Recently there has been much talk on certain forums about the need for a basic latex catsuit that every rubber lover can afford — a “volksuit” as it has been tagged.
So when I heard about a special one-time eBay offer of a new latex catsuit for just £40 from a Chinese company called Aqua Latex, I wondered if this could possibly be the volksuit some people had been dreaming of.
Cheap latex outfits from Far Eastern manufacturers have been a hot topic this summer, so I decided to order one of these unisex catsuits for myself, and see how it compared to European and US-made suits.
The sellers were extremely responsive and proactive with their communication, sending me e-mail updates when the catsuit shipped, and following up on feedback I left. I could not fault them one bit on their customer service, which was polite and thorough.
The catsuit was shipped to me in Copenhagen via DHL, in a cardboard mailer. The suit itself came wrapped in a zip-lock bag. Once out, the suit appeared crease-free.
I did notice right away that the latex felt different and certainly smelt different from any I'd previously encountered. The surface was extremely dull — so dull that my husband demanded I send it back immediately.
Like most of his demands, I paid it little heed, and continued to note my impressions.
The feel was also a little odd. It felt rather uneven in the hands. The latex itself wasn't coated heavily with talc (the way some of Radical Rubber's sheeting is these days) but it felt rather scratchy.
The seams were very uneven, which could be a result of inexperience or extreme haste. In any event, these were not the seams of a Simon O, Westward Bound, Honour or Libidex catsuit, not by a long stretch!
But uneven or lumpy seams are not uncommon in independent designer garments these days, so I wasn't overly concerned. And after all, this was a catsuit that, when shipping was factored in, had cost me just £60.
I was surprised that the zipper appeared to be very high quality, and more surprising, it was backed with latex on the inside — a feature sometimes absent in other makers' garments.
The ankles and wrists were folded and hemmed — not too badly, I had to admit.
It was now time for the catsuit to be tried on. I had ordered a small size, knowing I could find a willing model to try it on for photos. My two volunteers — Kybele and Nanna — were game to help me out in my experiment.
I knew that in Germany, photographer and Latex News publisher Alexander Horn, equally curious about this ultra-cheap suit, had also ordered one — and his had ripped immediately, the first time his model tried to put it on. Because of his experience, I was extra-generous with the dressing aid.
I knew that photographer and Latex News publisher Alexander Horn had ordered one, which ripped first time his model tried to put it on
Kybele, an up-and-coming alt model in Copenhagen, was my first victim. She wears a size XS in my own line, so I was sure the size small would fit her, and assumed it would actually be too big.
She was able to get into the suit, but found the neck almost unbearably tight.
The sleeves seemed to fit pretty well, with no evidence of the bingo arms common among certain manufacturers’ patterns. Kybele has a slight sway in her back and we noticed right away that the catsuit was positively baggy in the back.
We all noticed that the shoulders were very, very large — almost swimmer proportion, as you can probably tell from our gallery pictures, above right.
It should also be noted that the front was a flat panel, but since this catsuit was described as unisex, this was not unexpected. I suspect, however, that a woman with medium-to-large natural breasts would flatten out quite a bit, since Kybele, who is rather lithe, experienced this.
Nanna, who describes herself as an artistic geek, is three or four inches taller than the petite Kybele, and normally wears XS-S tops and S-M bottoms.
Unfortunately we have no photos of her experience; she was unable to get into the suit past the thighs because the calves were extremely narrow and prevented the legs from stretching as high as they could have gone.
We decided this suit would not be a good fit for anyone who does a bit of exercise such as yoga, or biking, which Nanna of course does, being Danish and all. The suit also seemed extremely short in the torso.
I would imagine the patterns were drafted for an Asian body, and I would have liked to have a slight, Asian guy try it on, as I think that might have worked. But come to think of it, the calves might still be a problem as they were extremely small.
To date, Kybele has not messaged me with any complaints of allergic reaction — something that is a genuine concern with Chinese-made latex. It would be nice to think that this latex, though rather pungent, was produced to hygienic standards, but more testing would be needed to establish this for sure.
In conclusion, this purchase wasn't an unqualified disaster — I’ve certainly seen worse-fitting catsuits in my day. But it was far from perfect. My biggest qualifier would be the actual pattern, which is rather limiting to average bodies, and seems to give a fit nearer to that of moulded garments.
Obviously at just £60 including shipping, you would expect there to be compromises, and “unisex” is quite a big one.
Consequently I would recommend this only for models at car shows, or as a Halloween costume, or for solitary rubberists who just want something to wear at home (assuming they could squeeze into one of these).
To get a basic latex catsuit that fits like a catsuit should, you need to spend about twice the amount I spent on this Aqua Latex suit. How long the Aqua might last we can’t say, as it’s brand new. But you might think Alexander Horn’s experience (see gallery picture) doesn’t bode well.
For comparison purposes, the panel below the thumbnails gives some recommended sources of British-made suits that are good value at their normal prices or at sale prices that were in effect at the time of writing.
To get a basic latex catsuit that fits like a catsuit should, you need to spend about twice the amount I spent on this Aqua Latex suit