It was something of a jumpsuit jamboree on the runways this season with many labels sending out at least one and DKNY dedicating a multi-model finale to the item. But that’s not big news in itself, although it would have been not so many seasons ago before one-piece dressing hit the mainstream.
The fact is that the jumpsuit is now a staple, a core item that can go from causal day to ultra dressy (I went to a wedding earlier this year and there was more than one scattered among the close relatives). It’s the kind of item few youth and contemporary labels can do without, although its popularity tends to wane the older, shorter and less skinny the shopper gets!
I’m a big jumpsuit fan (despite being a bit too short to look super-cool in one) and I used to work with this season’s perfect jumpsuit target customer – a 5ft 10 Caroline de Maigret lookalike. But the beauty of SS17’s offer (and an inevitable consequence of the jumpsuit’s increasing popularity) is that if this season is about anything, it’s about choice. That means the tall street style star lookalikes, but also the height-challenged, the shapely, the skinny the young and the less young can find something to get excited about.
The season’s newest arrival is the utility jumpsuit. As close as it can get to traditional flight suits, it surprisingly feminine as a defined waist underlines a feminine shape (especially when combined with power shoulders or a casually undone zip over one of the season’s bra tops or camisoles). Designers have played with sheer or jersey materials, added zips, patches, contrast colour pockets or the season’s new power shoulder.
Designers take inspiration from workwear overalls rather than flight suits so you can forget the waistline altogether as these pieces skim the body for maximum comfort. But don’t think basic. DKNY may have kept the detail minimal to create a smooth line down to the cuffed pants but the striking finish of an integrated hood and a deep cut neckline took this out of the workshop occasionwear-with-an-edge territory. Meanwhile Isabel Marant used the contrast of striped shirting to make an impact while Stella McCartney mixed in an outerwear vibe.
Jumpsuits and dungarees may once have been the ultimate macho garments but they’ve been feminised and given a girlish edge this season. Fit and flare cuts with SS17’s favourite wide pants emphasise the feminine form and work well for both occasion and careerwear. And don’t forget the spring and summer’s key details as floral prints, frills and leg of mutton sleeves add a softer edge to casual looks.
Dungarees move from ‘It’ item to staple as designers embrace volume cuts and cropped trouser lengths. Cutaway silhouettes like those at 3.1 Phillip Lim offer plenty of scope for combining them with SS17’s sleeve-focused blouses and bra tops. Meanwhile more traditional cuts also have some surprises in store. Find embroidered pocket motifs, or straps tied into utility ‘bows’ rather than being secured with clips. The high street can also take inspiration from Chloé. The label’s retro floral celebration top and pants may not be a dungaree but the allover print look is screaming out to be cut as a one piece.