Garters are articles of clothing and are narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg, which are used to keep up stockings, and sometimes socks. In the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, they were tied just below the knee, where the leg is most slender, to keep the stocking from slipping. The advent of elastic has made them less necessary from this functional standpoint, although they are still often worn for fashion. Garters have been widely worn by men and women, depending on fashion trends. Garters were popular in the 1930s and 1940s, and were a convenient way for ladies to carry small valuables, in place of a small purse[citation needed.In Elizabethan fashions, men wore garters with their hose, and colorful garters were an object of display. In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, "cross braced" garters are an object of some derision. In male fashion, a type of garter for holding up socks has continued as a part of male dress up to the present, although its use may be considered somewhat stodgy. For the modern, more liberated woman of the 1930s, garter belts and roll garters offered a newfound sense of freedom and liberation. Not only did they secure a lady’s stockings without the use of awkward, pinching metal clips, they freed women entirely from the restriction and discomfort of girdles! Betty’s garter wasn’t just a fashion statement; it was one of the symbols of her status as a modern, liberated woman. For more conservative elders, the image of young women dancing with flashes of a garter belt showing represented everything scandalous and provocative about the fashions of day, making the placement of the garter belt as much a statement about a woman’s status as the wearing of it. There is a Western wedding tradition for a bride to wear a garter to her wedding, to be removed towards the end of the reception by the groom. This garter is not normally used to support stockings. This practice is often interpreted as symbolic of deflowering, though some sources attribute its origin to a superstition that taking an article of the bride's clothing will bring good luck. In the Middle Ages, the groomsmen would rush at the new bride to take her garters as a prize. Today, the practice of removing the bride's garter is traditionally reserved to the groom, who will then toss the garter to the unmarried male guests. This is performed after the tossing of the bouquet, in which the bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder to be caught by the unwed female guests. According to superstition, the lady who catches the bouquet and the man who catches the garter will be the next man and woman among those in attendance to be married (though perhaps not to each other). The ceremony often continues with the man who catches the garter obliged to place it on the leg of the lady who caught the bouquet. Traditionally, the pair are obliged to share the next dance. Prom garters were common in the 1960s & 1970s, and often conferred on the date as a souvenir. If the date received the garter, it was typically hung from his rear-view mirror. Beginning in the mid-2000s, it has become common in the United States for young women attending a high school prom to wear a garter, usually designed to match the style and color of the young woman's dress. The prom garter may be worn throughout the evening and is sometimes given to the young woman's date as a souvenir. A young woman may also choose to keep the garter rather than give it away, as a token of her prom night. In some cases, young people may participate in a "garter and tie" dance (often hosted by the high school as part of the prom), during or after which either the young woman herself or the young woman's date removes the garter and exchanges it for the date's tie. In cases like this where the garter is given early in the evening, the young woman's date may wear it on his arm for the remainder of the evening. In areas where prom garters are common, it has become a tradition for young women to pose for a picture with other female friends before the prom, in which they pull up the skirts of their dresses to display their prom garters, which are generally worn a few inches above the right knee. The giving or taking of the prom garter may or may not have the same sexual implications that are associated with wedding garters; however, the giving of the prom garter is often interpreted as publicly designating the pair as a romantic couple.
In 1995 Macy’s in New York City held its annual outdoor Tap-a-Mania hosted by Betty. Thousands of dancers tapped to the same music, all attired with Betty Boop T-shirt, hat, and Betty’s signature garter!
Official Garter Belt
Betty's official garter can be brought from costume stores and used to be able to be brought on the old official Betty Boop website. It is white and frilly and has a red heart icon design in the middle.
Betty Boop's Garter Removed?
A rumor has it that Betty Boop's garter belt was removed from the series just as the Motion Picture Production Code had kicked in, which is untrue. Betty's garter was never removed, it was moved much further up her leg and was often hidden by the longer dresses she wore. Model sheets from 1938 show that her garter is still visible but when she appeared in the cartoons the garter had been moved and or hidden by her dress. In the 1985 cartoon entitled The Romance of Betty Boop Betty's garter was removed from her leg as Bill Melendez thought it was inappropriate.
Her garter first appeared in the short Silly Scandals where she wore it on one lone leg.
Most of the gags in the earlier cartoons from 1932-1934 are built around her garter belt.
In some early cartoons in 1932 Betty can sometimes be seen wearing garters on both of her legs.
If you joined the official Betty Boop fan-club a official garter was included as a membership gift.
In the Romance of Betty Boop (1985) Bill Melendez decided that Betty would not wear her signature garter belt in his animated film, Betty's garter returned in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and then again in Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery (1989).
In some of the early 1932 cartoon's Betty's garter had a flower/rose shaped icon design on the belt, in others she had a circle icon design and other times the belt had no icon and was a simple black belt strapped around her leg.
Betty's modern garter is yellow and has a red love heart shaped icon design on the belt to match her dress.
According to a model sheet Betty's garter is on her left leg, and it states that it should always be there. In spite of this and though Betty’s garter is usually on her left leg, it sometimes appear on her right leg.