We've been dropping hints about this for the last few months but we're finally getting ready to unveil our new mini-collection in a very special fabric... is it leavers lace? No. Is it vegetarian silk? No.
Not to be confused with PVC or vinyl, latex is a slinky, figure hugging material which stretches with your body and clings to your curves. We're really excited to be working with designer Rose Noir on this exclusive range of hand-painted, art-deco inspired latex, which is not only vegan-friendly* but is also the first latex collection we're aware of which specialises in styles for plus sizes and fuller busts.
So, without further ado, let's take you through the stages of getting rubbered up!
Step 1. Ordering the correct size.
First step, and arguably the most important. If you buy a piece that's too small, it can break if you try to force it on; and if you’re wearing latex that doesn’t fit, there’s risk of seams splitting when you're out and about (or engaging in athletic indoor activities). If you order a piece that's too large, it'll lose that lovely clingy effect and you'll end up with a piece that gapes or bags. Take your measurements and send them to us on the form we provide upon purchase. Wardrobe malfunction? Not today, Satan!
Step 2. Putting it on.
This is where all that careful research you did for Step 1 comes in handy. We want to avoid breakage; the latex used in these designs is high quality and will last for a long time if treated correctly. So treat it nice! Jewellery and sharp nails can easily snag and damage the latex, so be sure to remove any rings, watches, bracelets etc in the preparation of getting dressed. If you've got long or sharp nails, you might want to wear a pair of gloves while you get to grips with your new latex. So - you've got your latex, you're confident it's the right size, and you're ready to put it on and get the party started? STOP RIGHT THERE. Have you ordered a close-fitting item? Then slipping it over your skin is going to generate a huge amount of friction - imagine trying to push your finger into the bit you blow into on a balloon. Times 100. You'll need something to help ease you into it; we recommend Pjur bodyglide, a silicone-based lubricant, or you can also use talcum powder, if you don't mind the room you're getting ready in ending up looking like an explosion in a bakery. Talc also tends to leave a milky residue on your skin when you sweat - something we'll cover more in the next section.
Apply the talc or lubricant to the inside of the garment, or your skin, or both. Pull the latex on carefully, trying not to tug it or pull with your fingers (use your whole hand). Shift it into place, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go along, and pushing out air bubbles that may have gotten trapped against your skin. Look in the mirror. You look AWESOME.
One last thing - you'll want to get maximum shine from your latex, so you can use a cloth (or an old sock) to wipe a little Pjur over it at this stage (and don't forget to clean any excess talc from your skin) - or there are specialist latex-shining silicone sprays available which also help protect the latex. However, I have to put a big Health & Safety warning here: Both of these get everywhere and can be extremely slippery. If you are using lubricant, clean up any spillages and wash your hands before putting on your shoes. If you're using spray, be aware that it may settle on the floor. We recommend putting shoes on last - and perhaps in a different room from where you prepared your latex!
Step 3. Wearing it.
Right, that's the difficult bit over. Hopefully by now you've slid into your latex creation and are feeling like a goddess/superhero/rock star, or all three. The first thing you'll probably notice is how the latex feels like a second skin. This is the sensation that draws a lot of people to latex - other people like the faint scent of the material, others just like the way it looks or makes them feel. There's no right or wrong way to enjoy it - it's yours, have fun with it! Just a couple of things to be aware of:
It can get very hot in latex, but also, it won't protect you from the cold. So if you're planning on wearing your latex out to a club for the first time, make sure you're not going to overheat - wearing lots and lots of layers with your latex is going to potentially make you uncomfortable. Similarly, think about how chilly it's likely to be when you leave the event. Perhaps pack a different outfit for travelling home, or at least a big coat that will protect you from the elements!
On a related note - latex is not a breathable fabric, so if you're going out dancing all night, you will sweat, and the latex will not absorb it. It's not a big deal - but just be aware that when you go from a hot environment to a cold one, you may experience the rather unpleasant sensation of becoming suddenly aware of any sweat trapped in your clothing cooling rapidly!
Step 4. Taking it off
That was fun, wasn't it? :) Now time to remove your outfit. This should be a lot easier than putting it on; you should be able to slide it off, once again using your whole hand rather than pinching it with your fingers. Now I know it's tempting to leave it in a crumpled up pile, but please for the love of god don't do that as it will make Rose cry. Discarding your latex in a heap can lead to permanent creases and - guess what - you can't iron latex! So be smart and follow...
Step 5. Cleaning, protecting and storing.
The first thing you'll want to do is wash your latex. Now, I am sure that I don't need to say this but latex is NOT MACHINE WASHABLE. if you put it in your spin cycle, it WILL ruin it. I mean, I'm sure I didn't have to mention this, because Deadlies are generally a pragmatic people blessed with good common sense, but I feel better for saying it.
To clean your latex, fill up a basin or sink with lukewarm water and give it a good squirt of gentle soap like body wash or Fairy Liquid. Your latex doesn't need to be rigorously scrubbed because it doesn't absorb anything. You just want to give it a thorough rinse. Hang it up on a non-metal hanger (metal ones can cause discoloration) and it will drip dry surprisingly quickly. The latex may change colour or turn a bit whiteish while wet but don't be alarmed - it will go away once dry. Then; reverse the garment and dry the inside.
Once it's dry, we recommend talcing it again to stop it sticking it itself (if you leave latex stuck to itself for too long, it can start to deteriorate). You're then ok to pack your latex away - either hanging it from a non-metal hanger (avoid hanging it up by the straps as this can put too much pressure on them). It's very important to make sure your latex is stored away from sunlight - either in a black plastic bag or in a dark wardrobe. Long-term exposure to UV light will cause a chemical reaction in the latex which means it starts to break down. If you're being super-attentive, you can treat the latex with a protective coating before it gets put away. Well done - you're taking all the right steps to extending the lifespan of this product. Give yourself a pat on the back!
So now you should be ready to take your first tentative steps into a brave new world of shiny fashion! But before you do, please heed this final warning from our Health & Safety department;
If you're sensitive or allergic to rubber, THIS ISN'T THE STYLE FOR YOU. You might love the idea of latex, but a full body breakout of itchy hives isn't worth it, we've been told :) Or maybe it is. Choice is yours, but don't say we didn't warn you!
Hope this little do's and don'ts guide (gleaned from years of bitter experience) helps you with your adventures in latex!
*yes, Vegan-friendly! There are several types of latex, and most includes and ingredient called casein, which is a component in cow's milk. Many people (ourselves included, up until recently!) think that latex is rubber straight out of the tree, but this is most often not the case. So Rose uses casein-free sheet latex, casein-free liquid latex, and synthetic colourants which are free of animal products! Hurrah!