Recently, on a mailing list I subscribe to, somebody made a tongue-in-cheek observation about PVC and rubber. Essentially they joked that PVC is just a cheat for those who won’t commit to the hard-to-put-on sweaty lubefest that is rubber wearage.
- smiles and waves to the author of that message… hi! :)
It was an amusing post, and it spawned some activity in the thread. And I never did post anything in that thread before it dwindled to a stop, because
- I didn’t have anything to say
- I didn’t experience any strong responses to the topic
- I felt that PVC and rubber were unrelated to each other
- I wasn’t much attracted to wearing either PVC or rubber
Despite never having participated in that thread, there were some thoughts which gradually crept up on me. By the time I noticed them and thought about them and got interested in them, the thread had kind of died, so it was too late to post anything there in a timely fashion.
Anyhow, this post kind of grew because of my cogitations on the ideas raised in that thread, which resulted in a small but significant purchase of a garment constructed from one of the named materials (which I never would have purchased before this). I started to make a response for posting in that thread, and I also started to write a review of the recently purchased garment, but in my usual style, they both kind of grew, and sort of began to coalesce and amalgamate, and I wanted to include pictures (which isn’t possible on that mailing list, nor in the product review form), and so I thought I might as well scoop everything up in a pile and throw it all at this blog and see if anything stuck.
I mean, this is my blog, dammit, so I can
play the throw and stick game with whatever I like here I mean, post what I like here, so there! :)
I want to begin by saying that in the yummy diversityness of people who make up the world
- I totally respect that some people are attracted to PVC
- I totally respect that some people are attracted to rubber
- I think either PVC, or rubber, or both, can be wonderful
- I acknowledge the reality that some people enjoy certain things, and other people enjoy different things
- I personally haven’t felt much of an attraction to either PVC or rubber garments
- I acknowledge that my non-attraction to something does not negate other people’s entitlement to go all gooey over it
Just so we’re clear. :)
Ok, so having said all that…
In the context of kink-wear, I used to think that PVC was Pretty Vile Clothing. I used to think that the matte PVC was a useless substitute for leather (just who do they think they’re fooling??), and I used to think that shiny PVC was just… ew.
And the sound of PVC (with all due respect to those who like it)… BIG ewww.
I think PVC sounds like a combination of plastic bin bags and cheap’n’vile™ sex toys. And all of that combines to produce a series of sounds which to me spell out a cheap, sweaty, uncomfortable, fire hazard.
I once got a PVC suspender belt from a favoured online retailer, because I’d had excellent suspender belts from them before, and because their picture of it was quite alluring. And because I supposed that the cotton lining they said it had would kill any of that PVC sound (which it sort of did). This suspender belt fits as well as any other suspender belt I have, but not like a second skin (mostly because I don’t like wearing stuff that tight). Because it’s PVC, the not-quite-second-skin-ness of it created a very convincing look of cheap-tat-wrinkle-ick.
- (which, as it happens, wasn’t quite the look I was actually going for)
That was when I figured out that much of the PVC vileness I’d seen before looked vile due to poor fit, and was not necessarily inherently vile just because of it being PVC. I mean, PVC has no stretch in it, and wrinkles with every move it makes. Whose idea was it to make clothes out of this stuff anyhow?
And then, as it does, time passed.
Looking back over my experiences with seeing PVC on other people, I gradually began to realise that however unforgiving PVC attire can be when it doesn’t fit well, PVC can look utterly fabulous on a shapely physique when it does fit just right. I have since discovered that PVC can look amazing on the right person IF it fits them to perfection.
- With PVC, the troublesome fact is that perfect fit is either “on” or “off”.
There is absolutely no in between.
(as a side note, I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t sometimes make PVC on a thicker backing, so that it can sit right no matter what’s made out of it)
I was shown the error of my ways when I started seeing hot people in beautifully fitting PVC things. There was one person I know wearing a black PVC dress with a nursey-type cross on it (wow), and there was another friend looking stunning in a PVC dress she got off eBay (more wow), and a cute bubbly friend in a red PVC catsuit (threatening wow overload).
And so I realised that there is no negotiating perfect fit when it comes to PVC hotness. Either the thing fits perfectly and looks great, or it doesn’t, and then it really doesn’t.
I’ve never had much of a thing for rubber. I do acknowledge that rubber does look good on lots of people. It has elastic properties, so it can fit snugly and sit smoothly, and provide a lovely looking line on a person.
- Mmmmm. :)
And rubber makes kind of interesting, pleasant, squeaky sounds. So I like the sound, and the look of rubber. But however good rubber may look from a distance, and however nice it sounds close up, the smell always put me pretty much right off it.
I’ve found that Rubber Pour Elle/Homme can lead to me having difficulties with being able to enjoy the company of people, even people I like, if I’m simultaneously being distracted by the obtrusive pungency of those rubbery nasal assaults.
