The jumpsuit didn’t always belong to fashion. It started out as a costume of sorts, to protect aviators from the cold. Then, it quickly became the standard uniform for parachute jumpers to wear when leaping out of perfectly good planes. Eventually, skydivers and race car drivers followed suit, but their sleek, snappy, streamlined style wouldn’t remain a sporty secret for long.
In 1919, an Italian guy by the name of Florentine Thayat decided to “Jump Into Style” by creating the first fashionable onesie. It was called the “Tuta” and was more of, say, what Americans would consider a pair of overalls. The following year, he would perfect the pattern of his fetching full length garment and viola, the jumpsuit was officially born.
Thayat would become instantly and insanely famous for rousing up the romper and would go onto declare it the most “progressive” outfit ever made. I know, it sounds a bit pompous, but the guy was obviously onto something and even though he originally made the go-to-garment as more of a utilitarian, anti-bourgeois, do-it-yourself piece of clothing, it wasn’t perceived that way.
Instead, members of high society in Italy and France fixated on it and it became known as first-class fashion. Its popularity didn’t stop there: over the next eight decades, leading up to the present day, the famous, the fashion forward and the futuristic would “Jump Into Style.”
During the most recent New York Fashion Week, the runways were rocking with rompers galore. The skinny, tapered-leg look seems to be the most popular. The top is tight, the waist is low and the legs flow, until it hits the ankle. Then it bunches up like a jeanie pant.
The wide leg onesie is making a comeback, too. It’s my favorite. I prefer it because you can never go wrong with a glamorous, mod, gaucho-like look. I love the ones that start as a tank, accentuate with a high waist, then branch or balloon out into a full-bodied leg. It’s sleek and slenderizing. The look has a certain “je ne sais quoi” attitude of days gone by. It makes me want to talk in a haughty accent and say: “I’m fabulous in this full-length fete’ and I’m not even trying.” How do I know? I put the conjoined pant, top-trend to the test…
A few weeks ago, I decided to work a romper (while roaming around my house) to see if I should bother to buy it. It was part of my weekly Deco Drive television wardrobe from Koko & Palenki. Sometimes, a girl just has to try it, to see if she likes it (or find out if she has the right mojo to make it marvelous.) Coincidentally, my best friend Jessie (A.K.A., the onesie queen; she’s been wearing them for years,) popped by for a surprise visit.
When I greeted her at the door she laughed and said: “All you’re missing is a cigarette holder, a French Martini and a Marlene Dietrich hand pose AND stop talking in that ridiculous accent.” Yup, I was emitting all that and I was comfortable, too. Sold. (It’s the jumpsuit pictured in this blog.) It’s now proudly hanging in my closet.
There’s just something about a onesie that makes a girl feel wonderful. I think it’s the ease of the look. The uniformity of it. How it’s simple yet chic, classic but curious, stylish but not fussy (like a lot of fashion trends can be.) When it works it’s inspiring. When it doesn’t, well, it REALLY doesn’t. Perhaps my close friend Diana summed it up best when she said: “A bad fit will leave you with a big ol’ camel toe,” and she’s not talking about the ones I raced in Australia for a television special. Anyway…
If you decide to “Jump Into Style” remember, ALWAYS suit up for size first. Sometimes, rompers can be roomy in all the wrong places and too tight in the right places. They also have a tendency to be short in the waist and long in the legs. So, it’s important to have some kind of working knowledge of your rise and inseam measurements. If you can’t be bothered with all that, going up a size usually helps. For example…
The other day, I was rummaging through a rack of rompers at TJ Maxx (which by the way, has a large inexpensive selection) and I found a few that were fabulous. I didn’t have time to try them on, so instead, I quickly measured the length and width by holding the mid section of the romper to my waist and stretching the material out to see if it passed my nether region. Sure enough, it was too short. So, I decided to go up one size. When I finally got home and gave it a mojo run, wouldn’t you know, it was the perfect fit (for the record, I’m pretty long waisted.)
This spring and summer jumpsuits, rompers, onesies, whatever you want to call them, are making a major comeback. Whether you dress the look up or down, it’s the perfect way to “Jump Into Style,” because it’s an instant, easy, eye-catching outfit and that’s why they’re one of my favorite things.
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photography by tod p/t4twophotography
Editor: Matthew Auerbach