About 12 years ago, my flatmate had a craving for a boiler suit. Those things happened in the crazy, hedonistic late-90s. She had visions of knocking about the house in it; watching Sunset Beach and drinking Two Dogs in her glamourama one-piece.
My boyfriend and I dutifully went on a charity shop hunt to make her dream come true, spending £1.50 on a bright yellow ‘item’. It was meant to be a joke (80’s trends were so not cool when Egg out of This Life was a household name), but I must admit that watching her sashay about the house in her canary jumpsuit made me a teensy bit jealous. There’s just something so appealing about them.
Fast-forward to the present day and playsuits have been an acceptable wardrobe staple for well over a year. In fashion terms that’s eons. I strutted the streets of NYC in a black linen suit-of-jump last summer, and have every intention of doing so again this year. Somehow its’ easy, city-style made me feel more like Carrie (it doesn’t take much).
The big downside with playsuits is that they rarely look as good on the body as they do on the peg. Finding one that works for you is a proper mission (although the chap to your right has done a pretty amazing job – ‘ah men’ indeed). I’ve tried several that looked wonderful on the hanger, but were rejected in the changing room before even crossing the threshold of my bottom.
I’ve also had little success with short playsuits – perhaps I have a long torso (or a massive gut?) because they cut into my nether regions like a cheese slice. Given our previous discussions on camel toes, I have no desire to flaunt a frontal feminine wedgie.
But when you get a playsuit right, they are just wonderful. Yes, there’s a whiff of the children’s TV presenter about them – but that’s when you plump for bright colours, bold prints and thick cottons. If you go all-out for glam, with heels and beautiful accessories, the playsuit is a strangely beautiful thing.
They’re also versatile. This classic black number from Miss Selfridge would work as well in an office as it would in a bar. With the right hair and accessories, Religion’s gorgeous one piece can be casual spring wear or sexy club attire. If you want something as bold as it is playful Traffic People’s Lock Up Suit might make you feel a bit faint (in a good way).
The new playsuits for Spring 2010 are also bang-on for double-trending. Lace is big news for March & April – and Dorothy Perkins’ navy lace playsuit is mega. TopShop’s pansy print playsuit is perfect for your floral fix, and if you loved the harem look last summer get a load of this baby by Firetrap – you can even turn it into a two piece! Genius.
I’ve got a particular fondness for this two-tone jersey jumpsuit – on paper, it shouldn’t work. But it does…it does!
Whatever the style or shape of your perfect playsuit, there is still one major problem to contend with; just pray you never get caught short in a public place. Even peeing behind a bush is a humiliating experience when there’s a playsuit in the mix. Take it from someone who knows. But what’s style without the sacrifice of one’s dignity? Exactly.