So normally I try to minimise my interactions with people wearing rubber, and to stay out of conversations involving the joys of rubber.
In a comparey-and-contrasty kind of way, however much I don’t enjoy the smell of rubber, I find that PVC has a rather unobtrusive, vaguely pleasant smell.
So, with more of the comparey-and-contrasty:
- Looks – Good
- Sounds – Good
- Smells – Vile
- Looks – Perfect Fit™ – Good
- Looks – Poor Fit – Vile
- Sounds – Vile
- Smells – Good
So that’s how I came to some kind of understanding about how PVC works for me – partly through my previous disappointing purchase of that PVC suspender belt I mentioned, and partly because of the beautifully-fitting, shapely-physique-covereage hotness which I have on some occasions observed with my own two
hands I mean, eyes. ;)
I wish I could remember how I came to be browsing on Lovehoney. But I really, really can’t. At all. Not even a little ghost of an inkling of a memory.
Anyhow, I did come to browse there, and I know it had something to do with that PVC-vs-rubber thread I mentioned earlier. In my researchy efforts, I did come across this corset, which was described thusly:
- Black Level PVC Buckle Corset Set
Stunning boned PVC corset with hook and eye front closure, 18-hole lace-up back and adjustable buckle shoulder straps, in raunchy metallic red with black trim, and matching PVC knickers
Now, there are quite a few things in that description which would normally put me right off, pretty much immediately. Even now I’m not quite sure why they didn’t. And there was also an extremely unfavourable review of this corset by spinal lou, which included a description of her nightmare experience with this corset. But I thought I had a good idea of what had gone wrong for spinal lou, and I didn’t think the problem was due to the corset or its manufacture. So I saw this corset, and some stuff began cogitating around in my head. I noted several things:
- I had been considering this whole PVC-vs-rubber thingy
- I’ve had no new corsets since I-don’t-know-when (and had been hankering for one in absentia)
- I had a kinky party to go to that upcoming weekend
- I liked the colour
- I thought the corset was ever-so-slightly yummy, considering
- I thought I’d look just the teensiest bit of a sizzlefest in it
- the thing was way, waaaaay cheaper than I normally expect to pay for a corset
- the construction of this thing seemed better than one might usually expect at this price
- I thought had a fair idea of what went wrong for that unfortunate first reviewer, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be making the same mistake
At any rate, between one thing and another, I couldn’t tear myself away from the product page for this corset.
(and I kept eyeing the order form)
The first review of this corset (and currently only one besides mine [which is pending approval]), written on 29 February 2008, primarily addressed a noteworthy issue with the sizing and fit. Most of the reviewer’s other issues with the corset seemed to stem from that. This isn’t really surprising to me, since corsets, like any other underwear-type item, really can only function as they’re supposed to if they’re the right size and fit properly. And getting the right size and a good fit for an item like a corset can be especially tricky when shopping remotely by mail order.
Precise, accurate, and complete product information in situations like this is absolutely crucial.
However, the provided size chart turned out to be a complete disaster when trying to use it to work out the appropriate size for this corset, as the first reviewer, spinal lou found to her cost.
Normally, I wear a size 14-16 in just about every type of clothing (due to the exceptionally poor sizing scheme employed for women’s clothes, but that’s a rant for another time and place). So if I didn’t already know otherwise, I would have gone for the XL size in this corset.
However, I knew from extensive prior corset wearage that
- Corsets are primarily fitted by waist size, and must therefore be ordered by waist size.
- Waist measurement is more or less the only one that matters regarding ready-made corsets.
- Usual corset sizing is 2-4 inches smaller than one’s own relaxed waist measurement.
- Significant waist reduction cannot realistically be expected from a corset in this price range, not without risk of damage to corset, wearer, or both.
- I don’t like wearing tightly laced corsets, so waist reduction isn’t an issue for me.
I’ve been accustomed to knowing my waist size in inches, so I converted that into centimetres to work it out on the size chart provided. According to that size chart, my waist measurement was at the outside of their medium size range. From what I know about fitting corsets, what they call a medium on their size chart should be absolutely perfect for me, since I like having a bit of a gap at the back of my corsets. I think that gap is a big part of why corsets look so hot. :)
Meanwhile, also due to my previous experience in corset wearingness, I knew that I prefer to lace my corsets up with elastic, because
- elastic is far and away more comfortable than non-elastic lacing
- elastic can be laced tighter because of having some give in it
- it doesn’t need adjustment for putting on and taking off
- not having to do up and undo the corset lacing every time the corset is worn is super extra convenient
- the give in the elastic reduces some of the stress on the corset during wear
I thought the last point might be very important for a corset as cheap as this one.
So having figured out all the sizing stuff and decided on the medium, and prepared some elastic lacing in advance, and having considered my personal thoughts about PVC, I gave in to myself and went ahead and ordered it.
I thusly watched for the post arriving with some anticipation. ;)
And now, for the actual corset enjoymentyness. :)