The Good & Bad of Jumpsuits and Rompers

Jumpsuits and rompers are all-in-one garments. Somewhat like a dress where the bottom part resembles pants instead of a skirt. Rompers have shorts on the bottom, whereas jumpsuits are cropped pants or full-length pants on the bottom. Rompers are sometimes also called playsuits. 

Jumpsuits and rompers come in all sorts of colours, patterns, fabrics, and silhouettes. They can also be dressy or casual. Here are some examples.

Jumpsuits and rompers are an acquired taste because, like most wardrobe items, they have their fab and not so fab attributes.

The Good

  • They are an easy one piece pull-on-and-go that requires little thought and styling
  • No need to tuck, semi-tuck, or worry about a too short or too long untucked top
  • They have a playful and fun Modern and Modern Retro integrity
  • Thanks to the pants, they’re not as breezy, revealing and impractical as a dress can be
  • They make a unique and interesting statement because there are fewer people wearing them

The Bad

  • They can sometimes look too child-like and juvenile
  • They can be hard to fit, because the length and width of the waist has to be in exactly the right place
  • They are EXTREMELY impractical when you need the loo

I have a jumpsuit, which you might remember from this old outfit post. It’s four years old and I’ve worn it twice because it’s THE fussiest, most uncomfortable, and most impractical item in my wardrobe. I thought it would be fun to wear because I love the glam ‘70s, but all it does is drive me bananas. I have to wear it with two and a half inch heels that I no longer own or wear. Going to the loo means I have to strip to my undies leaving the jumpsuit rumpled at my feet, which is a lot of fabric because of the long flared legs. In short, it’s an awful wearing experience. Yet, I keep the jumpsuit because it’s a spectacular and well-made designer piece. I keep on thinking I’ll haul it out for some glam occasion, in which case I’ll need to hem the length to wear with one and a quarter inch heels.

Jumpsuit - 1

Jumpsuit - 2

I LOVE the look of jumpsuits for the fabulous reasons I’ve described up top. They’re such a fun, unique and easy piece if you’re fine with the impractical part when going to the loo. I don’t know if the experience of wearing this jumpsuit has put me off for life, but I guess there’s only one way to find out. I’ll need to try a shorter version that I can wear with flats, and that isn’t as big a rumpled mess on the ground when I need the loo. Maybe a boiler suit of sorts, which I happily wore in the ’80s.

Over to you. What’s your take on jumpsuits and rompers, and do you wear them?

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Link Love: Two Women on Going Grey

Alyson Walsh of That’s Not My Age has been documenting her process of transitioning to grey hair for a while now. I particularly liked what she said in her latest blog post on the subject:

“Part of the fear of going grey when you’re over-50, is that the change (of hair colour) will make you look older. I know I look my age and I’m happy with that. With age, comes self-acceptance and increased confidence. Admittedly, there are times when my hair is tied back and I catch my make-up-less-self in the mirror and get a bit of a shock. But I can always usher in the blusher. The reality of this grey-naissance is that I don’t feel older. I feel authentic. I feel better.”

Emma Beddington, who has alopecia universalis (an auto-immune condition where the body views hair as an intruder), switched out her usual auburn wig for a silver grey one, and found that going grey stirred up unexpected emotions:

“I thought this grey business would be a lark, but it wasn’t, actually. It poked at spots I didn’t know were tender and awoke a desire to look nice I had long squashed down. I was sceptical of the much-documented drama of hair ‘transition’ I explored online, silently judging the ‘brave’ and ‘not for the faint-hearted’ narrative grey positivity seems to inspire. This week has taught me I was wrong. Confronting the reality of a physical self you hide or ignore is big stuff, it transpires, and oddly exposing. Theresa has forced me to accept that I am not just a disembodied brain in a padded gilet. But now what? Grey is anything but giving up: it’s hopeful but it’s also challenging.”

Fab Links from Our Members

Robin Givhan’s point about the perjorative use of ‘old lady’ to describe unflattering clothes completely resonated with Shevia: “Indeed, for each silver-haired model with sharp cheekbones and a long, lean body that designers put on the runway or venerate in an advertising campaign or on the red carpet, they articulate countless cautions against ‘old lady’ style, or ensembles looking too ‘mother-of-the-bride’ or ‘mumsy’ — all of which land like a thousand paper cuts.”

UmmLila wanted to share this article about public figures receiving advice on how to be appropriately dressed for the occasions they appear at.

Runcarla thinks it’s pretty cool when celebrities ‘thrift’, and particularly interesting that vintage maternity wear from the late ’50s and ’60s seems apropos.

