We've all seen fashions come and go, whether a brief fad or couple year trend, but there is one fashion style that has particularly piqued our interest. With all the rage being cute rompers... Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about rompers? Where did this popular trend come from and is it going to last? Originally thought to be a nod vintage fashion, rompers continue to evolve with new modern day styles, including one for men. There are also many people still skeptical about wearing rompers, so let’s take a look into the popular fashion style of cute rompers and see what it is all about. We are here to get the facts straight and enlighten your world of the century-old fashion known as the romper!
How did these one-piece wonders come about anyhow? In the early 1900s, rompers were first introduced as one-piece garments with shorts for infants. Made in easy to wash fabrics like cotton and loose fitting styles for easier mobility, this new development of practical play wear was the first casual clothing style made for children. The French even made a dressier version for their children to wear for more formal occasions. Originally made in solid colors and gingham check prints, floral designs and animal motifs made their début in the 1920s. The unisex design eventually segmented into gender-specific colors and patterns. The "onesie", as we now call it, is still the most popular and practical baby fashion to this day. So basically, the evolution of this wide stream women’s fashion trend started as a fashion for children. Pretty cool right? But it doesn’t stop there; the story is just getting started!
Due to the economic crisis of the Great Depression and men leaving to fight in WWII, women had to enter the workforce and this, my friends, changed fashion forever. Despite skepticism at the time regarding women wearing pants, women were given a role that needed more practical garments to do the job in. Rationing also led to the construction of garments with considerably less fabric. Wearing fewer articles of clothing/less layers and shortening the hemlines of dresses and pants became practical ways to adapt to the current economic situation. This in turn, brought about the production of utilitarian style one-piece outfits for women. In result, women’s rompers became the newest fashion trend of the 1940s.
The popularity of women’s rompers peaked during the post-war times of the 1950s. Also known as The Golden Age, this American era is known for its family-oriented, prosperous, and happy lifestyle due to the growth of economic stability. With men coming home from war, these times were full of celebration and family. Women wore playsuits as a casual summer outfit to wear outdoors to celebrate and entertain in. Rompers were then termed “playsuits”, a term we often use interchangeably with romper to this day. Playsuits were made for fun in the sun and entertaining whether on the beach or in the backyard. Contrary to the previous decade, these playsuits were made of bright, vibrant colors in contrast to the dull, drab colors in the 1940s as a reflection of the happier times. Bright reds, greens and blues were trendy colors of the time. Playsuits additionally featured popular printed fabrics like plaids, gingham and checks in bright colors as well. In the latter half of the 1950s, vivid floral patterns and fun Hawaiian prints were introduced and were a must-have playsuit for that time these were some of the cutest rompers on the scene. Also made with easy to wash, lightweight cotton fabrics, this decade introduced rayon as a new fabric alternative to the playsuit scene. This decade gave us our first glimpse of ready-to-wear fashion and will always coin the term vintage playsuit.
Above: 1959 Mademoiselle Magazine with Audrey Hepburn in a stripe playsuit [source: Pinterest]
Above: 1950 Harper's Bazaar Magazine Cover featuring a playsuit
Above: 1959 Mademoiselle Magazine featuring a gingham playsuit
Rompers stayed popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s when they were first considered an actual fashion, rather than just casual clothing. A wider variety of materials started to be used in manufacturing playsuits as well. Long rompers, or rompers with pants instead of shorts, are called jumpsuits. Although seemingly different in style, many people still use the terms jumpsuit and romper/playsuit interchangeably to this day due to their similarities in origin. Jumpsuits were introduced to the scene in the early 19th century initially for men to wear parachuting and skydiving, but then became popular for women in the 1930’s. The jumpsuit became a statement fashion for both men and women in the 1970s, as seen worn by many music and dance influencers that appeared on the TV show Soul Train. The seventies fashion movement in general was a radical transformation in society that changed fashion forever. As disco fashion led the way, the 1980s decade featured jumpsuits with everything from shiny fabrics and head-to-toe embellishments that made the ultimate statement outfit.
