Latex rubber is used in many types of clothing. Rubber has traditionally been used in protective clothing, including gas masks and Wellington boots. Rubber is now generally being replaced in these application by plastics. Mackintoshes have traditionally been made from rubberized cloth.
Latex rubber as a clothing material is common in fetish fashion and among BDSM practitioners, and is often seen worn at fetish clubs. Latex is sometimes also used by couturiers for its dramatic appearance. Worn on the body it tends to be skin-tight, producing a "second skin" effect. It is also a lot more shiny than the more matte rubber. There are several magazines dedicated to the use and wearing of it.
Latex can be used to make leotards, bodysuits, stockings and gloves, as well as most items that can be made from 'traditional' fabrics. Latex is also often used to make specialist fetishistic garments like hoods and rubber cloaks.
Latex clothing is generally made from large sheets of latex which are delivered in rolls. The "classic" colour for fetishistic latex clothing is black, but latex is naturally translucent, and may be dyed any colour, including metallic shades or white. It can come in many different thicknesses ranging from about 0.18 mm thick up to whatever the manufacturer of the sheeting chooses, commonly this is about 0.5 mm though. Instead of being sewn, latex clothing is generally glued along its seams.
Because latex sheet is relatively weak, latex clothing needs special care to avoid tearing. Whilst latex can be repaired using materials similar to those provided in a bicycle repair kit, the result is rarely as attractive as the original appearance of the garment.
Latex clothing is often polished to preserve and improve its shiny appearance.
Putting on latex clothing can be difficult, because latex has high friction against dry skin. To make it easier to put on, wearers often use talc to reduce friction against the skin when putting the clothes on; then, because stray talc is very visible against the rubber, they polish off any visible talc. Another method of dressing is using lubricant (or 'lube') which provides a slippy surface for the latex to glide over. A third method of reducing or eliminating the high friction of latex when dressing is to chlorinate the rubber. Chlorine in gaseous form is generated by the reaction of hydrochloric acid and sodium hypochlorite. This chlorine bonds to the first few molecules on the surface of the isoprene (latex) and transforms them into neoprene. This process does not affect non-metallic colours or strength.
Latex may also be painted directly onto the body as latex in liquid form, which is also sometimes used to close seams in the creation of latex clothing. Removal of a full-body liquid latex garment can result in a lot of hair removal as well. It is important to prepare all contacted skin carefully before-hand to avoid this 'hair wax' scenario.
It is suggested in various TV and media that the "second skin" effect of latex can aid someone in being stealthy. It lacks the noises common to loose clothing and is less restrictive of movement.
This article is based on "Latex clothing" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Latex+clothing&action=history