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Latex, Vinyl or PVC - what's the difference?
Latex catsuit, vinyl dress or PVC bodysuit, it is often a jungle to figure out just exactly what you should be looking for, when we talk about the strikingly erotic shiny material. Here we’re dealing with three materials which in so many ways, look quite similar. Therefore, the different terms tend to be used interchangeably by retailers when describing clothing made from shiny, plastic-coated textiles. This often makes this universe even more confusing and difficult to understand.
The three materials are quite different from each other, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
At COAX Copenhagen, we have several requests from customers, looking for styles with this elegant shiny surface and often they request latex. However, it is extremely rare that it is a latex wear that they’re after. The customer may have an idea of what he/she wants, but when the different expressions of the materials are thrown around, it is not easy to know exactly which one suits your needs.
We will therefore go more into details about the three different and often indistinguishable materials, so that it will be easier for you to find exactly the dress, catsuit or skirt you fancy.
Latex is the material most people associate with the skin-tight and shiny look. However, latex is an extremely sensitive material and although it looks strikingly appealing and sexy, it does not have many other advantages.
Latex is not a breathable material and is therefore very susceptible to bacteria if you do not clean and store it properly. Since Latex is so sensitive, it is also recommended to keep things such as jewellery and long nails far away from the material, because it breaks very easily - you can almost compare it to a pair of 20 denier nylon stockings. In addition, latex cannot withstand contact with materials like copper and brass, as well as food and oil are also a total no-go. Even nicotine fingers can discolour latex.
Latex clothing can be quite a project to put on - imagine putting on an uninflated balloon, it may take quite a while. You’ll most often receive your latex clothing with a dull and dry surface, as the manufacturer coats the textile with talc to reduce material friction, as it would otherwise stick to itself and end up damaged.
To obtain the shiny and glossy surface, you need to use a special latex spray, that is applied in soft motions.
Latex clothing must always be washed after use, and again treated with talcum powder before being stowed away, until the next time you want to use it.
Therefore, in most cases people are looking for either Vinyl or PVC styles. These two synthetic materials are made from the same substance - polyvinyl chloride.
Both textiles usually have a base material made from woven polyester fibres and a surface coating made from shiny plastic.
Vinyl and PVC are very similar in texture and durability, but there are some important differences that are worth knowing.
Vinyl derives from coal or petroleum oil. It is a bit thicker and harder and not as flexible as PVC. However, it is still a very flexible material. This is for you, who would like, a slightly thicker material, which also serves the purpose of 'pulling in the body' and shape tightening, mind you, if you wear the correct size.
Vinyl is a bit easier to maintain and store, but you still need to follow some general rules.
You may wash your vinyl clothing by hand in lukewarm water using a mild detergent. We recommend that you lay the garment out to dry on a towel and gently rub the garment's surface coating dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Always ensuring that zips, buckles, and pockets are completely dry.
Your vinyl clothes require air and free space around them. You must therefore not fold them up and cram them into a drawer with other clothes. Instead, use a hanger, keeping distance to other materials, as you may otherwise run the risk of the colour transferring off onto other clothes. You may also hang it in a cotton garment bag – but never in a plastic garment bag.
PVC is derived from oil, natural gas or air and belongs to a subcategory of vinyl, the material is a bit thinner. PVC is very flexible and has an amazing elasticity, and a very special ability to adapt to body temperature, this makes PVC clothing very comfortable to wear, as it almost blends with the skin and feels completely smooth.
PVC clothing is a lot easier than the other materials, both to maintain, as well as, to store, and it can withstand so much more, it’s even resistant to alcohol and oil. The best way to store your PVC clothing is to fold it carefully without pressing or creasing it too much. We do, however, recommend that you place slightly larger items, such as catsuits and trench coats on a hanger with free space around them. That way, your PVC clothing remains undamaged and keeps it’s shape.
Usually, you clean your PVC clothing with a damp cloth in lukewarm water. If you think your PVC clothes need a proper cleaning and refreshing, you may put them into a laundry bag and use the washing machine’s delicate wash cycle. Afterwards, make sure to dry the garment's surface coating with a soft towel or a lint-free cloth to prevent water marks and lay it flat on the drying rack until completely dry.
The COAX girls' conclusion
As you can probably sense from this article, we personally recommend that you go for either a Vinyl or PVC style, as these two materials are most easy to work with. Latex is a material that requires an enormous amount of work and is therefore not a material you’ll find here at COAX Copenhagen.
You can explore our Vinyl, PVC and Wet look universe here.