When you think of latex, your mind probably travels to one of two extremes. Perhaps “latex” to you brings on the image of a bulky raincoat, shapeless and fully covering, perhaps with a pair of equally bulky boots to match. On the other hand, you might instead think of a slinky, sexy catsuit, such as that worn by Catwoman or the principal cast of The Matrix.
What do these two outfits have in common, besides merely being made out of latex? Simply put: neither of them are exactly what you would call “newbie-friendly”. The idea of wearing a latex raincoat throughout the day is probably not the most appealing even if you are a rubber fetishist. Meanwhile, the catsuit is extreme in its own way, likely bringing to mind associations with dimly lit clubs and practitioners of bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism (BDSM).
So, with those thoughts in mind, it’s easy to conclude well, wearing latex must simply not be for me.
However, we’re here to tell you that that is absolutely, one hundred percent, not true! While many of our staff members here at Laidtex occasionally enjoy playing around with full-enclosure suits, gas masks, hoods, and other “extreme” latex garments, every single one of us got our start into the world of rubber with something simple.
All of us started somewhere, and you can too! This specially crafted beginner’s guide will introduce you to a number of common terms used to describe latex garments as well as provide thorough, step by step advice regarding how to pick out novice-friendly latex pieces and accessories.
Follow this guide, and in no time at all, you’ll be rocking latex whenever and wherever you want!
We asked our staff what their number one piece of advice for rubberism newbies would be. Nearly every single Laidtex staffer responded with the two words which serve as the title of this section: start small.
Maybe you dream of clothing your submissive self in a full gimp suit as you fall to your knees in front of a commanding yet adoring Master or Mistress. Or perhaps you’d like to let your inner dominatrix fly free with the assistance of a slinky number which would make any incarnation of Catwoman proud. And those are great, awesome dreams, ones you should totally pursue!
But that’s not where you start.
Putting on one of those full-body suits is a pretty intense process. There are a number of factors which you have to take into account, from making sure the latex is properly lubed up to trimming your nails so that you don’t accidentally scratch or tear the material. And if you’re not used to latex, it’s extremely easy to neglect proper self-care and become overheated or uncomfortable throughout the day. (Don’t worry, our series of informative articles will cover all of these important topics and more!)
So work up to it. Pick out one or two smaller, less fully covering latex garments. If you’re especially nervous, it’s even OK to start with just an accessory! Our personal recommendations for a good “starter” piece of latex clothing would be:
- A pair of shorts or mini- or other above-the-knee skirt – least likely to overheat or produce uncomfortable friction or rubbing if improperly fitted
- An underwear and bra set – good if you’re nervous about wearing latex in public for the first time, since you can keep it hidden!
- Gloves or thigh-highs / stockings – gives you that sexy, classy look without being quite as intense as a full suit, easy to remove if you need a break, unlikely to overheat
- A pair of shoes, especially high heels or ankle boots – provides the latex look without as much of the distinctive feel or smell, lets you take it slow and get used to the rubber experience one step at a time
- A hairband, necklace or belt – small accessories like these can help you get used to expressing your identity as a latex fan without drawing much attention and while being acceptable in pretty much any social setting
Once you’ve picked out the perfect piece of latex, there are two important factors to understand and consider – ensuring that your fabulous new garment is both the proper size and the proper thickness.
Understanding Latex Thickness
Unlike most other clothing materials, latex not only comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors and styles, but also thicknesses.
The thickness of a piece of latex clothing affects both its durability and its relative stiffness or stretchiness. Generally, a thicker garment will be more durable and resistant to tears, snags, deformation, and wear and tear caused by heavy use. However, it will be significantly stiffer and less capable of stretching. On the other hand, thinner pieces of clothing will be extremely elastic but less durable and more likely to tear if snagged on a nail, button, or sharp piece of jewelry.
In addition, because of their greater stretchiness, thinner latex outfits are generally more forgiving when it comes to possible incorrect sizing. You will likely be able to still fit into your thin latex garment even if your measurements were a few inches off. Thicker, stiffer garments are significantly stricter; it is extremely important that you ensure your measurements are accurate before purchasing one of these outfits.
The thickness of a latex garment is also referred to as the gauge. The gauge is usually measured exclusively in millimeters due to the necessary of expressing extremely small numerical values.
Most pieces of latex clothing, including some models of full-body suit, feature a gauge of between 0.4 and 0.5 millimeters (mm). Thinner outfits may be produced with a gauge as low as 0.25mm, with values smaller than this almost never being seen due to their extreme fragility. Sturdier, thicker clothing will often have a gauge of between 1.0 and 1.5mm, with only extremely stiff, usually boned, corsets possessing a greater thickness.
It is important that you familiarize yourself with the gauge of each piece of latex clothing you intend to purchase before finalizing your decision. Some pieces are available in different varieties featuring a range of gauges in order to cater to both fans of elasticity and those who prefer thickness.
In order to help you familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly seen gauges for various popular garments, we have included the list below:
- Tights and stockings usually have a gauge of 25mm
- Legging-style pants, gloves, many accessories, and most models of suit (including catsuits, short suits and sleeveless suits) usually have a gauge of 4mm
- Shirts, dresses and jean- or slack-style pants usually have a gauge of 5mm
- Full enclosure (gimp) suits, temperature play suits and sensory deprivation suits can have a gauge of anywhere from 5mm to 1.5mm
- Corsets can have a gauge of anywhere from 5mm to 3.1mm, depending on how much compression of the waist is required
If you are new to the latex scene, we recommend starting out with lower-gauge garments – sticking within the standard 0.4mm to 0.5mm range. This will allow you to get used to the sensation of wearing latex without running a particularly high risk of overheating or dehydration. In addition, the more forgiving, elastic outfits are best for those who are not yet one hundred percent certain regarding their measurements.
