ONE OF MY FAVORITE TRENDS this season has been the jumpsuit and its little sister, the romper (the shorter version of the jumper). There’s a certain insouciance that I love – like “Oh, I just threw this on with some nice shoes and my favorite [insert favorite accessory – e.g. bag, jewelry, hat] and ran out the door.” Consider how practical onesies are for infants: all you have to do is insert their arms and legs and voilà – they’re dressed . Think of the jumpsuit and the romper as onesies for grown-ups.
Cher, Charlie’s Angels and disco-goers popularized a skin-tight version of the style in the ’70s; the silhouette became less form-fitting in the ’80s ( Bianca Jaeger and Dynasty babes). The main reason jumpsuits never seem to go out of style is that they simplify a woman’s dressing routine. Don’t be fooled, however. You’re probably not Uma Thurman, and you are definitely not killing Bill, so follow these simple rules in order to evoke her jumpsuit-clad fierceness without committing a fashion felony.
DO choose jumpsuits (and rompers if you have the gams for it) as a stylish, on point alternative to cocktail dresses. Tailoring is key for these occasions, however. In order to look polished, it must fit you like a glove. My personal favorite versions are sleeveless and monochromatic – especially black, white, or red – with an interesting detail like strategically placed cut-outs, or an unusual or strapless neckline. Dressy jumpsuits work best with high heels and straight or pegged legs hemmed right above the ankle or with wide, palazzo floor-skimming pant legs. Accessorize with one eye-catcher: a great bracelet, earrings or a choker if you are going strapless.
DO wear looser-fitting jumpsuits and rompers in less formal settings. They can be dressed up or down depending on the shoes and accessories you pair them with, and can look just as good with stilettos as they do with flat sandals. If you want to break up the silhouette, you can always throw on a belt, or if the jumpsuit or romper has a pattern, you can layer a lightweight blazer in a solid (preferably harmonious) color.
DON’T wear rompers unless they cover a decent amount of your upper thigh and body in general. In other words, don’t wear rompers that are so small they make you look like you are wearing an actual child’s onesie.
DON’T pair rompers with plunging necklines and sky-high stilettos, platforms or busy high-heeled sandals (note, however, as I’ve said before in this space, the supermodel exclusion applies here). It’s tricky enough to look like a lady in a romper, don’t make the mistake of looking like a lady of the night in one.
DON’T wear skin-tight jumpsuits. I’m not even sure I am willing to acknowledge a supermodel exclusion here because honestly, unless you are a superhero or stage performer, I just don’t see the point. Conversely, what I’m sure I will see when a woman wears one of these is a lot more female anatomy than I am comfortable with, unless I paid for my seat.
More options. Left to right: Current Elliot’s casual flight suit is accessorized with feminine, ankle-strap heels. If you dare, show a little skin in Cushnie et Ochs’ bandeau-style jumpsuit. Victoria Victoria Beckham‘s jumpsuit with shiny trim on pockets and collar.
DON’T wear jumpsuits that look too much like what that guy who fixed your tail light or your parachuting instructor was wearing, unless you accessorize with really feminine accessories. Sexy heels are my go-tos – nothing wrong with pairing a laid-back, masculine silhouette with a little reminder of who runs the world (girls)!
— Sylvia Colella
Sylvia Colella blogs about fashion and lifestyle-related subjects. A former Parisienne, she is obsessed with all things chic and glamorous.