Forums > Model Colloquy > A Basic Primer on Latex Clothing and Care

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

I came up with this after seeing many of the same questions asked over and over. Here is a basic primer on most things to do with latex clothing all in one place. Feel free to add and comment smile

And now to add my credentials since I actually have some-- I've been a latex wearer for 6 years, modeling latex for 4 of them and am a latex designer (my brand being Pretty Thoughts). If you have a question, feel free to ask. Either I know the answer or can find it out for you. I only check this thread every few months so if you need an answer that isn't on here ASAP, message me directly.

A Basic Primer on Latex Clothing
By B. Debauchery

To preface this... exact care of latex differs from person to person, with experimentation and different products. Here is what I've compiled as a basic primer on latex.

Putting on Latex:
Some people use talcum powder, but I prefer silicone lube. Do not pull too heavily on one spot of the latex, as it can rip/tear/discolor. Most items I lube the inside of the piece and then the intended body part, with special attention paid to joints. Some items you'll find you won't need as much lube, but for harder items like catsuits and pants it makes it a lot easier! When putting on pants or a catsuit, I sit down and pull the legs on much like I would a pair of stockings.

Shining Latex:
Latex is normally matte, particularly when new. For that lovely high gloss shine that so many of us adore, its all about the silicone lube and/or shine spray. Slap it on there and rub it around. Grab a friend for some fun wink The newer a piece, the more lube it will absorb. A piece that has been worn several times will begin to retain some shine and will be soft and supple. Be sure to keep lube on hand during wear for when you need more (and you'll know when, you'll start sticking).

Washing latex:
I tend to wash my latex in the shower immediately after wearing it out or when I've sweat a lot in it. Otherwise, I try to wash my latex as soon as I can after wear. I use a mild soap like baby shampoo and warm water, being sure to get the inside and outside. Once done, I hang it to dry on a plastic hanger without any of my pieces touching each other (this is particularly important for white and transparent latex).

Storing latex:
Latex should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. I use gallon ziploc bags and fold/store each piece individually. I then put the bags of clothing into a bin I keep in my closet or under my bed for organizational purposes. Do not store latex in sunlight! Some people will say to dust with talcum powder, but I've never had the need or desire to as I wear mine with enough frequency. If you don't plan to wear a piece for few months, a light dusting of talcum powder does help. Be sure to store white, light colored and transparent latex carefully and separate from other colors. Even with the best of care, these colors will eventually discolor and stain very easily.

Things that latex should be kept away from:
-Perfume, including scented soap, talcum, etc (degrades)
-Metal, particularly copper + nickel (stains permanently)
-Sunlight (discolors and degrades)
-Sharp objects, including long finger nails
-Oils/Waxes (degrades)
-Alcohol/Beverages (if any is spilled on you, wipe off with a damp paper towel)
-Nicotine/Smoke (discolors, light colors and transparent in particular)
-Sweat (degrades)
-Water/High humidity (rots)
-Leather (oils from production can degrade)
-Heat (melts, degrades)
-Sunblock (immediately discolors)

There's a metal zipper on my piece, I thought you shouldn't put metal on latex?
Its true, some metals such as copper, nickel and any alloy containing both discolor latex. If you're worried, you can (at your own risk) paint the metal piece with a coat of clear nail polish. If it is a quality brand such as Polymorphe or Libidex, you have nothing to worry about. For my brand, I personally coat all metal with a coat of acryllic. Do not however, put change in a pocket or hang your latex to dry over a metal rod. That WILL discolor the latex.

I'm worried about the hanger stretching out my heavy piece at the shoulders
As you should be! Get a nice, thick plastic hanger--wood would also do--and leave it to dry only as long as it needs to (my experience is a few hours). Then, fold it up and store it properly. Never use hangers that have metal on them, and be wary of using clips to hang latex (some can leave marks). When in doubt, hang it over the bar of the hanger. Hanging as a long-term storage option is not recommended.

So I've ripped my latex, what can I do?
Send it to a professional to be repaired, especially if you've used silicone lube. Many designers offer repair services as well, and definitely contact the maker/manufacturer of your piece first. Ask local latex wearers who they recommend, as well as local shops that sell latex. Chlorinated latex is extremely difficult to repair if at all. Some damage is too extensive be repaired--and for that I offer my deepest condolences.

My latex got stained, what can I do?
Not much, unfortunately. If you really want to make the attempt, get some clean scrap pieces of white latex and sandwich the two pieces together, such as under a book. Repeat as necessary with clean scrap pieces of white latex. The stain should slowly transfer onto the lighter piece of latex.