Following our recent conversation about leggings, kkards thinks Vanessa Friedman has done a great job of laying out the leggings debate as a generation shift. This paragraph in particular spoke to her: “The truth is, it’s possible leggings may be simply standing in for those other issues. One of the great gotchas of fashion is that what may appear superficial or unimportant (leggings!) is, in fact, representative of a more complicated, harder to express reality (identity). This is what gives clothes their power.”

Thinking about identity, Vildy enjoyed this article on leather jackets for guys who aren’t sure about leather jackets.

Recently unfrumped has been feeling inspired by Jamie-Lee of Mademoiselle and Alyssa Beltempo of msbeltempo: “Both actually for buying less. I am continuing my very slow wardrobe editing and I need repeated reminders for focus and versatility (non- imaginary). Most of it relates to my work wardrobe because that gets over expanded as I feel ‘justified’, but in general having things that aren’t getting enough wear for the space they occupy.”

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Trend: Sporty Sandals

Footwear hybrids are a component of modern fashion and have trended for a while. For example, mainstream sandal booties are part sandal and part bootie. Sock booties are part sock and part boot, and shooties are part loafer/oxford, and part bootie. You get the idea. 

Since sneakers are the shoe of our fashion era, it makes sense that shoe styles are combined with sneaker detailing to create a new look hybrid. For Spring and Summer, sandals are being combined with sporty sneaker details like: chunky rubber platform heels, velcro fastenings, spongy perforations, gauzy insets, chunky laces, plastic vamps, rubbery wedges, elastic straps, lug soles, eyelets, and canvas straps. The collection shows examples of the vibe.

Eileen Fisher’s Sport Platform Sandal was one of the first versions to go mainstream, and I have many, many happy clients in the style. A repeat top pick and fab find for years with good reason because it’s an extremely comfortable, breezy and on-trend walking shoe. Trendier clients though, have moved on to the next more dramatic level of the sporty sandal.

There are many interpretations of the trend, and the visual effect varies greatly. Some versions are more refined, others are extremely chunky, and there’s everything in between. Birkenstock made the iconic Arizona in plastic for their version of the trend. Plastic pool slides and flip-flops are looking fancier each season, and Fly London are milking the
quirky-chunky–sporty integrity of their brand. Tevas and Chacos – which are authentic “gear” shoes – have been elevated to make a fashion statement. With the way fashion is going, their fashion moment was bound to happen and it doesn’t surprise me.

The idea is to wear sporty sandals with just about anything, much like you would wear sneakers these days. Sporty sandals are simply the breezier version of sneakers. The more jarring the combination and irregular the juxtaposition, the more fashion-forward and trend-setting the outfit. For example, here are sporty sandals worn with a dressier shorts suit.

CHLOÉ Sonnie Canvas, Mesh and Suede Sandals

Personally, I’m a refined footwear gal with very low-volume feet, so even if sporty sandals were my thing – they wouldn’t fit or suit the shape of my feet. Too wide and heavy, and too casual for my sartorial preferences. I don’t wear sandals that frequently, but when I do, I stick to narrow, lightweight, flat, dainty, dressy and classic designs because they go the distance for my urban walking lifestyle, and suit my style. But of course, I’m thrilled that the trends are supporting our needs for comfortable and happy feet by making items like sporty sandals a fashion statement, AND that you can wear them however you want to. Almost anything goes these days if you wear something with verve, intention and confidence – and that is empowering. I like the sporty sandal trend for others. How about you?

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Outfit Formula: Swish Black Leggings

These combinations are for those who enjoy wearing black leggings in a dressier way. So no sneakers, hoodies, sweatshirts, or oversized pullovers. Body-con black Ponte pants work as well as leggings. Leggings that are thick, substantial and opaque work best. Leggings and Ponte pants are often a favourite bottom for curvier body types because they stretch and comfortably fit over curves on the thighs, bottom and hips, while being sufficiently structured at the waist.

1. Hard Edge and Flowing Drape

I like the juxtaposition of the hard-edged moto leggings and soft drapey tunic. The high-low hemline creates interesting and flattering diagonal lines. The ankle baring shooties are a trendy touch. They break up the black on the leg line yet elongate because the leggings and shoes are the same colour. The high-contrast top is lively and vibrant, but feel free to wear any colour up top in a solid or pattern.

Eloquii Miracle Flawless Moto Legging

2. Arty and Asymmetrical

Combine an asymmetrical black dress with black leggings and add strappy sandals, Mary Janes, or ankle strap pumps. Here, the cold shoulders break up the expanse of black, as do the two-toned strappy pumps and metal necklace. These subtle details make the outfit more warm weather friendly, and interesting since the textures of the dress and leggings are similar and therefore quite flat. Snakeskin and leopard shoes would be fab too.

