Perspex and plastic garments provide an interesting and effective counterpoint to the use of natural materials and textures in fashion. Often utilising strong, transparent materials, these items can almost magically transform a more traditional outfit by allowing a constructivist bent to prevail.
From see-through handbags to boots to raincoats, there’s a lot that can be done with these versatile materials. With the fashion world rediscovering the allure of the life fantastic in plastic, it’s best that you stay ahead of the game by integrating choice pieces into your wardrobe.
I Can See Clearly Now…
The use of perspex and plastic to create modernist, high fashion looks has finally made its way into the relative mainstream. From the early use of perspex in avant garde or novelty items (such as platform heels with aquarium fish inside the platforms) to the current crop of more daring pieces (such as perspex boots – as seen on Kim K and many others), it’s hard to miss the resurgence of these versatile, transparent materials.
Transparent shoes (typically stiletto-style) have been a mainstay for the fetish and adult industries for many years as they allow both neutrality and imagination to play an equally important role. This past edginess has led to the acceptance and visibility of perspex and plastic fashions in vastly different scenes than those that they emerged in – even being used in professional and corporate attire.
Haute couture and mod fashion in the 60s was perhaps the first time the potential for materials such as plastic and perspex was realised in a wearable, covetable form. Plastic rainwear and coats also made a figurative splash, with macs and hats made from proto-PVC and other waterproof materials.
The catwalks of fashion’s biggest names such as Chanel, Prada and Dior have all experimented with differing hues of perspex and plastic, from the stark and modern impact of transparent PVC, to jewel toned hues worthy of instant classic status.
It’s In The Bag
Thinking of testing out the trend with a more modest addition?
A bag can be a particularly covetable option if you’re looking to try out the trend in a small, no-risk manner.
To begin, try a perspex clutch to add a sense of fun and whimsy to your outfit, or update an otherwise conservative look with a transparent tote bag. Using the unique texture of perspex and plastic means you can create interest in your ensembles by mixing finishes and fabrics – without having to opt for more expensive or fussy pieces.
A major benefit of perspex lies in its easy-to-care for nature. Not only is it easily cleaned, it’s also waterproof and can protect you effectively from rain and inclement weather.
These protective properties initially led to the use of plastic as a protective garment, and created a wave of fashionable raincoats which were widely sold and marketed from the late 1950’s onward. Plastic raincoats are still used today, and are available in an ever-increasing range of styles and fabric choices.
Much more than an occasional protectant or a party piece, perspex and plastic fashions can enliven your wardrobe and add much needed interest and modernity. If you’re not ready to take the plunge with a dramatic footwear choice or a larger clothing item, start small. A perspex bag or clutch can give you a fun and dynamic entry into a world of playful, practical and pertinent style – without the need for a bank loan.