Product link: Lindex Ella M seamless micro suspender belt in black
In which we begin our review of a suspender belt by talking about Bilbo Baggins
As with Bilbo and his account of finding the One Ring, there are at least as many true versions of the story of how I first wore hosiery as there are people that I’ve told the story to.
It is true that I’d thought about why Hims and Thems didn’t wear tights as part of my concerted railing against gendered clothing. I was an interested reader of the (sadly not updated in a while) blog Hosiery for Men and it seemed to me that plain black tights were about as ungendered an item of clothing as it was possible to get. Why don’t men wear tights? I suppose it’s because they don’t naturally wear outfits that show off their legs, although to me that just shows a stunning lack of imagination. Distressed jeans + coloured hosiery = need I say more?
It is similarly true that I’d been investigating them for my outfit for the one time I tried going out in drag (I was very bad at it, don’t ask). I had a character in mind, I didn’t just slap a frock on, and thick coloured tights were integral to the outfit. I didn’t wear tights in the end but we’re coming to that (I promise that we’ll get to the point of this review soon).
Also the first review of a suspender belt that mentions Wigan
And finally, it is also true that I was interested in them because my legs were cold. Watching football live, on a regular basis, in the depths of winter, in a stadium that is far too close to Wigan to be comfortable, is an environment that is conducive to cold legs. So, I tried tights under jeans. At first I had something like 180 denier tights, before I knew what that really meant in practice, under fairly tight straight-legged jeans, and that was a disaster. I could barely bend my legs to drive. Even when I switched to thinner tights, I found that going to the loo was a pain with the extra layers and the waistband.
So, I tried holdups next (you can see where this is going now, can’t you) (finally). They were okay. I find the sizing to be very inconsistent, and I couldn’t guarantee that any pair I wore was likely to hold up around my thighs, which are not huge. To get them tighter around the thighs, I had to be a smaller size, which was shorter in the leg and therefore didn’t fit. Also, I objected to the fact that I couldn’t find plain pairs of holdups (actually I’ve found some now). While I could find designs aplenty that were extremely gorgeous and very feminine, I really wanted some that were more gender-free, and it seemed like such a thing didn’t exist. Plain back holdups, with plain tops. Was that too much to ask for?
Which led me, finally, exhaustively, garrulously, to stockings. It’s not hard to find a wide variety of plain stockings in a multitude of colours and deniers, which was fab. They fulfilled the key criteria: they fit, they didn’t slide round my ankles at embarrassing points in conversation or get tied up around the accelerator pedal, and it was easy to perform my ablutions. Perfect.
The stockings weren’t the problem.The suspender belts (garter belts if you’re in the US) were a different story altogether. I would go as far as to claim that the suspender belt is the single most feminine piece of clothing ever, and the idea of a unisex, gender-free suspender bet was, when I first started looking for them, just a pipe dream.
Is a gender-free suspender belt even possible, whether it’s in Wigan or not?
Now, I have found some brands who do make such garments for all genders, and you can find them all on my list of lingerie brands for men and nonbinary AMAB people. What I had continued to look for in the meantime was a high street brand who made a suspender belt that was free from masc and femme stylings and adornments, that could claim to be truly gender-free. And then, I found the Lindex Ella M Seamless Micro Suspender Belt.
Now that we’ve finished banging on about Wigan, what about a review?
I bought mine from ASOS, as per the link above. At the time of writing, it had actually sold out, and it doesn’t seem to be listed on the Lindex website either. If it’s gone out of production then that’s a shame, because this really is the closest thing I’ve found to a neutral, gender-free suspender belt.
I take a UK size 10, and this fits me perfectly. As per my discussion of such items, it can be hard for Hims and Thems to find suspender belts that fit properly because we don’t have the hips to keep them up. I had no such problem with these. It’s tight enough around the waist to stay put without biting or chafing.
I love the minimalist design. As the name suggests it is sleek and seamless and the clips have a low profile. I’ve worn this under jeans and trousers, even under fairly tight trousers that I’ve worn to the office, and not worried about any telltale bulges or outlines of straps or clasps. The clasps seem good quality – no breakages, and none of them have ever come undone unintentionally.
It‘s a shame that ASOS remove all the details of a product from the website like they do, because all of the reviews have disappeared too, so we can’t tell what other people thought. But for my part, I think it was exactly what I was looking for.
|Diversity and Inclusion||On the website there is a decent spread of ages, body types, and ethnicities. It is a women’s fashion brand so it’s not surprising to see no Hims and Thems anywhere on the site, and the site does say that their mission is to inspire and empower women. But other sites have the same aim, and see similar things, and have still managed to be more inclusive to other genders. B|
|Sustainability||They do have a much larger area of the website devoted to not just sustainability, but human rights, the climate, water, fair wages, and so on. They aim to be climate neutral by 2023, but acknowledge that the larger impact comes from their supply chain, which is not something you see often. In terms of this product, it is 79% polyamide and 21% elastane, which means that it won’t biodegrade and the manufacturing processes are likely to be detrimental to the environment but we can’t know for sure without knowing more. B|
|Vegan status||A lot of their beauty products are vegan, but the status of their fashion is not listed. However, we know that both synthetic polyamides and elastane, as listed on the label, are both vegan. A|
|Rating||As mentioned above, I love this. It’s stylish, functional, discreet, and free from any gender markings. If I didn’t have one already I would definitely buy one! A|