Planet Peekaboo Dress

3. Trendy and High Contrast

Combine black leggings with a black top and trendy oversized and longer blazer that you can close in a neutral or non-neutral. If wearing a fitted blazer that’s open in front is more your thing, wear a top that is a similar length to the blazer. The daring and very bold neon boots are an acquired taste, so feel free to swap them out with a colour that’s more to your taste. Personally, I think they make the look. I like the slits in the front of the leggings too.

Zara Faux Leather Leggings

4. Modern Classic

Combine black leggings or Ponte pants with a white shirt or blouse and finish off the look with black loafers and a cocoon coat or cardigan that’s a lot longer than the top. I love the tonal effect of the top and topper, but feel free to make them different colours and high contrasting. No need to stick to white, and by all means throw in a pattern.

Pilcro High Rise Denim Legging



Wearing Leggings As Pants: Yay or Nay

It’s 2019 and leggings have become a classic, like skinny jeans. Black leggings are THE bottom on women at the airport, and I see woman across all ages wear them as workout wear and casual wear. They are ubiquitous, worn as leggings under dresses and tunics, as jeans or pants with all sorts of tops, and creatively layered under shorts, skirts, dungarees and culottes.

Leggings were big in the ‘80s. They disappeared for a couple of decades and resurfaced in the mid noughties. They returned more as pantyhose than yoga pants. The idea was to wear them as an accessory under butt and thigh-covering clothing because they were constructed more like hosiery than pants, with a gusset and often transparent.

Over the years, leggings have evolved to become substantial, thick and opaque. These days, thanks to the oh-so-popular Athleisure trend, wearing thick leggings as pants is a 100% acceptable look. It’s not a faux pas to wear thick leggings with just about any length of top. From crop tops, sweatshirts, blouses, tees and hip-length tops, to butt-and-crotch covering tunics and midi dresses.

My eye has adjusted to thick leggings worn with shorter tops. It’s not a look that I wear, but I’m a solid yay for others as long as the leggings are thick. The more modest version is to wear thick leggings with tunics and dresses, and I’m a yay for that too. Or you can wear see-through leggings as hosiery under another bottom like a skirt, midi dress, shorts or culottes.

Apart from for hot yoga, I do not wear leggings. Athleisure is not my thing and I don’t like the feel of thick leggings. I don’t wear them under dresses, but do wear pants like skinny jeans and cropped flares under dresses. I also wear hosiery style leggings under skirts and longer dresses because I enjoy wearing pantyhose.

Eloquii Miracle Flawless Button Detail Legging

Over to you. Can leggings be worn as pants, and how do you wear them? Last year on the forum there was a five page discussion on the topic, and it is well worth a read.

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Outfit Formula: Black Dress Over Black Pants

When a dress is worn over pants, it becomes a tunic. The combination is an acquired taste, and one I personally like to wear. In this case, the bottoms are NOT leggings. They’re cropped flares or straights, full-length bootcuts, skinnies or cigarette pants. 

These combinations are black, but feel free to wear any colour palette. The column of colour is dark, dramatic and streamlining. Note that the dresses are straight or gently A-line, which adds structure and polish to the outfits. Pick a bag and topper that works with the outfit to complete the look.

1. Bootcut Elegance

Combine a shirtdress with a pair of full-length bootcuts and add pointy-toe shoes. I’d have preferred to see metallic, white or red boots here, but black works well. The shirtdress is fairly fitted, which adds structure and polish to the outfit. Bless those perfect pant lengths.

Violeta Denim Shirt Dress

2. ‘90s Ethereal Layers

Combine a fluid wrap dress with cigarette pants that are split up the front. Add flat sandals, and Bob’s your uncle. The V-neck, slits on the hems of the pants, and the sandals break up the expanse of the black by showcasing some skin.

Zara Double Breasted Shirt Dress

3. Arty and Architectural

Combine an architectural dress with cropped cigarette pants or skinnies, and finish off the look with loafers, flats, oxfords, shooties, pumps, mules or sandals. The tapered pants offset the volume of the bottom half of the dress. I’d have liked to see metallic, white, snakeskin, leopard or tan footwear here instead of black.

