A veritable adult onesie, a camel-toe conundrum (sorry, Gwyneth!) and now on the fashion radar, the jumpsuit is making yet another resurgence on red carpets and runways, but for mere mortals,  it can be a tricky look. Today, we’re sharing tips on how to navigate the trend while honoring the shape the good Lord gave you!

For many, the mere mention of a jumpsuit can make you throw up a tiny bit in your mouth while visions of crotch-hugging jumpsuits-gone-bad dance in your head.

White sleeveless jumpsuit from Macy's

If a stunning model can look bad in a jumpsuit, what hope do mere mortals have? Image: Macy’s

And even those who love the idea of a jumpsuit still have to contend with the whole going to the bathroom thing. And the not-a-perfect-size-negative-2 thing.

Call me a crazy fashion pundit, but you might be looking at the jumpsuit all wrong. Adjust your one-piece, one-track mind and ban any thoughts of baby onesies or drop-crotch, flammable-fabric jumpsuits. The jumpsuit in your future can be flattering and versatile, and yes, still wildly hard to get out of when you need to hurry to the loo. Even I can’t do anything about the bathroom conundrum, but two out of three isn’t bad. Here’s what to look for if you’re going to ride the jumpsuit train.

Think Monochromatic

What is the oft-repeated rule for creating a long, lean silhouette? A fool-the-eye trick that stylists always lean on? Keep the top and bottom monochromatic. And what is a jumpsuit but a monochromatic outfit for those days when you don’t want to try matching the sorta black pants to the truly black blouse. By very virtue of its oneness, a jumpsuit is a one-note wonder.

Old Navy jumpsuit

Monochromatic dressing is another way of saying “jumpsuit.” Image: Old Navy

I can hear your eyes rolling and your thoughts swirling. If monochromatic magic is so slimming, why do so many jumpsuits look heinous on perfectly nonheinous bodies? Because so many woman suspend the rule of fit when shopping for a jumpsuit, which brings us to the next point …

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Rule of Fit

If you are a petite woman who’s out pant shopping, do you pluck billowy palazzo trousers? No, you choose pants that don’t overwhelm your frame. The same rule applies to your jumpsuit. Petites, opt for a standard trouser width or a narrow, tapered leg when buying a jumpsuit.

Black jumpsuit from Express

A standard trouser leg works for nearly every height when it comes to jumpsuit shopping. Image: Express

If you have a bit of a tummy, do you choose a trouser that is tight across the abdomen? Or do you opt for a high-waisted pant with a soft drape that glides over your mid-section? (You are scoring points here if you choose option #2.)

Adorable pin-stripe jumpsuit from Nordstrom

Got tummy? Opt for a high-waisted pant with a soft drape that glides over your mid-section. Image: Nordstrom

The same fit formula goes for the dreaded camel toe, a fashion fail that happens when a jumpsuit is too short in the stride or tight in the rear and pulls at the crotch. If you are pear-shaped, buy a jumpsuit that fits your bottom and have the top taken in. If you are long-waisted, look for jumpsuits that have a blouson top with an elastic waist. The blouson will be more forgiving than a jumpsuit with a more fitted top.

Cozy jumpsuit from Neiman Marcus

A blouson top in a jumpsuit works if you are long-waisted. Image: Neiman Marcus

For nearly every body size and shape? Take three options into the dressing room. A size up, your regular size and a size down. Even brands that have consistent fits don’t always get jumpsuit sizing right.

Last on the fit formula? If you are tall enough for a flowy palazzo pant, make sure they literally graze the floor. The long, fluid line of the jumpsuit elongates and looks elegant. If they are too short? The jumpsuit looks awkward.


Stunning green jumpsuit with ruffled sleeves from Macy's

Long and flowy jumpsuits should have a floor-grazing hem. And tapered pant-style jumpsuits should hit at the ankle bone, never higher. Image: Macy’s

And while a tapered-hem jumpsuit can hit at the ankle bone, don’t opt for clam-digger short. Anything shorter than ankle-length is a jumpsuit no-no.

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Vow for Versatility

I’m not sure how jumpsuits became tagged as sexy (onesies aren’t sexy!), but they can work for daywear. In fact, they are the perfect desk-to-dinner option. A basic black jumpsuit looks suitable for work if you pair it with a tailored blazer or long jacket. Ditch the coat, add strappy sandals and you are good to go for an evening out.

Chic black jumpsuit

Jumpsuits work for daywear when paired with a jacket. Throw a blazer over this and you’re ready to roll. Image: Bloomingdale’s

So there you have it … all the tools you need to enjoy the jumpsuit trend and look good doing it. Three rules, easy peasy. Can someone make sure Gwyneth gets the memo?


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