Non silicone oil (such as mineral/baby oil or petroleum jelly) got on my latex and sat a bit, causing raised bumps, what can I do?
First, immediately wash the area with soap. Then at your earliest convenience, soak the piece in lukewarm water with a degreasing dishsoap. A bathtub is best, swish it around a bit. Rinse and repeat as necessary, then condition (preference on Turtle Wax F21).

I want to bring my latex with me when I travel
Awesome! I bring a small container of lube that is below the maximum amount for TSA regulations. I also bring extra gallon ziploc bags with me and my own plastic hangers for drying.

Where can I buy latex?
First and foremost, do your research on brands and designers before buying latex. If your city has a shop that sells latex clothing then that is a great place to start. Don't hesitate to ask the sales associate questions. If there isn't a store that you can buy latex at near you, or no selection that you like, there is always online shopping. Here you'll tend to find deals and sales that may not reflect in store. Personally, I like to buy direct from the designer or brand, as you tend to get the best prices that way.

Latex is SOOO expensive and I can't afford any of it
That is true, latex can be very expensive. The cheaper the latex, the tendency is to be the cheaper the quality. However, there are ways to find lower cost latex. Ebay has some great finds, but also has some real rip-offs. Always know the brand of the latex and where it is coming from. Research! For female latex wearers especially, models resell some of their wardrobe and they're usually great people to buy from. There's also the option of asking designers if you can purchase any show pieces. These are pieces that have been worn in fashion shows and on shoots and can't be sold otherwise. Not every designer has show pieces but you can always ask. Also, many designers and brands run sales throughout the year. Subscribe to blogs and newsletters, and you'll be in the know wink

What lube should I use?
Silicone. As for specific brands, everyone has their own preference. I use Pjur, but have heard good things about Gun Oil, Vivishine, and Turtle Wax F21 (shining, use a sponge). I use Wet Platinum in a pinch as well.

Do I have to use talcum powder?
No, that is entirely up to you and if you choose to use it. If you use talcum powder, make sure it is unscented!

What should I look for when buying latex?
If you are in a store purchasing latex, look at the seams. Are they even and neat? Was there too much glue used so that its creeping out of the seams onto the outside of the garment? Or was there not enough glue, with seams flapping and starting to come apart? Are the edges neat and/or reinforced? Are any button holes neatly cut and/or reinforced? Is zipper reinforced? A quality piece is neatly glued and put together. High stress areas are either expertly put together and/or reinforced. Look for any discoloration, stains, rips, and tears from someone else trying it on/ shipping and storing. When purchasing online, research the brand and/or seller. You can also ask what latex sheeting they use to make their clothing, the two common and popular quality brands being 4d and Radical Rubber.

What's gauging and what does it have to do with latex?
Latex sheeting thickness is measured in millimeters, and that is it's gauge. Most garments are between .33 and .5mm thick. A thin gauge is under .33mm thick and is very delicate. A heavier, thicker guage can run up to 1mm and 1.5mm. What gauge you want to buy depends on the garment and your personal preference. A heavy 1.5mm gauge is great for corsets, but a .2mm probably wouldn't hold up. I prefer a thin gauge on gloves and hoods. Some people prefer the very thin, delicate gauges, while others like a very thick, heavy rubber. If you're not sure where to start, start in the middle, around .4-.5mm

What size should I buy?
If you want the typical skin tight look, always buy smaller than your actual size. Having your exact measurements helps tons in selecting the right size piece. Generally look for an inch or two below your actual size. Latex does stretch, but only 10-15% Sizing varies between designers and manufacturers, and many have their own measurements to equal sizes 1-5, or S-L. When in doubt, ask the seller. Many are more than happy to help you!

I'm wearing latex outside and need to wear sunblock, what should I do?
Many people simply forgo wearing sunblock while wearing latex outside as sunblock immediately and permanently damages latex. After some experiments I found that using a spray sunblock and letting it dry COMPLETELY before dressing is the way to go. Make sure the latex piece is fully lubed so there's a thin layer between the latex and the sunblock on your skin.

