Jumpsuits: A History

Jumpsuits: The Cooler Older Sister of the Dress

1970s Missy Jumpsuit Paisley Psychedelic Print

Studies have shown that jumpsuits are one of the best ways to turn a head and get a compliment! While we love dresses, there's just something so effortlessly cool about showing up to the party in a jumpsuit - especially one with wide legs that has the illusion of a dress because you get to do the reveal! We have a great selection in the Shopify and Etsy shops, with options for everyday practical wear and for the oomph factor on a night out! 

The history of the jumpsuit goes as far back as the 1910s, when it was designed as a practical garment for parachuters. There were also boiler-suits/coveralls that were worn by men working with coal-fire burners. Eventually, women working in factories during the First World War were allowed to wear jumpsuits to work as of 1915, and it would be adopted again by women working in munitions factories in the Second World War.

1917 lithograph by paul iribe from the bard graduate centre exhibition, association pour l'histoire de la mode  1918 l'emancipation feminine by Laborde
Left to Right: A lithograph from 1917 by Paul Iribe from Association pour l'Histoire de la Mode, and "L'Emancipation feminine" by Laborde, 1918, from Association pour l'Histoire de la Mode.
WW II Marine Corps Woman Mechanics wearing jumpsuits
WWW II Marine Corps women mechanics
elsa schiaparelli jumpsuit circa 1930-1935 from the Met Elsa Schiaparelli jumpsuit 1930s
1st Jumpsuit: Elsa Schiaparelli jumpsuit from the Met collection, circa 1930-1935, 
2nd Jumpsuit: Elsa Schiaparelli jumpsuit circa 1930s

The first iteration of the jumpsuit as a fashion garment came in the 1930s via Elsa Schiaparelli, who created wide leg one-pieces inspired by the parachuter's uniform. Vera Maxwell re-introduced it in the 1940s, although it was still considered a novelty item. Bonnie Cashin began designing evening-wear jumpsuits in the 1950s, but their popularity finally rose in the 1960s via Pauline Trigère's trendy iterations of the garment. The first jumpsuit to appear in a magazine was one by by Guy Laroche in Vogue's 1964 September Issue pictured below. The jumpsuit then took off with every big designer coming up with their version. Superstars like Cher and Elvis donned them for performances, and Halston was dressing the Studio 54 set in his ethereal and disco jumpsuits. In the 80s, Geoffrey Beene declared the jumpsuit "the ballgown of the next century" and we can see it has stuck around!  

1960s Pauline Trigere cotton jumpsuit

Pauline Trigère 1960s cotton jumpsuit

1964 vogue september issue photo of Guy Laroche jumpsuit

Guy Laroche's jumpsuit featured in the 1964 Vogue September Issue

We have jumpsuits from the 70s, 80s and 90s available for your perusal - from workwear coveralls, to psychedelic prints! Click through any image to shop

1980s Coveralls Utility Khaki Cotton Workwear

1980s Khaki Green Jumpsuit

80s Black Palazzo Jumpsuit with Crystal Beaded Neckline

1970s Palazzo Leg Abstract Print Jumpsuit with Cut Out Neckline

1980s Naf Naf Cotton Jumpsuit  

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