NEW YORK (AP) — For the past few fashion cycles, it’s been all about the dress. Women love it because it’s easy, versatile and flattering.
But now you have a closet full of dresses and not a whole lot of money to spend on something you already own. A potential replacement “it” item: the jumpsuit.
Don’t wince, or at least don’t wince without at least trying to overlook the one-piece images that popped into your mind — of 1970s disco queens at Studio 54, of Catwoman, of prisoners.
“Jumpsuits were a major trend on the spring runways, beginning in New York and continuing all through Europe,” says Colleen Sherin, fashion markets director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “There were so many of them, we couldn’t ignore them.”
She does indeed see them as an evolution of the dress. “Women like to be ready to go in one piece.”
Designer Elie Tahari reports that sales have been swift.
“It looks fresh and new,” says Tahari, who offered jumpsuit silhouettes as part of his tropical-themed spring collection.
“It’s something that hasn’t been around. You can wear it more to go out than to go to work, but you could wear it to work. … You can dress it up with an obi belt, you can dress it down with chunky jewelry.”
Still not convinced?
Actress Mizuo Peck wasn’t so sure when she was asked to wear jumpsuits for an AP photo shoot, but she was happy with her two outfits — a champagne-colored satin one with a halter neckline and a black romper by Helmut Lang worn with a short black-and-white jacket and red patent leather belt.
“I was a skeptic,” says Peck, who’ll reprise her role as Sacajawea in “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”
“I usually dress so the body looks good — and I thought they’d be unflattering. But I’d wear this black outfit to a spring brunch or a get together with girlfriends. I feel chic, sort of 1950s polished.”
She’d consider buying a short jumpsuit for herself now that she sees it’s a flexible piece, she says. Plus, it isn’t something in her current wardrobe rotation.
The dressier jumpsuit by Diane von Furstenberg made her feel glamorous and sexy. She thought it was a combination of the satin and the silhouette, which was bare on top and had fuller thighs and then a tapered calf. “I’d wear this to a gallery opening. It has that edgy, chic thing going for when people will be watching you.”
Tahari also sees the sex appeal of the jumpsuit. “I think the fact that you’re wearing something that goes to the floor — it makes it an ‘event’ piece. It’s very sexy and it enhances the figure.”
The modern version isn’t quite the same as the one at the center of the disco dance floor, notes Tahari. It’s a little “less vulgar,” he says, a little more relaxed. The old one was tighter to the body.
Saks’ Sherin says that the jumpsuit leads naturally into two other spring trends: bold costume jewelry and aggressive shoes. (Peck’s evening look was adorned with a chunky green necklace and snakeskin gladiatorlike heels.)
And, she says, with a belt, a hesitant wearer might convince herself it’s a blouse tucked into a trouser — she just didn’t have to do the work of figuring out which pieces to wear.