If you know what you're doing, you could paint it just fine and not have the "crunching/peeling blah blah " crap over time. As long as you don't have too many layers you won't have to worry about that or losing all the elasticity. It will not be super stiff, but you will notice a small difference. Just as well you don't need someone to paint it as you wear it. While that is a choice, there are other options. Such as a mannequin or simply stretching it out on a board and pinning it so it stays as you paint it. I'm particularly fond of Jacquard Textile Colors for painting lycra.
•Currently uploading WIP pictures as I work on this new cosplay. ARMOR•