigh highs are stuck down around my knees, meaning there’s a huge gap between them and my less-than-knee-length dress.  So I start pulling and tugging and readjusting straps, all the while feeling about as sexy as a Christmas ham wrapped in duct tape.  (Lacy duct tape, but duct tape nonetheless.)

Amazing enough, I make it out of the hotel room and to the subway without incident.  I also make it through dinner and to the theater without incident.  Things get a little complicated when I decide to use the restroom (bear in mind, we’d shared an entire pitcher of sangria by that point) but by the time we reach the salsa club, I’ve finally mastered the art of peeing whilst wearing a garter belt.

Not that I intend to utilize that particular skill again anytime soon.

Merry Christmas, folks.

(And yes, I’m returning that $48 bra… I would rather have coffee or chocolate or—even better—more shoes.)

14 Responses to “My Garter Belt Christmas Fiasco”

  1. Jerseyite Lurker

    Good thing to do, buying dinner for a homeless woman Thursday night. I salute you, Kat.

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

    Reply
  2. Fred

    Your too funny. After I read, next to last posting, I said to myself, if I run into her I sure hope she has boots on, as to avoid using my imagination for the alternative.
    Thanks for the constant entertainment with your blog. Merry Christmas and a safe, happy, & healthy new year.

    Reply
  3. mydatingrx

    You’re so funny.

    Those “stay put” thigh highs don’t work so well on heavy-set women. (I should know.) It’s important to get just the right balance of sticky, plastic compression. If it’s too tight, and your thighs are too big, they have a tendency to roll down if worn without garters. The bonus, I suppose, is that if I was trying to be sexy for a man, I could put them on without garters, stand at the foot of the bed, clench my butt cheeks together, and cause them to roll down. Sexy!

    Reply
  4. Katie @ Domestiphobia.net

    Ugh, I am probably too late on this, but do NOT return that bra. I finally sucked it up and started purchasing VS bras about 6 or 7 years ago and haven’t looked back. If you take good care of them, they will last forever (or at least around 5 years or so, which is more than I can say for the cheap-o Target bras I used to buy). They’re exceedingly comfortable. I love my VS bras. Also, I have learned: Nothing will make you feel less sexy than trying to put on pantyhose in front of your significant other. So… at least you didn’t make that mistake. 😉

    Reply
    • Kat Richter

      Actually, I’m lazy and terrible about returning things so it’s still sitting on top of a laundry basket next to my desk… I do actually have one other VS bra but it always makes my sternum hurt and leaves a red mark whenever I wear it (which is sad, because its super cute and I even sprang for the matching undies and TWD really likes it). This one seems better but still… $50 for a bra seems excessive. I could get more shoes instead!

      Reply
  5. Veronica

    I came across this today, and even though it is an old post, hopefully you’ll see my response and it will help with the matter in the future.

    I am a retro lingerie addict (I think it stems from the large coffee table book of pin-ups I found in the basement when I was like 13, I adored that thing and the girls within). I wear a garter belt and RH&T stockings to work everyday under my pencil skirts, and I wear a garter belt and fully-fashioned seamed stockings under my skirts/dresses when going out with my girlfriends and/or my boyfriend (yes I am THAT girl who is dressed to the nines with heels on almost all the time, I have one girlfriend who is a big jeans/tshirt girl and I take every chance I can to get her to dress up, mwahahaha).

    I can say that while Victoria’s Secret has wonderful bras, they have, without a doubt, the shittiest of garter belts and stockings.

    There are two things of utmost importance when wearing a garter belt for an extended period of time (such as for work or out for the evening, as opposed to 30 mins in the boudoir). The first is the number of straps, 4 is bad, 6 or 8 is good (I’ve seen them made with up to 14, but that’s just overkill), a higher number of straps is especially important with seamed stockings as they keep your seams straight, but 6 or 8 are good to have in any instance. Second is the material the clasps that attach to your stockings are made out of, they MUST MUST MUST be made of metal, the plastic ones (the ones that come on VS garter belts) are no bueno and will not stay fastened to save your life. 6 or more straps with metal clasps make a garter belt functional.

