The transitional wardrobe essential you won’t be able to resist.
Not to be confused with a playsuit or dungarees, the 70s jumpsuit is back.
What is ‘the jumpsuit’ in 2018?
The jumpsuit is the infinitely versatile one-and-done trend here to solve all of your don’t-know-what-to-wear conundrums. In the northern hemisphere, the humble jumpsuit has been the answer to the unpredictable spring weather with various models and editors seen layering it over turtlenecks or under faux shearling stoles. It’s been sported in neutral, khaki, denim and caramel tones as fashion’s obsession with all things ’70s shows no sign of abating. Furthermore, the jumpsuit makes full use of everyday dressing up and dressing down conventions – you know, dress up with a heel, dress down with a sneaker. In other words, it’s never been easier to wear.
What is the appeal of the jumpsuit?
For starters, it eliminates having to source complementary top and bottoms, the jumpsuit is the entrée, main and dessert. Its diverse range of silhouettes and variations make it an accessible option for all body shapes and sizes – from straight-leg, wide-leg, flare or crop to long-sleeve, short-sleeve, no sleeve, one sleeve, the jumpsuit caters to a diverse range of personal styles.
How did the jumpsuit come about?
Formerly known as the siren suit, the one-piece garment – designed to cover the whole body whilst being easily put on or taken off – was purpose-built, providing warmth and modesty to children and adults seeking shelter during the nighttime air raids that plagued the United Kingdom during World War II. Its oversized nature meant that it could be thrown over other clothing post-haste at the sound of a siren.
Comparable to a boilersuit, which was worn by workers in labour-intense professions for additional protection, the siren suit was invented by Winston Churchill in the 1930s. The famous politician went on to popularise the item as a leisure suit, wearing it frequently on duty and having it famously constructed in the same pinstripe fabric used for his suits and even a green velvet version.
Who is wearing the jumpsuit?
Short answer? Pretty much everyone. From the heights of runway to the depths of street style, the jumpsuit has been worn in a very retro capacity by Parisian model Jeanne Damas, It-girl Diletta Bonaiuti, fashion editor Rachael Wang and designer Victoria Beckham, to name a few.
How can you adopt the jumpsuit?
In place of suiting: Last winter was all about the co-ord blazer and trouser, this time around it’s all about the tailored – yet oh so relaxed – jumpsuit. Look to grey check or ink fabrics to retain that sought after looks-corporate-yet-super-comfortable characteristic. Wear over funnel or roll neck knitwear, or, if opting for a sleeveless variation, wear over white shirts/full sleeve blouses as you would a pinafore dress.
Going out: Harking back to the ’70s, the jumpsuit was the epitome of disco chic. But before you go teaming it with go-go boots and ghetto hoop earrings, perhaps pursue a more elegant if not slightly feline approach for going out. Choose bell sleeves or even flare-leg styles in rich satins, velvet or viscose fabrics in deep hues. Or go one step further and seek out a plunging neckline à la Martha Hunt with a built-in fabric belt.
Off-duty: Unbuttoned over a graphic t-shirt and paired with trainers, it is the fashion upgrade your weekend wardrobe didn’t know it needed. Or alternatively, wear your jumpsuit in place of your favourite jeans, tying the long sleeves around your waist in a nonchalant fashion.
On vacation: Safari has never looked (or felt) so good. Whether you’re being swept off to the coast of Maine or settling in Seychelles, a linen or cotton jumpsuit will be essential for providing breathable, light coverage from the sun. Not to mention super practical when you need to throw something modest on over your swimwear.
To flatter your figure: We know what you’re thinking, the jumpsuit is all well and good for a size 6 model with legs for days, but what about everyday women? If you’re looking to draw attention to, or away from, certain parts of your figure – let’s be honest, who isn’t – look for elements in a jumpsuit that reflect pieces you already own and love.
Keep scrolling to view our shoppable edit and find out what the FQ verdict is.
Shop the jumpsuit
The FQ verdict
“Utilitarian jumpsuits are not a trend for me, they are a staple and have been as long as I can remember. In fact, I think I started wearing onesies as a toddler and never stopped. There is a certain freedom felt while wearing an all-in-one and my wardrobe is stacked with them. Lately, I’ve been alternating between the Miss Crabb boiler suit in royal blue (reminiscent of a true kiwi blokes working overalls) and my boyfriend’s extremely worn-in and preloved Wrangler mechanic overalls. I team them with a white tee or bodysuit and satin heeled sock boot and haphazardly roll the legs, the perfect weekend getup.” —Sally-Ann Mullin, editor
“I can appreciate the aesthetic but I think I’ve retired them from my wardrobe. I tend to be a pants wearer though, so could definitely entertain one as chic black tie attire. Yesterday I had a discussion in the Bauer office bathroom with a colleague that emerged from a cubicle half dressed, shrugging on the top half of her jumpsuit and sighing in frustration: “I either need to give up on jumpsuits or drink wayyyy less water” she huffed. I nodded sympathetically and made a mental note: too much admin. She looked great though, so there’s that. ” —Megan Bedford, beauty editor
“I’ve always thought jumpsuits were the exclusive domain of the long-limbed and not for the vertically challenged, like myself. However, I recently came across a photo of my (extremely petite) mum from the early ’90s sporting a khaki boiler suit that was a little bit baggy but mostly very cool. She even had those elasticated arm bands to keep the sleeves pushed up in that unassuming, slouchy 90210 way, and a chin-length perm that brought the whole look together. I’m now on the hunt for the exact same style.” —Kelly McAuliffe, digital editor