Above: 1974 Jumpsuit Advertisement
Both jumpsuits and rompers started to fade away once the 1990s came around, as styles like grunge and casual chic took over. Following that with the futuristic Y2K decade, we didn’t see rompers again until around 2006. The response to this soon-to-reemerge trend was reluctance; hence, the trend consistently going in and out of style over short periods of time before ultimately being accepted as a mainstream fashion. This uncertainty is probably what generated the confusion we’ve had about whether or not the romper is back as just a trend or is here to stay. Rompers made a huge comeback in the year 2011 and haven't gone away since! If anything, rompers have become even more stylish with an endless assortment of designs to choose from. Rompers and jumpsuits in general have become an acceptable fashion to wear to dressier, special occasions such as weddings and cocktail parties. Designers continue to flood the runway each season with new fashion styles that can easily be incorporated into every woman's closet. Additionally, the advancements in one-piece fit and silhouette designs are now flattering to all figures and can easily accommodate every body type. With a widespread assortment of design styles available, many featuring embellishments or trendy details, and an endless selection of fabrics to choose from have made these one-piece wonders designed to work on everyone no matter age, body shape or time of year. Rompers are still the must-have summer fashion due to the ideal combo of shorts, lightweight fabrics and overall style. However, due to the rise in popularity, designers have made rompers adaptable to the other seasons as well. Long sleeve rompers in heavier fabrics, such as velvet and suede, are a top fashion for the cooler seasons and look fabulous paired with boots or booties. You can easily don a pair of tights and a fur vest for those chillier days and what New Year’s Eve is complete without a sequin-embellished romper?! So as you can see, it is safe to say the romper is back and here to stay for good!
What’s so great about rompers? Let's talk about the perks.
One of the reasons the romper is so popular is in part due to its numerous advantages and they are as cute as ever! First and foremost, rompers are just plain easy! You don't have to worry about matching up a top and bottom outfit, because we all have those days where we just can’t make a decision. You get the easiness and comfort of a dress but the ability to do anything with the shorts. Rompers are also extremely versatile, as you can easily dress them up or down to suit your occasion. You can take the romper from day-to-night with just a change of shoes and jewelry. Also with an endless assortment of styles to choose from, there is quite literally something for everybody. Ranging from lounge attire to bathing suit cover-ups, casual daytime to dressy date-night styles and even fancier styles to wear for a more formal occasion, you essentially can have a wardrobe full of different designs that work for every day of the week! With so many one-piece options available, talk about an affordable style that's easy on the wallet! They are also simply fun to wear and they make a great travel companion too, as they take up less room in your suitcase and are easy to throw on and go. Rompers are perfect transitional outfits that easily adapt to the weather change from one season to the next. The advantages of the romper certainly justify its modern day comeback and permanent home in the fashion industry.
Modern Day Fashion
Since becoming a mainstream modern day fashion, another version of the romper has recently emerged and is currently a hot new trend. Fashion history still in the making ladies! Maxi rompers are the super chic and stylish one-piece sister of the romper who likes a little more whimsy in her everyday glam. Maxi rompers are a combination of a maxi dress and romper where a train or duster connects to the shorts portion of the romper on the back. Much like the skort, the style gives you the appearance of a romper with a train in the front and maxi dress in the back. So if you love the look of the maxi skirt but don’t want to feel covered up in the hot summer sun, a maxi romper is the perfect solution to keep you looking stylish and feeling breezy for any summer occasion. Maxi rompers are typically dressier than your everyday romper with an array of lightweight fabrics in a spectrum of colors and stylish prints to choose from. Thank of maxi rompers as the fancy sundress of the fashion world. From chic and sophisticated styles to extravagant modern styles, maxi rompers are a great way to make a fashion statement at a summer event.
Rompers and jumpsuits have become an acceptable fashion to wear to many special occasions throughout the year. At first, rompers seemed too casual of an outfit to wear to a wedding, business meeting, or other formal event. With the advancements of modern day styles available to choose from, society has grown accustomed to fashion-savvy women donning a lavish one-piece outfit to most fancy events. But rompers aren’t always glitz and glamour; they make a great lounge outfit too! Let’s break down the different romper fashions and see what these styles are all about.
1: Lounge Style Rompers
These rompers are more laid back than the rest. They are usually made of a softer knit material that is very comfortable and ideal for lounging around in. Whether it be a pair of pajamas, a bathing suit cover up or a simple outfit to run errands in, they are your go-to rompers for all-day comfort. Fabrics like jersey knit and terrycloth are common with this style and you can find any style sleeve, or lack there of, you can imagine. These rompers can easily be layered with a fitted tee or tank underneath and/or with a denim jacket for transitional outfits to get you through the change of the seasons. Since these lounge-style one-pieces aren’t meant to make a big fashion statement, you will often find them in neutral tone colors or dusty hues and also in mineral washes to make them look even more worn-in. Although commonly made in solid colors, stripes and tie-dye prints are a couple of cute romper patterns that add a little flair your overall look.