    Now onto stockings, the “stay-up” ones, well first off they don’t stay up well, and secondly they can itch or cause irritation due to the silicone ring that supposedly does the staying up part. Don’t get those. Want you want are real stockings, the ones that cannot be worn without a garter belt, first off they feel absolutely fabulous to have your legs encased in, secondly they are far more elegant (and sexy), and thirdly they just flat out do the job of hosiery far better than either stay-ups or pantyhose. As for with or without backseams, well that is a choice for you too make my dear, I can say that you should own at least one pair of fully-fashioned seamed stockings, these are the actual real deal old school stockings with the seams up the back that are still made the same way as they were in the 40’s/50’s (though not all seamed stockings are “fully-fashioned”), they are a little expensive, but totes worth it. My general rule is seamless for work, and seams for most the rest of the time (as I feel that seams can be just a touch bit too risqué for work).

    And finally I will give you a few personally recommended sources on where you can find real, functional garter belts and stockings.

    For garter belt:
    http://www.whatkatiedid.com/en_us/products/classic-lingerie/124-garter-belts
    http://www.stockingshq.com/suspender-belts-t124

    For stockings:
    http://www.whatkatiedid.com/en_us/products/hosiery/4-seam-free-stockings
    http://www.whatkatiedid.com/en_us/products/hosiery/3-seamed-stockings
    http://www.whatkatiedid.com/en_us/product/1/nylon-seamed-fully-fashioned-stockings-by-what-kat
    http://www.stockingshq.com/classic-nylons-g14

    I hope this has helped and happy lingerie-ing. =)

    Reply
    • Veronica

      OH, and I almost forgot rule #1 of stockings and garters, put your panties on AFTER you put on your garter belt and stockings, makes going to the bathroom (and bedroom fun) super easy.

      Reply
    • Kat Richter

      Wow– looks like I’ve made just about every rookie mistake in the book! But I think I’ll be better equipped next time around 🙂 I’d like to include your comment in a future post, so thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for more on this subject. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Veronica

        Awww, sweetie, its ok, we all start somewhere. =)

        And I would be honored for you to use my comment, it is a joy to be able to share a passion of mine with other girls, I’ve thought about one day opening up my own boutique.

        A few other tidbits:

        Handwashing is the best for these garments, take care of them and they will take care of you.

        Make sure you get proper stockings for your height, they should come up to at least mid-thigh (some girls like them a tad bit higher, you’ll discover for yourself what you prefer, but don’t go below mid thigh). Also make sure to get the correct slider adjustment on your garter straps, nice and snug, if they are too tight you can pop a strap, too loose and they wont hold up the stockings up very well.

        I know you said you asked your man to leave the room while you got dressed, but I can say that once you get the hang of things, the act of rolling those stockings up your legs is a very alluring sight for others to enjoy. You should practice putting the stockings on and properly connecting the garter straps a few times when you don’t have any time constraints, making any strap adjustments as needed. While it can be a bit daunting in the beginning, I promise it wont take long before you will become quickly proficient in the art. Practice makes perfect!

        Garter belts and stockings harken back to a time when women were women and curves were encouraged and celebrated. Enjoy being feminine and the joys of being a girl. Also there are very few men in existence who don’t enjoy the sight of a woman rocking a garter belt, stockings, and heels. 😉

        Reply
      • Veronica

        Hey hun, I remember you had mentioned using my comment in a future post, I was just wondering if you got a chance to make the follow up piece to this? I’m looking forward to reading it!

        Reply
  6. Fleur de lys

    As stated before, this is a late comment. I came across this by googling info about garter belts. As a lady with a large bust, $50 would be cheap for a bra!!! I’ve spent up to $90 for a good bra before and they aren’t even sexy, and yes I’d rather spend the money on shoes or purses. VS doesn’t even carry my size of bra and I must go to specialty stores or online. Just another perspective. Loved your story and learning about garter belts as that is a world I would love to enter once I get brave enough and re-enter the workforce after completing my master degrees. Good luck!

    Reply

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