FIT FOR PURPOSE: Erika Ridley has launched a British-made range of women’s latex styles especially for crossdressers
Crossdressing is a phenomenally popular niche in the latex fetish community, but it can be an extremely costly look to pull off successfully for most men.
In the past, male latex crossdressers have often resorted to poorly fitting garments designed for a female figure, or found a designer willing to cut ladies’ clothes to a man’s proportions, and paid a premium for decent gear.
The really successful crossdressers I’ve met have almost always gone the made-to-measure route, or have taken up latex crafting for themselves, or just happen to have figures which can pass in womenswear.
Of course, more often in the fetish sites, one encounters much less successful (disastrous!) attempts, often involving moulded latex, poorly constructed undergarments and ghastly wigs.
The many Chinese merchants on eBay seem lately to be the go-to guys for these early and often unfortunate attempts, which end up costing a man a lot of extra money for something that ultimately is not very good at all.
When I read a forum post from my friend Lady AnaMorphic (aka Erika Ridley) announcing her new latex line, Lady Ana Latex, for transvestites, I was both relieved and very pleased, because this is what latex crossdressers have needed for a very long time — reliable, well-made womenswear cut with men’s bodies in mind.
For Erika, the process of transformation has been costly and oftentimes frustrating. She says: “The tranny market is huge, yet oversold with rubbish and mass produced items feeding a market that is basically a second wardrobe.
“I personally think it wrong of the likes of Transformation (who were actually one of the first UK tranny retail companies) to sell second wardrobe items at over-inflated prices to men who cannot easily walk into a shop and buy themselves a dress.”
Luckily things got a bit easier for Erika after meeting David and Simon Hutton, of Daxine (the Manchester go-to manufacturer/secret weapon for many a well-dressed scenester), whose made-to-measure skills solved the problem of ill-fitting corsets, catsuits and tops.
Erika's earlier plans for a line were scuttled, however, after David died about 18 months ago, leading her back to square one in finding someone reliable to take on the challenge.
Sadly, several UK firms she contacted refused the commission, or even worse, never bothered with a response to Erika's e-mails. Chinese firms, while initially more responsive than many of the established UK designers, were ultimately ruled out, after Erika purchased a number of test garments but found a lot of inconsistency in quality.
Sadly, several UK latex firms contacted by Erika turned down the chance to make her line, or even worse, never responded to her e-mails
“Although many Chinese people speak English, it’s not as though I could easily pop on a plane and go to China to discuss my plans,” she explains, “so I quickly dismissed this as a solution to being able to offer a quality product.”
Ultimately, Erika found an English manufacturing partner willing to take on the challenge — a well-established designer known in the scene for creating superb, well-made corsets and latex catsuits, but who for business reasons prefers to remain anonymous.
The current results of their collaboration are four perfect core pieces, described here with Erika’s comments in quotes:
A three-way front zip catsuit “which fits in all the right places”.
An underbust corset “which I have to say is the best rubber corset I have ever come across as it fits, is very strong and pulls in extremely well”. This is available in 2 busk front lengths of 12in (30.5cm) and 14in (35.5cm), with the 14in variant sold as standard in the tranny range.
A plain blouse that is “gorgeous, well-cut and figure-flattering” with long sleeves, epaulets and false front pockets.
A knee-length hobble skirt with a short zip at the back, “made in such a way that it will flatter almost every body shape and bum”.
Erika is also currently offering moulded accessories from British manufacturer Denber Rubber, and as the business builds, hopes to increase the current size range. Erika is also hoping to add new designs for the 2012 party season.
Personally, I think it’s great seeing these styles, because they fit properly, they're tasteful and modern-looking and they're designed to last.
They don't hurt my eyes with horrifically over-the-top styling and colour combinations, flame appliqués or gigantic comical inflated megaboobs.
While the range may at first seem limited to a man aching to transform himself, I really would like to stress how important it is to nail the basics before attempting more ambitious looks.
This is certainly Erika Ridley’s advice, and her first Lady Ana garments — the result of a knowledgeable and committed crossdresser's wide range of experience — look like a great way to jumpstart a successful latex TGirl wardrobe!
Clearly it’s still early days for the Lady Ana Latex range, but on the basis of what I’ve seen so far, I would highly recommend the range not just to crossdressers but also to genetic females!
While the range may at first seem limited to a man aching to transform himself, I really must stress how important it is to nail the basics first