2: Casual Daytime Rompers
Now this category of rompers is much more broad, but certainly some of the cutest rompers made! Perfect for brunch or shopping with the girls, casual daytime rompers are the most versatile of the group as they can be worn with cute little sandals or wedges and easily dressed up or down to meet the occasion. Lightweight fabrics from cotton poly blends to linen and rayon to chambray offer a wide range of styles in this category to choose from. You can definitely find a solid-colored romper in any shade of the rainbow, but popular warm tones are pink, maroon, bright red and burnt orange. Popular cool tones are emerald green, royal blue and navy. Neutral colors like gray, taupe, white and the most iconic romper color, black, are just as popular. With rompers commonly layered with trendy jewelry, cute kimonos or denim jackets, sometimes letting the accessories make the color statement adds a chic touch and stylish flair to your outfit. If you do decide on a bright fun color, be sure to pair your cute romper with neutral accessories so it shines on its own!
Prints take the romper to the next level, as you can currently find an endless selection of patterns to choose from. Currently popular is of course floral prints. From allover blossoms to micro floral designs, you definitely need a floral romper in your closet. Palm prints have been popular the past couple of years and still going strong today in 2018. Tropical print rompers seem to be making a comeback since the popular 1950’s trend! Stripes are a timeless print especially on a cute romper. From big and bold stripes to thin pin stripes, stripes are always a flattering choice.
Above: Chic style rompers perfect for sorority recruitment.
Bohemian-influenced design styles are a very popular romper fashion. Ideal for wearing to concerts during the festival season, boho-chic rompers are just plain fun and easy to layer with boho accessories and a big pair of sunnies! Beach concerts or street fair festivals, you can rock your romper look with a lace bralette underneath, layered necklaces and feather earrings along with a floppy hat and voilà! Cool girl style cute rompers are ideal for wearing during sorority recruitment. This dressy casual romper is glam all by itself, but looks ultra-glam with a pair of pearls, gold cuff bracelet and a pair of sandals. Go for a sweet and chic look with a pastel color and sleek, sophisticated silhouette when choosing your romper. Simple styles are just as fashionable and can even make a more fashion impact than a romper with lots of frill. Rompers in solid colors representative of an athletic team are a popular choice for a game day outfit. Game day rompers are worn by not only college students, but women of all ages! You can easily find a romper that best suits your body type and in your teams colors to cheer them on in style!
*For more information on romper styles that would best suit your body type, check out this blog: Romper Styles for Your Body Type
3: Dressy Date-Night/Formal Rompers
These fashion-savvy rompers are much dressier than your typical casual style romper. Dressy date-night styles range from using satin-like or silky fine fabrics, dramatic details such as plunge necklines or backless styles, billowy sleeves, ruffles, off shoulder styles, fun embellishments and even head-to-toe sequins! Lace is also a popular choice and you can't go wrong with a little black romper. Easily dressed up with jewelry and heels or wedges, you can wear a dressier romper to a wedding, formal dinner, or a general night out.
Currently, there are many romper trends to be on the lookout for that are oh so cute and stylish.
- Off the shoulder and cold shoulder styles are both super cute and trendy and can be found on many style rompers. Sleeve detail, especially fluttery bell sleeves, are whimsical and add a feminine touch to your look. You can find many variations of other billowy sleeve styles from kimono sleeves to tiered ruffle sleeves. The more dramatic the sleeve, usually the more dressy the romper. But dainty little ruffle sleeves make a cute and casual fashion statement too!
- Open back detail adds the wow-factor to your outfit to either spice things up on date-night or keep things cool and breezy beachside. From cut-outs to crisscross strappy styles, everyone will want to watch you leave in a trendy open back romper!
- Anything that wraps, knots or ties is currently a top trend across the board, but especially with rompers. Wrap style rompers are super cute and fun to wear. Usually featuring a side tie and asymmetric hemline, you get the appearance of dress in the front and the convenience of a romper with the shorts! The best of both worlds! A tie-front romper also adds a little flair and fun. And if you're daring, go with a tie-front style that features a little cutout too!
To sum things up, the history of the romper fashion trend started over a century ago as a fashion for infants, and then it became a top fashion trend for women in the 1940s. This one-piece fashion trend peaked in the 1950s when the term "playsuit" was used as another word for the romper. Playsuits stayed fashionable through the 1980s as well as the jumpsuit, a favorite fashion of the time. Rompers seemingly disappear until they crept back on the scene in 2006. They were in and out of style until 2011 when they came back as a top fashion trend that never really went away. With the recent introduction of the maxi romper that has become a top spring and summer fashion the past couple of years, it is safe to say that the romper is back in a big way and ultimately here to stay!!
>>> But wait! Rompers aren't just for women and babies anymore!
Male rompers, aka "Romphims", are a thing and seriously projected to become a rising trend in men's fashion in the year(s) to come. Fashion history is still in the making folks!