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A guide to stockings and suspenders

Do you know your stockings from your hold-ups?

Men’s guide to buying sexy lingerie

Hosiery is the perfect way to complete a lingerie set. Top-to-toe sexy in sheer, fishnet or back-seams - there's plenty of different kinds to ensure you're looking fierce, girl. Still, it can be a bit confusing - stockings or hold-ups, what's the difference? If you've ever bought the wrong thing then you're not alone. Just relax, honey - we've got the basics covered.

Hold-ups

We'll start here, because hold-up stockings are the most common you'll find on shelves today. They're sometimes called stay-ups, because - obvs - they stay up on their own.

An elasticated strip on the inside of the lacy top band keeps them in place, though sometimes they just have a thicker, tighter fabric band to hold them up. Effortlessly sexy. Totally on fleek for the flawless girl on the go.

Hold-ups come in so many styles. Black, white and red, fishnets, patterns, back seams, opaque, glossy, sheer - you're spoiled for choice. There are also shorter, over-the-knee hold-ups, which look cute and sexy as hell with short skirts and a flash of skin. Hold-ups are also perfect for subtly pairing with tighter outerwear, with no lines from tights or suspenders.

Stockings

What we call stockings at Ann Summers are short for suspender stockings - stockings that don't stay up on their own, and will need suspenders to keep them in place, whether it's a suspender belt or a corset with suspender clips. They mostly look the same as hold-ups, but instead of an elasticated top, it will just be lightly reinforced to handle the clips and pull of a suspender belt.

What you may lose in a little convenience, you gain in classic vintage glamour. Pin-up queen. Dressed to kill.

Stockings don't come in as many varieties as hold-ups. But that just means you'll stand out even more. Though the whole point is an almost reserved elegance - it's the suspender belt that makes them count.

Suspender belts

Suspender belts add an intricately sexy extra step to your lingerie game. Some sit on your hips, some rest on your waist. Most have four straps and clips that attach to stockings - one at the front, one at the back of each leg - though some retro styles have more. When your suspender belt matches everything else, your look will be so on point that there aren't even words for it.

The belt is the classic look, but it's not your only option. Suspender briefs and skirts let you mix things up a little, but basques, corsets, waspies and camis with suspender clips push vintage sex appeal to the absolute limit.

Trust us, you'll be irresistible to all. Use your new power wisely.

Finding your style

If you're trying to find stockings that are a little more right for you, and a little less one-size-fits-all, there's just a few more things you need to know about:

Sheer: Sheer stockings are made from a really fine fabric. A little shine, a hint of colour, stunning legs.

Fishnet: Kink or glamour? It works for both. Fishnet is diamond-shaped open knit that subtly accents curves. Plenty of options for colour, as well as spacing.

Back seams: All stockings used to have back seams, because of the way they were made. Now it's less necessity, and more vintage fashion statement. Perfect for keeping all eyes on your lines.

Cuban heel: Another hangover from older times, but still a classically sexy look. Reinforced heels, soles and toes add definition and look stunning with back seams.

Wet-look: Exactly what it sounds like. Sleek, shiny, sexy. True dungeon chic.

How to wear stockings and suspenders

It's a true skill. Tricky if you've never done it before. Just follow our steps, and you'll get it down.

  1. Put your suspender belt on after your briefs, so the straps come down over your briefs. Or before, if you'd rather keep them on when the briefs come off.
  2. Put the stockings on - roll them up, slip your toes in, and unroll them over your legs, rather than pulling them on.
  3. Before trying to attach the stocking to the suspender clip, sit down. This means that when you stand up, the stocking will be attached at a natural and comfortable height.
  4. Open each clip on the end of each suspender strap.
  5. Start with the front two first and then the back ones. Place the fabric of the stocking top on top of the rubbery part of the clip which has the protruding circle.
  6. Next, take the loop part of the clip and place the larger end of its opening over the protruding circle, catching the stocking fabric in between.
  7. Pull the loop upwards, so the circle and the caught-up stocking band is pushed down to the narrower end of the loop, where it'll stay in place.