How Jumpsuits Became Cool Again

One-pieces have gone utterly mainstream in the past three years, and designers and retailers are capitalizing on the trend.

Before 2011, jumpsuits were worn largely by inmates, toddlers, and those otherworldly fashion people who are always just a few too many years ahead of the rest of us. But now, it seems the jumpsuit and its short-legged sister, the romper, are everywhere. Nearly every designer this season is offering a take on the trend. Jumpsuits have made red carpet appearances on the likes of Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, and Diane Kruger. Google searches for “jumpsuit” have risen steadily in the past three years, and Net-a-porter now has an entire “jumpsuits” category on its dropdown menu. As Lauren Sherman (an occasional Co.Design writer) explains over at Fashionista, these onesies have become an unlikely moneymaker for designers and retailers.


So how did jumpsuits get so big? It’s partly thanks to the glorious rise of comfort and simplicity in recent fashion. As Sherman explains:

The silhouette–a top and a pant that are connected at the waist–was, for a long time, thought difficult to pull off. Unlike a blouse and trousers, very little adjusting is possible. A dress, of course, is the easiest to wear because different silhouettes hide different ‘trouble’ areas. With jumpsuits, there’s literally less room to hide. …On the other hand, modern jumpsuits and rompers, unlike their spandex predecessors, tend to be looser fitting–more like pajamas than a lycra Studio 54 get-up.

Sales have been plenty robust to keep designers churning out jumpsuits. L.A.-based designer Tina Turk says one-pieces make up 11% of her ready-to-wear sales since her first foray designing for the trend in 2011, and Fleur du Mal’s Jennifer Zuccarini estimates 10% to 15% of her sales this season will be jumpsuits. Designer Zuhair Murad, who first designed a jumpsuit for Jennifer Lopez’s 2011 “On the Floor” video, regularly sells out his $10,000 beaded couture jumpsuits.

But maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking that fused pants and tops have come to reign in fashion: they combine the classiness of a dress with the comfort of pants, can be dressed down or dressed up with different shoes and accessories, and unlike separate shirts and pants combinations, conveniently require no matching skills.

Read the full piece over at Fashionista.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.