Uniting function and form in one swathe of fabric, it’s no wonder the jumpsuit has stood the test of time. It has enjoyed wildly diverse incarnations, from the utterly practical to the totally opulent.
Quick history lesson: In 1919, the Florentine designer Thayaht (né Ernesto Michahelles) conceived what he believed to be “the most innovative, futuristic garment in the history of Italian fashion.” The multifunctional, all-in-one TuTa, as he called it, became the uniform for parachuting pilots in the early 20th century and would soon find favor with sportsmen (in particular, skydivers—hence the term “jumpsuit”). In the 1930’s, Elsa Schiaparelli designed a version during World War II for chic women to wear in bomb shelters. In 1947, Emilio Pucci later created colorful ones for the ski slopes.
Jumpsuits became a staple of late 1960s and 1970s dressing, impacting the fashion of the psychedelic hippie movement. Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and Freddie Mercury performed in them in the ’70s. Disco divas sported them into the next decade—the most iconic jumpsuit wearer was Studio 54 regular Bianca Jagger, whose jewel-hued
Halston all-in-ones defined the disco decadence of the 1970s. Jumpsuits would continue as a trend on stage though the 1980s and beyond with Madonna, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls and more.
Today, the jumpsuit has transitioned from novelty to wardrobe staple—and the beauty of it is its chic ease. The jumpsuit’s reputation for being difficult to pull off (and unflattering to figures that are anything but tall and slender) is a thing of the past. Perhaps it’s because the variety now available is the widest yet.
The true beauty of the jumpsuit is that it makes you feel comfortable and confident, but is also quite sexy. “Once a woman decides she is the jumpsuit type, it can be sensual yet masculine, and sophisticated yet modern,” said Valentino designer, Ms. Grazia Chiuri. “Wearing jumpsuits is an attitude, a state of mind.”
Here’s a look at today’s version of the utlitarian jumpsuit featured on W Magazine February 2014.
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Has the jumpsuit become on of your wardrobe staples?