From Billie Eilish wearing latex gloves and stockings on the cover of British Vogue to ASOS carrying latex co-ords, latexwear has gone mainstream. But what actually is latex? Unlike visually similar materials such as vinyl or PU leather, which are made up of plastics and other synthetic materials, latex is actually a form of rubber harvested as sap from trees. “It is a vegan material,” says fashion assistant and vlogger Zoia Murzova. “It’s an investment, and demands care, but compared to other materials, it’s harmless to the environment.” “Wearing latex can be an exciting journey, and quite transformative,” says Simon Hoare, co-director of Atsuko Kudo, the London-based couture latex label responsible for designing Eilish’s latex accessories (as well as looks for Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, and Bella Hadid).
“It’s worth the hassle,” says celebrity stylist Simone Beyene — whose clients include pop star Mabel. “I do not think it’s for everyone, but if you really like clothes, then give it a go.” Beyene concedes that whilst there is a “long list of things to check off” when dealing with latex, “once you’ve done it once, it’s no longer that intimidating.”
We asked five experts — including a celebrity stylist and a latex-enthusiast/fetishest — about their favourite latex pieces. Read on for our expert-informed guide on how to shop for latex, as well as 12 latexwear pieces ranging from luxury to less-expensive garments, lingerie, and accessories. Just one more thing: despite its natural origins, latex can (however rarely) provoke an allergic reaction when introduced to the skin. If you suspect that you may be allergic to the material, an allergen test from your GP is the surest way to find out.
How to choose and care for your latexwear
If you’ve never bought a latex piece before, it can be hard to know where to start. When it comes to sizing your garments, Simone Hoare, co-director of Atsuko Kudo, recommends precision: “We always encourage customers to either come to our London store for a fitting or to supply measurements to achieve the perfect fit. We would always encourage using a tailor’s measuring tape to aim for the most accurate outcome as possible.”
As for actually getting into your latex pieces, the team recommends lathering talcum powder or a water-based lubricant on the inside of your garment. “Lubricants offer a cleaner finish overall, and are better for transparent latex or tighter-fitting garments such as leggings, catsuits and gloves,” says Hoare.
The process of caring for your garment is just as important as fit. With latex, “the more care and attention you give it, the better it will be,” says Hoare. “All of our garments come with a comprehensive set of care instructions. We have specially formulated latex polish that should be used before and after wear to shine, clean, and maintain the condition of your latex. Always stock your garment fully talced (to avoid sticking) and away from UV light; also, try to avoid washing your garment unless absolutely necessary. Water tends to be trapped by the latex, so should only be used as a last resort.” Hoare encourages customers to refrain from fake tan and oily moisturisers before wearing latex, as they can discolour the garment. Whilst Atsuko Kudo’s team encourages any complete newbies to send further questions their way, latex beginners can also find plenty of tips and tricks online from the LatexAdvice subreddit or via their preferred kink blogs.
Best latex dresses and bodies
“Atsuko Kudo are truly masters of latex couture,” says Beyene. When it came to styling Mabel for her collaboration with Clean Bandit, Beyene said she selected latex for its unique texture. “Nothing else sits quite as tight or catches the light to complement movement.” She dressed Mabel in this latex bodysuit in cream with a long-sleeve brown latex bolero for the “Tick Tock” music video. “The colours just felt right, and they were so beautiful together.” Whilst the cream colour is currently unavailable, the bodysuit can currently be purchased in black and gold.
For a dressier option, Simone covets this evening gown with a mid-thigh slit. “When you see this gown in person, you’re not struck with the thought of latex as fetishwear, but just that you’re staring at a stunning dress.” She does warn, however, that the garment can get a bit sweaty, describing the end-of-the-evening situation as “kind of a pool — but worth it!”
Beyene also recommended the younger latex brand Studio FCLX: “They’re doing super-interesting things that I haven’t seen the likes of elsewhere.” She favours the brand’s bodysuits, which she’d pair with some high-waisted trousers for an edgy look. She’s also keen on its nude styles with running prints, which she says she’s eyeing up for an upcoming client project.
“If you’re looking to get into latex on a budget, then Etsy is your best friend,” says fashion image-maker and stylist Eleanor Thorndyke. “This seller in particular has so many cute items you could wear from a girls night out to the bedroom for a feeling of unparalleled power.”
Thorndyke also told us about the brand Lupae; she praises it as “one of the most inclusive when it comes to gender and femme expression.” This lilac bodysuit is Thorndyke’s favourite due to “its juxtaposition of simplicity and boldness.” It’s a piece that can be styled both “casually and erotically,” she says. Thorndyke recommends incorporating latex into raving outfits as a beginners way to introduce the material into your wardrobe. “Lupae has so many co-ords, including a skirt to match this bodysuit,” she says. “I believe [these sets] are the easiest choice for anyone looking to ‘casualise’ latex into a wardrobe.”
Poppy Scarlett, latex enthusiast, fetishest, and owner of sex-toy boutique Self & More, regularly shops at independent, affordable latex stores. “There are so many smaller crafters working with latex,” she says, probably because of “the fact that it’s a material that can’t be mass produced, that has to be worked by hand, so creators with a great knowledge of patterns are making these pieces.” One such smaller store whose products she covets is Eustratia latex, for its use of texture, “beautiful construction,” and touch of regality. “The high-neck cup set has a different shape than any other top I’ve seen. It makes me feel like I’m from outer space!”
“If you’re looking at latex with an eye purely for fashion rather than fetish, then Elissa Poppy should be on your radar,” says Scarlett. Whilst definitely on the more expensive end of our guide, the dresses from Elissa Poppy offer a “high-fashion perspective of latex,” with its range including both bejewelled lingerie and party dresses. Scarlett currently has her eye on this hesperia white gown made of Marbletex material (latex in a marbled pattern). “If you have £500 to spend on a dress, then it’s definitely worth it.”
Best latex lingerie
For lingerie, Beyene once again recommends the range by Atsuko Kudo, suggesting its Paris Bra for a latex first-timer. “The way it’s cut is so flattering,” she says. ‘I would recommend this to smaller cup sizes. If you’re larger on the bust, Atsuko Kudo do other bras that would be more suitable.”
Best latex accessories
“I love a good dog collar on a night out,” says Thorndyke, referencing her choker collection from handmade UK boutique Insatiable Lust. Thorndyke recommends the brand to fans of edgier accessories, but recommends latex accessories in general as a stepping stone into the world of the material. “Jewellery isn’t perhaps as aggressive as some other latex pieces may seem to the average person walking by,” she says. Insatiable Lust is temporarily inactive on Etsy, but we found another latex choker from Lady Lucie, a latex brand favoured by Scarlett.
“Budding rubberists will want to stock up on some essentials, such as latex gloves and stockings from Libidex,” says Scarlett. She recommended Libidex not merely for its range of products, but also its inclusive range of sizes. “The latex industry is interesting, as a lot of images that we see show slimmer models when, actually, latex is perfectly suitable for any body shape,” she says. Each product from Libidex is available in sizes XXS to 6XL, and foot size UK 3 to UK 14.
We also spied these latex stockings by Savage by Fenty. According to Savage, the hold-ups are made of ‘100 percent premium latex’ and available to shop in both black and red. Regular customers can buy them for £75, but for Savage VIP members, they’re currently heavily reduced, at £20.
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