Those who feel nervousness in regards to feeling too overly enclosed or trapped are recommended to begin with the thinnest type of garment, such as 0.25mm gauge tights or stockings.
If you are absolutely certain about starting with one of our thicker offerings (anything with a gauge of 1.0mm or higher), give the garment a “break in” period. Start out by wearing it for a few hours per day, taking it off when you get too hot or uncomfortable. Gradually increase your time spent in rubber until you are comfortable wearing it for a full day without experiencing any discomfort or other problems.
Once you’ve settled on the nature and gauge of the piece you wish to buy, it’s time to get out your measuring tape and determine what size you will need to purchase.
Sizing and Taking Your Measurements
As with most other types of clothing, designers and manufacturers of latex garments may utilize one of several different sizing patterns. For example, some might rely on the elastic nature of latex in order to focus on a line of “one size fits all” products. Others might advertise their focus on simplicity by using the lettering system of S (small) M (medium) and L (large). Yet others offer the greatest amount of customization and variety via numerical sizes, typically ranging anywhere from 0 to 20 or more.
What does this wide range of sizing strategies mean when it comes to buying latex? The answer is this: the surest way of choosing the right size for you is via the taking of your personal measurements.
You can measure yourself with a soft, flexible tape measure made of cloth or vinyl. Make sure to measure yourself while naked, as you will most likely not be wearing underwear beneath your latex outfit of choice. Looking in a full length mirror while you measure yourself might be helpful, as it will allow you to clearly confirm that the tape measure is positioned properly.
However, if you do not feel comfortable measuring yourself or are not certain that you have obtained accurate measurements, it is also possible to be measured by a professional, usually for a low price or even in some circumstances for free. Many tailors offer this service, as do several prominent undergarment and lingerie chains such as Victoria’s Secret.
Which measurements you will need to take will vary depending on what type of latex outfit you are purchasing. However, we find that it is always best to err on the side of quantity – taking more measurements than you need is far less of a problem than taking too few. Even if you are a regular wearer of latex, we recommend that you re-measure yourself if it has been some time since your last purchase, as the human body is constantly changing and shifting.
Below is a list of some of the most useful measurements which can be taken in order to properly size some common latex garments. We acknowledge that this list is not exhaustive, and encourage you to take any and all measurements you feel might be useful prior to your purchase, regardless of whether or not they are included in this article.
For Shirts, Vests and Corsets
- The circumference of the chest at the widest part of the breast (usually at the nipple for both males and females)
- The circumference of the chest just below the breast (on females, where the lower edge of a bra would rest)
- The circumference at the natural waist (the narrowest part of the waist, usually at the base of the ribcage slightly above the belly button, possibly below for some men)
- The width of the shoulders (from the very tip of the left shoulder to the very tip of the right)
- The depth of the “arm hole” (from the tip of the shoulder to the lowest point of the armpit)
- The circumference of the upper arm (at the widest part)
- The circumference of the lower arm (at the widest part)
- The circumference of the wrist
For Pants, Skirts, Leggings and Tights
- The circumference of the hips (at the top of the hipbone)
- The circumference of the buttocks (at the widest part)
- The distance from the natural waist to the crotch (start at the narrowest point of the waist as described in the preceding section, stop at the lowest point of the genital area)
- The circumference of the thigh (at the widest part)
- The circumference of the calf (at the widest part)
- The circumference of the ankle
- The full length of the lower body (from the natural waist to the sole of the foot or the ankle, depending on whether or not the garment covers the feet)
- The length of the leg (from the top of the hip to the sole of the foot or the ankle, depending on whether or not the garment covers the feet)
For Dresses and Catsuits
In addition to the measurements listed above, for any full-body garment you should also measure:
- The distance from the neck to the crotch (from the base of the neck to the lowest part of the genital area)
- The length and width of the hand
- The length and width of the foot
- The length of the neck (from the base of the skull to the top of the shoulder)
For Full Enclosure (Gimp) Suits and Hoods
- The circumference of the neck (at the widest part)
- The circumference of the head at the top (around the forehead)
- The circumference of the head at the widest part (passing over the nose)
- The circumference of the head at the chin
- The length of the head (from the top of the skull to the lowest point of the shin)
- The size and relative placement of the eyes
- The size and relative placement of the mouth
Although the amount of measurements required may seem daunting, remember that latex is extremely forgiving, and so imperfect measurements will in most cases NOT result in being unable to fit into your new latex outfit.
One last important point: If your attraction to latex primarily comes from feeling enclosed, bound or embraced, you can take up to 2-3 inches off your measurements when choosing a garment to purchase. Choosing a latex garment 2-3 inches smaller than the size of your actual body will produce the desired feeling of enclosure without posing any risk or damage.
Once you’ve decided on the gauge and size that’s right for you, you can go ahead and purchase your sexy brand new latex clothes! Once your purchase – or purchases! – arrive, head over to one of our many other informational articles geared at safely introducing our customers to every aspect of the rubberist lifestyle.
In particular, if you are new to latex, we recommend checking out “How To Put On a Latex Garment” here and “Maintaining, Cleaning and Storing Your Latex” here. Additionally, if you are interested in a catsuit, gimp suit or other full-body garment, check out our Guide to Suits found here.
Now that you know how to choose the perfect latex piece for you (or perhaps a rubber-loving friend or partner), head here to check out our fabulous catalog filled to the brim with sensual, fashionable garments in a wide variety of styles. And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us here at Laidtex at absolutely any time! We’re always ready to talk rubber with a fellow fan!