Friday, 3 April 2015

Desperately Seeking Jumpsuits

For a while, I was a woman on a mission. What was the grand goal ahead? Was I working towards some big achievement? Well, yes, actually (more on that soon), but for the purposes of this piece of writing – no. I had a far simpler mission. I was a woman desperately seeking a jumpsuit.

I hunted through clothes rails, combed eBay, sniffed out every one-piece in Rokit and Beyond Retro, all to no avail. Being rather tall and very picky (eighties? No, no darling, not quite what I’m looking for. Think good tailoring and louche elegance, not shoulder pads), I knew it was going to take a while… I was in this for the long haul.

Let me take a step back and unravel the logic. Why did it have extra significance, above all other wardrobe items? Call it the elusiveness factor. Unlike, say, a cotton sundress or good silk shirt, the jumpsuit is hard to get right – to be tucked and seamed for perfect fit, providing an optimum amount of confidence. Think of it as the relationships conundrum of the clothing world. Intelligent, interesting, attractive, compatible people where it just works aren’t always easy to find. Plenty have qualities making them ideal friends, but nothing more – well suited to fabulous conversation and raucous evenings, rather than longstanding, unwavering devotion. (Actually? Who am I kidding? That’s exactly how I view my best friends too). 

It’s easy to try plenty of them on for size – nearly there, but a little too tight, or short in the leg, or designed in such a way as to make your torso seem twice as big. There are also many that one could settle for, if necessary, but with the knowledge that they’re only temporary, merely a stopgap on the way to a better fit. But oh the moment when you find the ideal! Suddenly the waiting is worth it. Now you can look fabulous, and feel all the fiercer. Whether it’s some strappy black thing, or a more robust creation complete with sleeves, buttons and a collar, there’s a hard-to-pin-down quality to the best jumpsuits - a kind of easy, practical glamour adding extra slink to your stride (plus, obviously, the less sophisticated frustration of having to half-undress every time you go to the loo). Jumpsuits are powerful. They mean business. You can’t stand around apologetically in a jumpsuit. The right one won’t allow for that.

I don’t think I’m the only woman who’s been seeking out the superlative jumpsuit. I’ve had a handful of conversations/ rounds of commiseration with others over the pursuit of this seemingly unattainable garment. I guess it’s a hard one to get right. It must suit your body shape, flatter without either constricting internal organs or leaving you with lots of excess fabric, and hold its own with some audacity. Not much to ask…

I finally found mine in a charity shop (where else?), hesitantly taking it the changing rooms, convinced it wouldn’t accommodate my length of leg. But I got lucky. I’m not sure yet if it’s the one for me, but for now it suits just fine. And I tell you what – I feel rather formidable whenever I’ve got it on.

Everything I'm wearing with the jumpsuit is also second hand. This set of observations was partly inspired by a Twitter conversation earlier this week, when the ever-excellent Sophie Heawood was singing the praises of (and looking amazing in) a particularly delectable jumpsuit from BOB by Dawn O'Porter. In response, Niki from Miss Magpie Fashion Spy swooped in quick-smart with her pens to whip up some wonderful illustrations. She kindly allowed me to reproduce them here. I think between the two drawings, she aptly captures the potential of a fabulous jumpsuit to uplift, enhance and generally make the day a bit better. Oh, and while we're in the subject of all things all-in-one, I should point out that Vix rocks a catsuit like no one else. See here if you need convincing. 


Closet Fashionista said...

Ooh! The jumpsuit looks amazing on you! Searching really does pay!
Sadly every time I've tried a jumpsuit they look horrible on me, ha ha. Just have to keep trying I guess

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

I mean .... HELLO???.... Can you be more elegant and sexy????
Today you have this essence, this force of pure femininity and power. I just fall in love with you, again. You look amazing in black -here I must clarify that I am not a black fan precisely because people with no taste think that one always looks sophisticated in black- and those shoes are just perfect.


Jess (freedom, books, flowers) said...

Gorgeous jumpsuit - what a great find! I've got the opposite problem, thanks to my short legs I'm still after that elusive all-in-one that actually fits!

Vix said...

You know I adore a jumpsuit and you look absolutely ravishing in yours. They do seem to have such short legs, even a midget like me has trouble. xxx

Anupriya DG said...

I won't say formidable...but you sure look like a million bucks in this piece!!
And you are right, Vix does knock them jumpsuits right outta the park! :)

P.S.: The hunt for the jumpsuit that would suit me is still on!

Izzy DM said...

Too funny. I just came back from a walk in which I saw and lusted after the perfect jumpsuit in a window. A blue printed number. No way it would fit me in my current state... I will have to miss that trend this year. Love them, though. Looks lovely on you! x

Pilgrim at Kerjacob said...

You look wonderful! I am 70 this summer so the age when jumpsuits were all the rage when I was young.
I am not blessed with your figure but a jumpsuit was what I wanted. I remember well finding one I really liked put it on but found that I couldn't properly stand up in it unless I was willing to be virtually cut in half vertically ! The length of the torso zip was too short - fine if I wanted to be walking round bent over but at 19 I wanted to look elegant. Your piece today has brought it all back. What fun.


I have always loved jumpsuits, and rompers--I still have an eighties one that I love. Your jumpsuit looks nice, I love the satin bodice detail, certainly a style to keep in your wardrobe until you add more to the collection. <3

Ivana Split said...

thank you for your comment dear...happy Easter!
that jumpsuit was made for you...your legs look a mile long!...and such a polished and elegant look.

Helen Le Caplain said...

Get out of my head!

I've been on a long-haul search for one of my own!

The leg length is an issue as is the unfortunate creation of erm, well, a camel toe situ, (intrinsically linked to lack of leg length!) that makes it seem like a never-ending search.

I managed to snaffle one in a high-street sale for the princely sum of three quid and got another red one for the same price.

Pics to follow!

Yours looks lovely :)

Melanie said...

Your legs look so long in this jumpsuit you need traffic lights. Er. Right. Anyway... I have one jumpsuit I love with rhinestones bordering slits along the sides, very Vegas grand piano styling. I also love Niki's illustrations!

Francesca Rose said...

I have a problem. I really wish I could wear a jumpsuit and look as stunning as you do but I'm small and I don't think I will ever find one that looks right on me. They just seem to be made for long legs. *sighs*


Ariana Watson said...

Oh!!! Jumpsuit looks so amazing on you. I think it looks nice on long legs. Mansuri