Styled up or dressed down, the all-in-one is the go-anywhere look of the season (even a Royal wedding). Fashion Editor Stephanie Smith has how-to advice.
It’s the go-everywhere fashion trend that refuses to go away.
The jumpsuit – the all-in-one, the onesie, the catsuit, the boiler suit, the playsuit, the romper, call it what you will – has been back with us for a good few years now, effortlessly adapting to trends as it translates through the seasons.
Plain, floral, denim, striped, lace, wide-leg, cropped, utility, Bardot, we’re seeing all the themes of the moment reflected in jumpsuits, just as they are in dresses. In fact, some jumpsuits are almost indistinguishable from dresses, unless you watch very, very carefully as the wearer walks (and even then, it can be pretty much impossible to tell the difference).
And yet, it’s fair to say that jumpsuits are not really all that practical. Going to the ladies can be a challenge, and you would not want to wear a long wide-leg maxi jumpsuit anywhere “puddly”.
The loose-fitting ones, as I am discovering at the moment, can feel a little breezy in cold weather and high winds, but a fine cotton or thermal long-sleeve top underneath (try Marks & Spencer’s Heatgen collection) does help. And tights.
That said, jumpsuits are often a little bit special and almost always highly adaptable, or they can be. The wide-leg ones of all lengths, print or plain, are proving remarkably versatile this summer. With the upcoming Royal Wedding throwing the focus on special occasion dressing, it’s worth considering an all-in-one as an easy but effective day-to-night piece. So, for example, take a print jumpsuit in a fluid shape with lovely detailing (such as the halter-neck one here from Jigsaw, or the blue-and-black floral print frilled one from JD Williams) and style with mid-heel strappy wedges or block heels (better on the inevitable grass) for daytime, plus a blazer or long kimono-style or edge-to-edge jacket, in a suitable shade (white or cream, if you’re uncertain). Come the evening, whip off the jacket, add some sparkly high heels, earrings and clutch, and you’re ready to party.
This same jumpsuit will also work dressed down with trainers or Converse for weekends and with flat sandals and mules for sunshine and holidays.
Cross-body bags look good with all-in-ones, which can be handy for festivals and holidays, and hats work well, too. It’s this chameleon-like quality that has earned them a must-have place in our wardrobe.
YORKSHIRE FASHION DIARY
Now-Oct 26: Himalayan Fashion at Lotherton Hall, near Leeds. Discover sumptuous silk brocades, geometric dhaka cotton weaves, fine Kashmir wool shawls and rainbows of printed prayer flags. Entrance to hall and grounds, £7.50 (adults).
■ To May 6: The Fashion Space at Leeds International Festival Catwalks in shipping containers on Briggate with free runway shows from High Street retailers on Saturday, May 5, and from fashion graduates on Sunday, May 6. Go to the festival website, www.leedsinternationalfestival.com
May 4: 4.15-6.30pm. In Conversation with Fashion East at the Spiegeltent, Millennium Square. Lulu Kennedy with alumni designers Matty Bovan, Per Götesson, Mimi Wade and Art School. Tickets: £10. Further details and tickets for Leeds International Festival events, visit leedsinternationalfestival.com.