What the heck is chlorination?
Chlorination is a relatively new finishing process for latex that isn't very common yet. It induces a chemical change to the surface of the latex that makes it permanently smooth and silky. There is no more need for dressing aids, and shining is optional. No sticking, no mess, and best of all, the ability to mix and match latex with other fabrics. This opens up a whole new world of latex design, and also makes latex available to those who aren't interested in the hassle of traditional latex (lengthy dressing times, silicone based lubricant, etc). The chemical change is permanent to the latex. The latex becomes slightly stiffer, but still has the stretch and flexibility (approx 15% in all directions). Chlorinated latex does have the tendency to wrinkle more, but that is easily taken care of with a bit of steam and hanging up. The only draw back that I've found is that repair is much more difficult. Some latex purists are against it, and it's not common due to the process being new and difficult. There are a handful of companies world-wide who offer chlorination as a service. I personally offer chlorination services through my brand of latex clothing, Pretty Thoughts

Jun 17 09 08:46 am Link

Model

Solstice Rain

Posts: 13687

Davenport, Florida, US

Thank you for sharing this good information. I find it easier to use talc on the inside for things such as leggings. But that's a preference I guess.
Something I've found that works as a good trick in the suitcase to keep latex pieces from touching if you don't have plastic bags, I use a sheet to be able to lay pieces flat and then fold the sheet over them.(like a fan fold, alternating back and forth) The folds keep the pieces seperated and organized and is good to keep things together if you're going to be changing from outfit to outfit over the course of time and don't have time to clean them properly until later. It absorbes extra moisture and lube from the pieces as well. Just be sure to use an old sheet that you don't mind getting possibly discolored. Keeps your suitcase well organized and makes it easy to find a piece quickly. Also works for PVC pieces that you don't want sticking together.

Jun 17 09 09:15 am Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Ooh, what a great idea with a sheet! I'll need to try that on a shoot.

Also, just to add in general, never put your latex in the washer and/or dryer. Really.

Jun 17 09 09:32 am Link

Model

Laragh

Posts: 1395

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Someone told me you can use armour all (the stuff you use on your car) to shine latex...
won't this mess with the glue?


Also, what type of glue is best for repairing a seem that the glue has worn out on?

Jun 17 09 11:37 am Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Lamia_ wrote:
Someone told me you can use armour all (the stuff you use on your car) to shine latex...
won't this mess with the glue?


Also, what type of glue is best for repairing a seem that the glue has worn out on?

I know people who use armour all. But that is a preference, not an absolute.

You can do a DIY seam repair with rubber cement, but I always suggest for the best results to get someone experienced with latex making and/or repair to handle it.

Jun 17 09 06:30 pm Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3758

Germantown, Maryland, US

All good info for sure. If you add a capful of Vivishine to the last rinse, your latex won't need as much shining lube the next time you wear it.

How is your latex designing going? I'd love to see what you make.

Vic

Jun 17 09 07:38 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Red Sky Photography wrote:
All good info for sure. If you add a capful of Vivishine to the last rinse, your latex won't need as much shining lube the next time you wear it.

How is your latex designing going? I'd love to see what you make.

Vic

Definitely! I need to get my hands on some Vivishine


Mostly been working on repair and technique. I did make a simple top this morning big_smile Nothing fancy yet, but I am getting there!

Jun 18 09 10:38 am Link

Photographer

sospix

Posts: 23511

Orlando, Florida, US

Think I'll just stick to my Speedo  .  .  .  that sounds like WAY too much work  .  .  .  wink

SOS

Jun 18 09 10:40 am Link

Model

deletedthisaccount

Posts: 499

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

great helpful info. smile

Will latex stick to itself and perish if it is kept (in darkness etc) for a few months?

I'm scared my pieces will stick and tear when i go to pull them apart... is this where i should dust with talc?

xx

Sep 01 09 07:03 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Raeoni wrote:
great helpful info. smile

Will latex stick to itself and perish if it is kept (in darkness etc) for a few months?

I'm scared my pieces will stick and tear when i go to pull them apart... is this where i should dust with talc?

xx

A light dusting of talcum powder (unscented!) on the clean latex would definitely help when storing for long periods. Another option instead of talcum powder would be to condition the latex with silicone lube before storing. Storing properly is also key.

Mostly, be careful when pulling the latex apart and try not to stress any weak or small areas.

Sep 01 09 07:16 pm Link

Photographer

David Weiss

Posts: 7130

Oshkosh, Wisconsin, US

For cleaning you may want to try wetsuit shampoo.  It is safe for latex neck and wrist seals on drysuits.

https://www.mcnett.com/Assets/ProductImages/TctProducts/CtWsds8ozMn.jpg

http://www.mcnett.com/Wet-Suit-Dry-Suit … -P239.aspx

Feb 05 10 04:06 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

David Weiss wrote:
For cleaning you may want to try wetsuit shampoo.  It is safe for latex neck and wrist seals on drysuits.

https://www.mcnett.com/Assets/ProductImages/TctProducts/CtWsds8ozMn.jpg

http://www.mcnett.com/Wet-Suit-Dry-Suit … -P239.aspx

That's up to personal preference. I've never heard of anyone using it, so I personally wouldn't recommend it.

