This garter ad is from 1917:
Knitted stockings have been around for centuries. (Queen Elizabeth I liked the silk stockings she was given as a Christmas gift in 1561.) The Bata Shoe museum has a lovely pair of embroidered stockings for a lady which date to the early 1700s. But until the invention of Lastex elastic thread, around 1931, stockings tended to fall down without a garter or suspender to hold them up. (Men’s socks with “elastic ribbed tops” were available before that, although it’s not always easy to tell if the word “elastic” means “stretchy” or “made with latex/rubber.”)
Before Lastex, exasperated mothers would yell, “Pull up your socks!” — sometimes, just to get their offspring to stop whatever else they were doing.
When an impeccably dressed gentleman undressed, however elegant his clothing, he eventually revealed his stocking garters. I’ve rarely seen a full illustration of a man wearing underwear, socks, and garters — perhaps because the result is faintly comical.
I was surprised that men’s garters came in a riot of colors.A glimpse of stocking was a good thing, but a glimpse of hairy shins was not.
The well-dressed businessman wore sock garters to keep his socks from falling down around his ankles, or revealing skin when he sat with his legs crossed.
Some stocking garters had one fastener, in center front, but others had a garter on either side of the shin.
Judging from the men’s magazines and pin-up illustrations of my teen years, many men enjoy looking at a woman who is wearing a garter belt and stockings. I personally can’t imagine getting a similar erotic charge from the sight of a man wearing stocking garters — even in brilliant blue:
Fortunately for costumers, you can still buy sock garters — there are plenty listed on Amazon.