Fetish WearWhile it's true that you can have a fetish for just about anything, in common usage, fetish has come to mean a certain subset of sexual practices, including bondage, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism (generally abbreviated to BDSM). Fetish wear is the clothing designed specifically in order to be worn during such practices, either by the top (or dominant) or the bottom (or submissive).
Fetish wear is usually highly sexualised, and usually made from a limited range of fabrics – most often latex, leather, PVC, spandex and vinyl, although nylon and fishnet are also common. Fetish wear is usually black or red in colour, although it may be found in almost any colour. Leather fetish wear often includes metal studs and chains as design features, and fetish wear of almost any fabric will often feature zippers and press studs in preference to buttons.
A lot of fetish wear also consists of the clothing worn by the submissives, such as hoods, masks, blindfolds and handcuffs. The line between fetish wear and fetish accessories is a difficult one to draw – some people consider any of the equipment that is worn as part of a bondage position to be fetish wear, while others consider it to be fetish accessories. Examples of this sort of fetish gear include such things as handcuffs, collars, nipple clamps, gags, blindfolds and leg spreaders. Ultimately, that decision is a personal one, and so long as you have the fetish gear you want, it's not that important – fetish play is more about what you want to do than getting the exact names right (although if you're the dominant, you may decide that correct naming is very important indeed... ).
The particular items of fetish wear that you want will depend on both the role or roles you are shopping for (there are distinct differences in the types of fetish clothing worn by tops and bottoms, for example), and also on what activities you're expecting to participate in. If you're the top, you may be deciding for your bottom as well, although it should be noted that BDSM play is more consensual than it may appear to anyone watching (and far more consensual than it is usually depicted in the mainstream media).
If you're planning on engaging in BDSM play in your sexy new fetish wear, you're probably also going to want some accessories to go with it. This may mean a single blindfold or an entire room kitted out to your specifications – the choice is entirely yours (and your partner's). As strange as it may sound, it's an excellent idea to try to get fetish wear and accessories that go together well – there's nothing that breaks the mood quite so much as that one thing that doesn't fit. It's no good if everything's made from black leather, and then you have to improvise a blindfolds from a cotton handkerchief or something. It's like being a boy- of girl-scout, you have to be prepared.
Fetish fashion sometimes gets a bad rap for being awfully similar to certain elements of Nazi military uniforms – notably in its use of black leather – but most fetish gear is only coincidentally similar to anything worn by a Nazi. The similarity can help to heighten the experience of BDSM play by adding a little thrill of the forbidden to things. Such a thing is on about the same level as the average heavy metal band's use of satanic imagery – you could find it offensive, but you'd really have to work at it. If it bothers you, there are still plenty of options for fetish wear that do not carry these associations in any way.