Feb 05 10 04:16 pm Link

Model

Mika

Posts: 1542

Miami, Florida, US

Should it be noted to use unscented talcum powder?

Feb 05 10 04:20 pm Link

Model

ela darling

Posts: 36

Los Angeles, California, US

This is awesome, thanks for posting this!  I want to start working with more latex and this is going right into my "Awesome Info" folder on my desktop!

Feb 06 10 12:13 am Link

Model

Tessara

Posts: 474

Corning, California, US

What are the top designers/brands you'd suggest? I came across a company that has affordable latex clothing but was wondering if anyone had experience with it? The brand is Scarlet Bliss.

Mar 19 10 03:32 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Bots

Posts: 8020

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Some links for the make it yourself minded. 

Remember latex as a material is not entirely stable and has a limited lifespan, a real shame considering how well it photographs.


http://makinglatexclothing.com/category … nd-how-to/
http://makinglatexclothing.com/links/
http://www.latexsheeting.com/
http://elasticaengineering.com/zencart/

Mar 20 10 04:52 am Link

Model

Kaia

Posts: 1563

Dallas, Texas, US

great thread, thanks!

Mar 20 10 06:22 am Link

Clothing Designer

TONY G ALPHA

Posts: 62

New York, New York, US

Great info! Thanks.

Mar 20 10 08:41 am Link

Model

YvonneEmilie

Posts: 3641

Brooklyn, New York, US

Thank you very much for this! 

I've never worn latex, but I might in the future.  I'm going to save this info to a word document in case I need it.

Mar 20 10 01:05 pm Link

Model

M A R A

Posts: 497

Portland, Oregon, US

Tessara wrote:
What are the top designers/brands you'd suggest? I came across a company that has affordable latex clothing but was wondering if anyone had experience with it? The brand is Scarlet Bliss.

I love Scarlet Bliss latex pieces. smile

I've had a custom piece made by her and modeled a catsuit by her and both were awesome.

Mar 20 10 07:48 pm Link

Model

Tessara

Posts: 474

Corning, California, US

Thanks! I was thinking about just getting a simple affordable piece to start out with. Just to be sure I like wearing it.

Mar 21 10 11:40 am Link

Model

M A R A

Posts: 497

Portland, Oregon, US

Tessara wrote:
Thanks! I was thinking about just getting a simple affordable piece to start out with. Just to be sure I like wearing it.

I know some of her pieces are not ones she makes but ones she orders. I have only worn those she made herself. But you can always email. smile

Mar 21 10 11:55 am Link

Model

Tessara

Posts: 474

Corning, California, US

I have a question about sizing. My measurements are 32/33 bust, 24 waist, 34 hips (fullest part of butt) will a dress with unstretched size of Bust: 28" Waist: 23" Hip: 30" fit me?

Thanks!

May 14 10 12:22 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Tessara wrote:
I have a question about sizing. My measurements are 32/33 bust, 24 waist, 34 hips (fullest part of butt) will a dress with unstretched size of Bust: 28" Waist: 23" Hip: 30" fit me?

Thanks!

For me, that would be a bit too small-- I try not to have latex stretch more than 3 inches at most. The official answer is that you can expect latex to stretch 10-15%

May 14 10 04:35 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

- Mikazuki - wrote:
Should it be noted to use unscented talcum powder?

Yes, if you choose to use talcum powder. But in avoidance with perfumes and oils, it applies to anything you might be using to assist with your latex (soap, talcum powder, lube, etc)

May 14 10 04:37 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Tessara wrote:
What are the top designers/brands you'd suggest? I came across a company that has affordable latex clothing but was wondering if anyone had experience with it? The brand is Scarlet Bliss.

Her really cheap stuff is really cheap-- it's resold from a European supplier and is typically molded rubber (seamed/hand glue is pretty consistently higher quality and better fit). It's not bad if you're just looking to see if you want to build a wardrobe, however, and is better than some of the other really cheap molded latex brands. I don't have any personal experience with things that she's made herself, and haven't heard anything praising or dissing it.