COS Asymmetric Tie Dress

4. Long and Streamlined

Combine a straight midi shirtdress with cropped straights or cropped flares, and finish off the look with oxfords, mules, sandals, pumps, loafers or flats. It’s a good idea to leave some of the bottom buttons unfastened so that you can stride more easily. Although this shirtdress is not a button-through style, it’s fairly roomy and slippery, which makes the combination more comfortable to walk in than you expect. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

COS Printed Mid-Length Dress

I wear my version of this outfit formula regularly in warm weather. My version breaks up the black with red, pink and white. I combine a black embroidered dress with black cropped flared pants, and finish off the look with white loafers and bag, or pink ballet flats and red bag. White pearls and red specs too. I add a denim jacket for the chill. The exact items I use to create the outfits are in the collection below.

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The Non-Neutral Neutrals of Your Style

Neutrals are serene colours that go with everything. They are typically less intense and less saturated than other colours. Black, shades of grey, and shades of white are the most popular neutrals. Then there’s shades of dark blue, blue denim, dark brown, taupe, shades of caramel, and shades of beige. Shades of olive are also often considered neutral.

Most wardrobes have a neutral component, because neutrals are grounding, versatile and soothing. It can be larger or smaller depending on your sartorial preferences. Some wardrobes are completely neutral, and others extremely colour-rich. It’s all good as long as you wear colours that you like and make you happy.

If you wear a large assortment of non-neutrals like I do, you’ll find that some of them are extremely versatile and function somewhat like a neutral. Tomato red and blush pink are the non-neutral neutrals of my style, and they work well together. To my eye, tomato red is a magical colour that works with every neutral and non-neutral. Blush pink is not far behind. I also find citron versatile, but not as versatile as a very bright orange-y red and soft pastel pink.

My clients run the gamut. Some with black/grey/white wardrobes think of dark blue and shades of brown as non-neutrals, which is extreme. Others with strong neutral wardrobes think of burgundy as their non-neutral neutral. Those into jewel tones find shades of purple and teal versatile and neutral. And those into earth tones regard shades of mustard, cinnamon, and burnt orange as their non-neutral neutrals.

Over to you. Which non-neutrals function as neutrals for your style?



How to Wear Spring Looks in Cold Weather

In Seattle, Spring weather is variable at best. There are some sunny and mild days, but generally things don’t warm up till May or June. It can snow in March, and perpetual rain and grey skies are guaranteed. In fact, Spring is colder than Autumn. And since the wet cold is worse than the dry cold, it feels chilly around here for a long, long time. This can put a damper on your Spring style.

I’ve learned to dress more Spring-like in Winter weather, despite the cold and wet. Of course, feel free to continue wearing dark, insulating and heavy Winter clothes and footwear when it’s cold in Spring if that’s your preference. No need to change up your look for the sake of a changing season unless it lifts your mood and you want the refresh.

The trick is to stay warm and covered in lighter, shinier and brighter colours, and crisper fabrications. Here are my favourite ways of achieving a toasty Spring look:

1. Lighten Neutrals

Switch to wearing lighter neutrals across all sorts of wardrobe items. Think shades of tan, white, pearl grey, bright, olive and taupe across items like outerwear, jackets, bottoms, knitwear, footwear, handbags, scarves and belts. Switch to denim in lighter washes of blue. If these neutrals are too light for your taste, throw in shades of cognac.

Wear weatherproof footwear in light neutrals. Sperry and Sorel make amazing weatherproof boots in cream and white. I have a pair of cream duck boots from Sperry and they’ve been sublime to wear in snowy Salt Lake City and Park City.

2. Brighten Outerwear, Knitwear & Bottoms

Brights, jewel tones, mid-tones, dusty mid-tones and pastels across a range of wardrobe items are fab to wear in Spring because they break up the monotony of wearing dark neutrals all Winter. Most of these colours look great with dark and light neutrals.

Wearing bright cashmere knitwear, wool coats, trench coats and bright bottoms makes sense in Seattle because we can wear them for a while. For example, I’m wearing the heck out of my new COS watermelon cashmere pullover and Boden tomato red jeans because they are perfect for a cold Spring day with white boots and outerwear. I’m wearing my tomato red, shocking pink, citron and cream wool coats a lot too.

3. Wear More Pattern and Pattern Mix

There’s something about wearing floral, gingham and bold striped patterns that make me feel like Spring is in the air, especially when I style them with brights and light neutrals. I also like to pattern mix with classic patterns.

4. Wear White Jeans

If you don’t wear white jeans in Winter, wear them in Spring. They magically make most items that you wear with them look crisp and fresh. Wear them with solid or pattered dark neutrals, brights, pastels, mid-tones, jewel tones and earth tones. Unless you’re wearing a dark neutral up top, lighten the footwear with white jeans.

