How to wear: a jumpsuit


Priya Elan on fashion Men's fashion How to wear: a jumpsuit

Part Playmobil, part Ghostbusters, all comfort

Priya Elan in jumpsuit
‘The jumpsuit makes everything just a little simpler.’ Photograph: David Newby/The Guardian

I’ve made many lazy fashion choices: near-daily mismatching socks; unimaginative repeat buys of black Converse; walking into Muji and purchasing so many plaid shirts I’m basically a member of Fleet Foxes. But perhaps the laziest I’ve ever felt is wearing a jumpsuit.

From Balmain to Bowie, Paul Newman to Louis Vuitton, the jumpsuit has long denoted blue-collar masculinity and arty gender fluidity. But today, on me, it just denotes a desperate apathy, the clothing version of choosing a takeaway pizza and another repeat of Come Dine With Me instead of making the six-hour inroad into HBO’s Chernobyl.

The jumpsuit takes the tiny element of choice out of your morning routine and makes everything just a little simpler. It brings to mind what designer and one-time dressmaker for the Queen, Hardy Amies, said: “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.” It also calls to mind the Uptown Girl video by Billy Joel (or Westlife, depending on your generation), but that’s beside the point.

But is this look too simple? With its cosiness and glove-like fit, my comfort levels are dangerously high. I am content as a baby – and indeed resemble a grown-up baby; a person who has dispensed with sartorial free will.

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This navy-blue cotton number makes me look a bit like a Playmobil figure, but is blissfully comfortable. Squint, and you might think I’m colour blocking my shirt and trousers; but then, up close, you realise, thrillingly, that it’s an all-in-one. And as the likes of J Cole and André 3000 have shown, the one-piece is done best when you deploy the authority of a heavy fabric (denim) and one darkish colour.

This is a trans-seasonal, all-weather outfit that works at home, going out, or when doing a recreation of Ghostbusters. Plus, it needs minimal accessorising (today I’m wearing it with a scowl, some large turn-ups and chunky trainers). If you’re reading this and thinking: “They’ve found the new version of the slanket, sign me up!” – well, you’d be right.


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