Brands/designers I recommend
Dawnamatrix http://dawnamatrix.com/
HMSLatex http://www.hmslatex.com/
Polymorphe http://www.polymorphe.com/
Jane Doe Latex http://www.janedoelatex.com/
Syren http://www.syren.com/
Vex http://www.vexclothing.com/
Ego Assassin http://www.ego-assassin.com/
Westward Bound http://www.westwardbound.com/
Atsuko Kudo http://www.atsukokudo.com/
Latex Nemesis http://www.latexnemesis.com/

there's prolly more, but this is off the top of my head

May 14 10 04:41 pm Link

Model

Tessara

Posts: 474

Corning, California, US

Thanks for the info!!!

May 14 10 06:59 pm Link

Model

miss pandora

Posts: 1545

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

This is such an awesome thread! I'm looking to borrow some latex from a designer-dunno how that's gonna work out-for an upcoming shoot. So I really appreciate these tips!

May 14 10 07:50 pm Link

Model

No name22

Posts: 60

Oceanside, California, US

is a shine spray required to use along with silicone lubricant?

Nov 07 10 08:11 pm Link

Model

No name22

Posts: 60

Oceanside, California, US

i read somewhere that when you are first lubing a latex piece you have to do it in layers so that the latex absorbs the lube.  is that right?  is using a soft, clean paintbrush ok for lube application?

Nov 07 10 08:13 pm Link

Photographer

Red Sky Photography

Posts: 3758

Germantown, Maryland, US

Amy DeLaCroux wrote:
i read somewhere that when you are first lubing a latex piece you have to do it in layers so that the latex absorbs the lube.  is that right?  is using a soft, clean paintbrush ok for lube application?

I generally pre shine the garment before the model puts it on, then do touch ups in front of a strong light source so you can see where more lube is needed.

I rub it in with my hands with the garment laying on a clean towel.

If you are using a silicone spray, make sure the model covers her face so she doesn't breath in the spray.

Nov 08 10 03:22 am Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Susan Wayland just posted this on her blog-- lots of good info, even for the experienced wearer (like sunblock? didn't know it instantly and permanently discolored your latex)

http://www.susanwaylandblog.com/Latex-T … e-Part-1-3

Apr 01 11 09:04 am Link

Model

MissLoLo

Posts: 1089

Leonardtown, Maryland, US

Insanely helpful, thanks so much for posting! bunny

Jun 02 11 06:04 pm Link

Model

Sadie Seuss

Posts: 7532

Saint Augustine, Florida, US

B Debauchery and her info are both super awesome big_smile

Jun 02 11 06:46 pm Link

Model

KathTea Monroe

Posts: 77

Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Anybody have experience with the following store?

http://thelatexstore.com/categories.php?cat=7

I am highly interested in buying from here since the prices are low and the currency exchange won't be as painful.

Dec 13 11 06:42 am Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

KathTea wrote:
Anybody have experience with the following store?

http://thelatexstore.com/categories.php?cat=7

I am highly interested in buying from here since the prices are low and the currency exchange won't be as painful.

I think I ordered a pair of molded gloves from them once upon a time. Can't remember.

They stock several brands of latex. Molded is pretty cheap quality wise. It's gonna feel and look that way. They have some decent mid-range brands on there-- I recognize some of the pictures/items from Honour. Really depends on what you're looking to order.

I wouldn't recommend a very expensive/complicated piece for a first latex item. The first piece you own always ends up bearing the brunt of learning how to care for latex. Just a little FYI smile

Jan 22 12 05:15 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Sadie Seuss wrote:
B Debauchery and her info are both super awesome big_smile

Aww, thank you smile

Jan 22 12 05:15 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Hayley Alys MUA

Posts: 981

London, England, United Kingdom

Thanks for this info!

Once I reach my goal weight-loss (only 10-15 more pounds) I wanted to celebrate and get a latex pencil skirt smile

Sooo that being said, I've book marked this, cheers!

Jan 22 12 05:24 pm Link

Model

Nedah Oyin

Posts: 11826

Chicago, Illinois, US

i.. i think i love you..

Jan 22 12 05:30 pm Link

Model

B Debauchery

Posts: 5743

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Hayley Alys MUA wrote:
Thanks for this info!

Once I reach my goal weight-loss (only 10-15 more pounds) I wanted to celebrate and get a latex pencil skirt smile

Sooo that being said, I've book marked this, cheers!

Psh, get it now! Latex fits like fancy spanx smile Sucks you in and holds you up in all the right places big_smile

(and congrats on your weight-loss!)

Jan 22 12 05:31 pm Link