5. Throw in Metallic Footwear

Metallic boots are amazing to wear on a cold Spring day when it’s not snowing, frosting or raining cats & dogs. Think silver, pewter, gold or rose gold boots, sneakers, loafers, oxfords or pumps. Adding high shine to an outfit makes it look interesting and glam.

6. Add Spring Scarves

Chunky woolly scarves look very Winter-y, so swap them out for silkier and cotton-rich versions. Wearing them in pastels, brights and light neutrals is an even better idea. They do wonders keeping out the chill and look chic too.

7. Layer under Crisp Blouses

On a milder Spring day, I like to break out a pretty long-sleeved floral blouse because I don’t wear blouses in Winter. I layer underneath them with camisoles or a thermal tee, and wear a Spring scarf and coat for extra insulation. It feels good to wear crisp woven fabric instead of knitwear.

8. Wear Nude-for-You Hosiery

I wear nude hose under Spring dresses and flared skirts with light-coloured booties or loafers Sometimes I layer nude hose under nude fishnets. I also wear nude knee-highs under cropped pants and jeans with sneakers, loafers, pumps and booties to give the illusion that my ankles are bare, but are secretly warmly insulated.

9. Lighten Lipstick & Refresh Your ‘Do

Change up the colour of your lipstick to something lighter, softer and less earthy, just for fun. Refresh the colour or style of your hair if you’re bored with your ‘do. Or head over to a Laura Mercier counter and refresh your make-up for the warm-weather season.

10. Rock a Fun Raincoat & Umbrella

Don’t underestimate the stylish effect of a fabulous raincoat and umbrella. Retailers are doing a much better job of making rainwear look chic and fun, and less like unattractive gear. Rocking rainwear lifts your spirits and chases away the blues. Throw in a pair of cheerful wellies too.

Turns out that I follow most of these style strategies in Winter, and not just in Spring because I LOVE Spring fashion. Over to you. Do you have cold and dismal weather in the Spring? How do you transition your look into Spring without freezing your buns off?

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Style a Short Cardigan As a Pullover

If you fasten all or most of the buttons, a short cardigan can function as a top in much the same way as a pullover. The collection below showcases a range of short button-through cardigans worn as pullovers.

Silhouettes vary from short to very short. Necklines vary from crew and slash, to V-neck and boat necks. Fits vary from tailored and fluid, to oversized. Welts can be tapered and fitted, or wide and boxy. Gauges run from dainty and fine to super chunky. Sleeve lengths run from short to long.

You can wear a buttoned-through cardigan untucked, like most of the examples shown. Or you can tuck the fine-gauge versions. The fluid and roomy fits are best because the buttons don’t gape open (remember to do the sit-down test). A roomier fit is better on a larger bust and/or broader shoulder so that the buttons don’t pull. Creating this look with a short and tight cardigan is tricky because the buttons pull apart and gape.

A fitted camisole or tank is great to wear underneath for warmth and coverage, or even a sleek Heattech thermal tee from Uniqlo if you run really cold. You can also unbutton a few top buttons of a crew neck cardi and allow a lace cami to peak out from under the neckline.

Wearing a short cardigan as a pullover is a handy strategy for styling a flared skirt, which is easily orphaned because you don’t have the right top. You don’t need to tuck or semi-tuck a buttoned-through short cardi, which is extra easy and comfy.

Boden Theodora Pleated Skirt

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Link Love: Personal Style of Creative Women

Recently, I discovered the Personal Style series published on The Fold’s website, and I’m enjoying these articles because they not only show the personal style of women I wasn’t yet familiar with, but at the same time we also learn a bit more about their work and life philosophy. Here’s a look at three of them:

Fab Links from Our Members

L’Abeille got a laugh out of this, and thinks Fabbers can relate.

Runcarla reports that Toronto’s Indigenous Fashion Week is this week, and it’s sold out.

Shevia says it’s time for some pro-aging.

And had she only known, this could have been her profession: “How Fashion Forensics Are Helping Solve Crimes.”

Unfrumped enjoyed the Celine and Victoria Beckham Fall 2019 runway shows: “I never really look at designer shows or runway looks but saw these on Pinterest and was intrigued, thought they looked surprisingly wearable.”

Laura (rhubarbgirl) finds it interesting that shoe brand DSW is incorporating nail salons in their stores.

She also wanted to share this article about Seattle fashion rental startup Armoire that uses curation to change how women are buying clothes.

Finally, she came across this article reporting that the record number of retail stores closing over the last couple of years is expected to continue in 2019.

BrieN thought this was interesting: “How the Leather Jacket Became the New Power Blazer.”

Delurked wanted to share an article about how Gap and Old Navy are splitting up. She imagines they will need to split the websites, which would impact many shoppers.