Review: Latex Thigh High Stockings by Lust Designs
Disclosure: The lingerie in this review was purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own. I received the stockings at a discount when I modeled for the designer. Lust Designs is unaffiliated with this review.
I bought myself a pair of latex thigh-high stockings when I modeled for Lust Designs four years ago. The rest of the ensemble was a latex French maid outfit, if you were curious. The latex stockings I bought are made of opaque black latex and are a size Extra Small, and retail for $150.
At this point, they're the only latex I own (though that's likely to change) and I have only worn them a few times... but they fit like a dream, despite a solid 15 pound weight gain since their original purchase. Wearing latex instead of fabric is definitely a unique experience.
The Experience of Wearing Latex
When I wore my latex thigh-highs to an art modeling shift - hey, it was femme fatale day! - I got a taste of what it must feel like for corset neophytes to wear their corsets out in the world for the first time. I lubed up my legs (more on that later) and spent a laborious several minutes sliding the stockings on.
As with vintage stockings, care must be taken when putting on latex. Try to use only the pads of your fingers; a careless fingernail can rip your expensive latex. For styling, I wanted to give the outfit a contrast in textures, so I wore a teal dress with a chunky, cotton-y lace overlay. As I walked to work and rode the bus, I was very aware of my legs and their alien shininess. I felt certain that everyone was looking me, though I realistically knew that in San Francisco one sees far stranger sights and far naked-er women on a daily basis. Aside from the fetish factor, my outfit was quite modest, but it evoked a hyper-awareness of my presence in the world.
Part of what makes things like latex and corsets "fetish" garments, I think, is that they heighten our personal awareness, anchoring us to our corporeal existence, rather than blocking it out in a haze of spandex jersey and elastic waist bands. Wearing latex also drastically increases temperature sensitivity. It's not breathable, so when it's hot, you're really hot. Step outside of a hot club and into a brisk evening and suddenly your sweat turns to ice and the chill can be biting.
Latex and Lube
Let's go back to the lube. You need to lube yourself and the interior of any latex garment to put it on. The type of lube you use will affect both the ease of getting dressed and the feeling of the latex on your skin.
I couldn't remember what kind of lube I was supposed to be using so I quickly skimmed several articles, including Lust Designs' own A Beginner's Guide to Latex Clothing, panicked when I thought I didn't have the right kind, then let out a sigh of relief when I found mixed answers and went with what was on-hand, which was water based. It turns out, Penny of Lust Designs doesn't recommend water based lubricant because it is stickier and dries faster. This makes it harder to put the latex on. Oh, and also? Remember to shave your legs. The stickiness grabbing tiny leg hairs can be uncomfortable. Unless you're into that - for some, the mild discomfort is part of the fun of wearing latex, and doesn't necessarily register as discomfort per se.
After that, I bought a bottle of Lust's recommended silicone lube (from Lust, $16 well spent). My next time putting on the latex stockings went literally much more smoothly, and they were more comfortable on my legs. The same lube can also be used to shine the exterior of the latex. Just pour some into your hand or on the garment and rub it in.
Lust Design's Classic Thigh High Stockings: Fit and Construction
Penny took my measurements and whipped up a pair of her standard size Extra Small stockings. At the time, I was definitely an XS across the board (not so true now). They fit so well that I actually thought she had made them custom for me! Four years and fifteen pounds later, they still fit fantastically well. One of the great things about latex is that, because it's so stretchy, it can be pretty forgiving like that.
As for the construction, there is a back "seam" and a front "seam." Seams in latex are much more flat than on regular clothing because the pieces are simply overlapped and bonded together. There's no concern about fraying/raveling so raw edges can be semi-exposed. The left and right sides are symmetric and virtually reversible - there doesn't seem to be a "right side" and a wrong side/inside.
Latex can make you pretty sweaty and it has zero breathability so there's nowhere for sweat to go. Lust Designs' stockings are cut with a peep toe so that your sweat doesn't pool and make you slip (ew). I try to make sure that the edge of the peep toe is positioned so that I won't feel it when I walk and stand, but if your feet are less sensitive it probably doesn't matter - the edge of the latex is quite thin. Lust also makes a couple other styles of thigh high - a contrast band and "backseam" style and one with a heart motif and backseam.
Custom fit stockings are 20% more than the RTW price. (As an aside, one great thing about Lust Designs is that they have a well-deserved reputation for being able to fit ALL figures, particularly plus-sized curvy girls.)
I'll admit I've been taking pretty shoddy care of my stockings, but they seem none the worse for it. The latex doesn't seem to hold onto my sweat once I take them off so they don't need to be washed as often as you might think. It's probably about time for me to pop them in the sink with a bit of cool water and mild soap - easy enough to do, even in a tiny bathroom.
Like corsets or anything else, the frequency of washing will be dependent on your body chemistry; you have to find the balance between the damage intrinsically caused by washing a garment and that caused by your body's sweat, skin cells, and oils, as well as, of course, the hygiene factor. There are full care instructions on the Lust Designs, "The Care and Feeding of Your Latex," page.
Signs of Wear and Longevity of Latex
The one sign of wear I have seen on my stockings has been on the heels and balls of the feet, where the latex has taken on a slightly scuffed appearance. This is partially because I need to shine them but also a to-be-expected factor of the abrasion from wearing shoes.
After I wear my latex stockings, I fold them up and pop them into a sandwich bag, which lives with my other thigh-highs in a drawer. Metal discolors latex, so it's really important to be cognizant of where you store your latex and the accessories and other garments you wear it next to... like garter clips. Luckily, with opaque black, discoloration isn't an issue, but light colored and transparent latex is more prone to discoloration, from metal, sunlight, soaps, etc. Baby powder or tissue paper can also be utilized for storing latex. Eventually, latex can become brittle... but I think that's a process that can take a decade or more.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that some people are allergic to latex. If you're allergic, chances are you know by now, but what about everyone around you? Luckily, unlike peanuts or scent, latex allergy (in my experience) has to be triggered by touch rather than mere proximity. If you want to wear a sexy spanking skirt as a surprise for a partner, you might want to double check that it won't make them break out in hives!
All told, I'm really excited to have rediscovered my latex stockings. I am very impressed with the quality of construction and fit, given how I have alternatingly ignored and mistreated my stockings over the past four years. I'm definitely planning to buy more latex from Lust Designs, whose retro-modern aesthetic resonates strongly with my own personal taste... I'm thinking a tea-length transparent circle skirt will be my next purchase. In a city like San Francisco, "daywear style" can be pretty eclectic and I'd love to bring more lingerie-outerwear and niche designers into my personal look.
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