Sleeve Garters – Pretty Useful 200 years ago!!

Okay, I totally did not even know what a sleeve garter was, although I have to admit that the name is pretty self explanatory, but I kept envisioning Tim Curry’s legs on a man’s arms (hey….idea for a new horror film).

So these have quite a history. Knights, gamblers, gunslingers, traveling musicians, and punk (??) have all had a little play in the history of this funny little mans accessory.

In the Middle Ages introduced us to leg garters in holding up stockings on both men and women. But Great Brittan has the most colorful chronicle of arm garters. One of the oldest sects, The Noble Order of the Garter was created by King Edward II in the mid 14th century, this included a fellowship of kings bound by the symbol of the Garter. And keeping with most things British, they pay homage to their history and the sect is today one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowships that still exist.

Rumor has it that the knights of this order tied garters around their legs for luck, but others say that it in regards to the leather straps that were used to bind their armor. Sir Gawain of the King Arthurs Round Table wrote of wearing the garter as a sign of brotherhood.

In the 19th century, we saw mass produced clothes that were not pre-fit and all men’s sleeves were an extra long. This made garters convenient as to not resemble penguins flapping around in all that the excess material and I am sure made life much easier. I would go as far as to say that garters probably lessened workplace accidents (those flappy sleeves sound dangerous).

Okay, a little more glamour for this little bit of history, were card players in the Old West. If you walked up to a big bad card table with a garter, you were seen as honest and good enough not to cheat. There was no hiding cards if you had arm garters on. To this day in casino’s they are still a staple for the dealer.

It is a myth that gunslingers wore them to draw more quickly though. It did NOT make you a faster draw or a better shot to wear a garter!!!!! FYI if you are thinking about doing this I repeat a garter will not help you!!!

After this time, arm garters faded from fashion until Steam punk has brought them back. For as much as I can tell it is just for fashion and there really is no purpose to them ( nor the top hats that for some reason need goggles). This is one fashion that while somewhat interesting, it is more for the goofy factor. Who am I to talk, I wore shoulder pads, big belts, neon, and parachute pants…there was never a worse fashion era than the 80’s (so much fun!!).

I say bring back leather patched elbows on sweaters or terry cloth shirts!! Wahoo!



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