Jumpsuit for joy
Along with capes and ponchos, jumpsuits are probably one of the more daunting and maligned items of clothing. They were big news for both women and men in the Seventies but in my family only one person wore a jumpsuit and it was my dad — when he went parachuting. A few decades later and jumpsuits have become a standard part of most wardrobe collections.
Still, they continue to cause a stir on the red carpet. Oscar nominee Emma Stone recently stood out from the gowned crowd at the Golden Globes in a bejewelled Lanvin jumpsuit with a dramatic sash and classic pointed heels. When Cameron Diaz was promoting her comedy Sex Tape last year, she rocked the ruby rug in a couple of jumpsuits, including a magical, blood-red strapless, wide-legged number by Dior. In 2012, Australian actress Rose Byrne was at the vanguard of jumpsuiting when she wore a glittering version to the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards paired with a Wintour-esque bob. In the ensuing weeks she was called upon to justify her brave choice — and did so in style.
“I knew it was not going to be received well by everybody, so I was prepared for that, ” the Damages and Bridesmaids star said. “What was really lovely on the night was that I had so many compliments from people at the event and that was really nice — but I did think it would be risky. No risk, no reward, isn’t that what they say? It’s fashion. It should be fun! So it’s good to take a chance.”
It can still go horribly wrong, though — even for fastidiously-styled glamour girls of Hollywood. Last month Goop’s Gwyneth Paltrow made what has been widely hyped as an “hilarious” appearance on funnyman Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. Apparently critics found her Broadway-style versions of rap songs hilarious — not the ill-advised, ill-fitted, nude, high-necked jumpsuit with a pointless faux-fly, questionable ruffle and visible Spanx-short lines on her tiny mid-thighs. We’re big fans of contouring garments but surely the point is that you can’t see them? This jumpsuit was the work of Elie Saab, who also designed the aforementioned winner worn by Rose Byrne so we will forgive him. And Gwyneth should know better.
Back in the real world, if you’ve ever stepped out in a natty all-in-one you’d have heard at least a few times from others “I could never wear that”. Oh, but you could! It should go without saying that the keys are finding a jumpsuit that fits your height and shape and wearing it with conviction. And how can you not be confident in a garment that gives you all the benefits of an easy one-piece outfit such as a frock, with the freedom of pants.
If you’re tall, jumpsuits of all kinds are your natural ally. Obviously choose a style that highlights your best assets. Don’t want to show off that turkey-plump tummy? Throw on a draped or empire-line pantsuit that scoots over the speed bumps and slows down where it counts. Not catwalk height? What about a pantsuit with slim-cut legs that graze your ankles. Avoid styles with bell bottoms that hide your feet and go all the way to the floor (you’ll look like Gumby) or heavily cropped pants.
If you hate your upper arms, grab a pantsuit with a short sleeve. A mid-length sleeve to just above the elbow is super flattering. Love your arms but want to hide your decolletage? Go for a halter. If you love what’s going on up top but aren’t so keen on your hips, opt for a sleeveless pantsuit with culotte-style legs — it’s right on trend. If you’re curvier, make sure you highlight that waist and even a cheeky bit of bust.
And it’s important to wear the right shoes: a minimal strappy heel works best with an evening pantsuit, strappy flats are fine for more relaxed styles.
Jumpsuits are effortlessly chic and for those who need it, slimming. And fear not: the practicalities of wearing a jumpsuit are really no big deal. If you are deterred by the idea of having to get half-undressed to go to the loo, just remember those bodysuits we had to struggle with in the early Nineties. Slipping out of a jumpsuit is a doddle compared with doing up the crotch press-studs on one of those nasty garments after a few midori splices.
Online is a great place to find the jumpsuit of your dreams but make sure they have a good return policy because it’s got to fit like a dream. ASOS has an excellent range of jumpsuits for all body types, including petites and taller gals (asos.com/au). Sites such as boohoo.com and citychic.com.au have a good range of chic plus-size jumpsuits. Locally, Witchery, Supre and Country Road are among many to have embraced the trend — celebrated Sydney designer Johanna Johnson’s latest bridal collection even features a daring jumpsuit. For us, the queen of jumpsuits is Carla Zampatti. She regularly adds big style points to her collections with at least a couple of inspired jumpsuits for audacious ladies of all ages.
Apparently the next phase of the jumpsuit trend is the boiler suit, although we’re not entirely sure about that one.
© The West Australian
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