As a one-piece garment that slips on with ease, the jumpsuit has been a popular fashion item since the 1980s. With bright bold colors and prints, the women’s jumpsuit was the epitome of “cool style” in the 80s.
However, before this boom, the jumpsuit hadn’t seen much love in the fashion world. Despite being simple in design and effortless in wear, the jumpsuit was originally more of a work outfit for professional pilots and drivers. This lack of initial glamour kept the jumpsuit in the background for much of its lifespan.
So what prompted the jumpsuit’s sudden popularity in today’s fashion and how did it get its start?
Born from a vision of the Futurist movement by Italian artist Ernesto Michahelles (Thayaht), the TuTa was the first fashion jumpsuit. Thayaht visualized a piece of clothing that would be a staple in the average person’s closet. He created his T-shaped invention in 1919 to attract the working class and be an anti-bourgeois statement. However, the working class lacked interest and instead the upper class adopted the style, ironically.
Not too soon after, a similar jumpsuit popped up in Soviet Russia in 1923 from artist couple, Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova. Their jumpsuit was called the Varst and was crafted in a similar fashion to the original TuTa, as a one-piece essential that the working class could utilize. However, the political climate of Soviet Russia prevented the design from launching to great heights.
The Jumpsuit Evolved
It wasn’t until the 1930s when Elsa Schiaparelli created the first women’s jumpsuit that the jumpsuit began to gain popularity. Schiaparelli’s inspiration came from promoting the modern women’s need for freedom of movement. Her luxury jumpsuits were made from green silk and featured large front pockets.
Fast-forward to the liberating 60s and 70s and Schiaparelli’s jumpsuits began to inspire high-end designers like Yves Saint-Laurent. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, and even Elvis Presley stepped out in the style.
The disco era particularly saw dancers decked out in silky one-pieces.
The Modern Day Jumpsuit
Today’s jumpsuit has evolved greatly from the original conception promoted by Thayaht. Madonna’s all black bustier jumpsuit in Papa Don’t Preach and the red jumpsuit worn by Britney Spears in her trending Oops I Did It Again video set the stage for the modern one-piece.
In current fashion, jumpsuits have become a mixture of provocative and simplicity, as many of the designs feature flattering shapes that hug onto curves while still covering up. Jumpsuits have even made their way onto the red carpet, with the jumpsuit dress replacing ball gowns and other predictable choices.
As our lives continue to grow more hectic, there is nothing easier than just throwing on a one-piece and feeling completely ready to take on the day. From office-wear to a night out look, the jumpsuit has become incredibly versatile with subdued colors and fabrics much more common.
As big name designers like Stella McCartney continue to push the jumpsuit onto the runway, we can be sure that the jumpsuit is here to stay as more than just an iconic one-piece.