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For my entire adult life I have had a love/ hate relationship with suspender belts (or garter belts as they are known in America).
Love - because, for me, a set of lingerie is not complete without stockings and suspenders.
Love - because the ritual of putting one on and attaching the stockings are a prelude to eroticism, empowerment and sexiness.
Love - because the feel of the strap tugging, the feel of the hand brushing stocking tops revealed, the whole knowing but not showing a thing evokes so much.
And Hate - because despite all of the above being so achingly and wondrously true, the ritual, the eroticism, the feelings have so often been destroyed by the frustration, silent screams and downright annoyance of not being able to successfully attach all 4 straps.
Imagine this. You're very much in the mood for feeling and becoming a sexy, erotic vintage vixen or a fetish queen of the night or a carefree paragon of secret naughtiness or the classy but seductive slave whisperer (other characters are available) on goes the belt, the 4 straps falling loose at your side, the promise of things to come. Slowly you slide your stockings up your legs. You're damn hot and you know it.
And then, after the 20th attempt of gathering up a tiny piece of nylon to hold it against the button while sliding into its looped hole fails abysmally, you realise the passion is beginning to wilt somewhat.
Let's say you manage to attach both front suspenders in record time, you then sit on the edge of the bed in a spirit of mock sexy triumph, admiring your gorgeous legs, because you know this may be as good as it gets as your Nemesis awaits. The back suspenders.
If the twisting and contorting don't rupture a vital organ, and if you don't put an eye out from a rogue clip stretched to breaking point then slipping from trembling, exhausted fingers and travelling upwards at 100mph, and if you don’t faint from the head rush brought about by coming up for air after being bent double trying to catch a glimpse of the back of your thigh, then you are probably far too exhausted for anything other than tights and a cup of hot chocolate before falling asleep.
And don't tell me that the simple option is to attach your stockings to your suspender belt before you put them on. Well yes you can and I've tried but firstly they always look so sad and forlorn and secondly the last time I tried this they got so twisted I had to call the fire brigade to cut me out of them as I'd choked off the blood supply to my legs.
Now. Every now and then, along comes an invention, where you think, how on Earth did we ever manage beforehand. I am put in mind of the wheel, the Dyson vacuum cleaner, Netflix.
Such an invention are the Poppy suspenders and stockings by Ella Vine, a former chess champion and plus size model turned lingerie inventor and businesswoman.
Poppy suspenders have no fiddly metal/plastic loop, no tiny button to force nylon around and down into said loop and no chance for that tiny ribbon being caught up in loop for the hundredth time.
Just a popper. That's it. And the popper cleverly clicks simply into a ring sewn into the top of the stocking. Revolutionary. Straightforward. Ingenious. Practical.
I had to have some.
They arrived and for a couple of days they stayed in their packet. I wanted to wait for the right time to put them through their paces.
When I stood up one of the poppers popped out but was back in place in a second with no further mishap (compared with the normal ten minutes of grunting and twisting, like an arthritic ex ballerina attempting to gracefully pirouette but never quite making it).
Even if a popper managed to pop out whilst you were out, it can conveniently be popped back by touch without having to yank ones dress up at the ambassador's dinner party (remind me to tell you about THAT evening some time) or to excuse yourself to find a quiet corner or queue for the loo.
Poppy suspenders are the future. They are wonderful, elegant, sexy and so effortless that you will run bestockinged, crying with relief and thanking Ella forever.