I was skeptical when rompers began to reappear on the fashion radar. Infantilizing. Inconvenient. Silly. That’s what I thought when they became trendy again.
Then, of course, I bought one and now I can’t live without them for summer! Eating my words, I am.
The truth is, there is something both casual yet polished about a romper. It has the matching top and bottom of a dress, but the comfort and playfulness of a top and shorts. And if you get one in a nice summery fabric, there is nothing more easy to throw on.
(Taking it on and off during the course of a day is another story…more on that below.)
I first jumped on the train to Romperville last year, when I picked up a silky print number from a season-end sale from Fabletics. The price was low enough where it wasn’t a huge risk if it didn’t work out. But I ended up wearing the crap out of it for the rest of the season, and when I stored it away at the end of last summer, I had the sense of looking forward to unpacking it in about a year or so to wear again.
I ended up picking up a few more rompers, which I have been wearing quite a bit, especially as I head into the dog days of late July and August — otherwise known as my least favorite time of year, when I definitely don’t feel like making much of an effort when it comes to getting dressed. (Must…conserve…brain…)
And I have a little more shopping savvy when it comes to buying them, too. A romper is a slightly tricky buy, because sometimes the bottom works but the top hangs weird and vice versa. You really do have to try a romper on, or at least know what styles of tops and such work on you. I think a long-sleeve style can look very Bianca Jagger-y, for instance, and off-the-shoulder styles also can look elegant — though if the cut and fabric pattern are too fussy, you can look like a low-rent version of a Southern belle. (That might be your jam, too…it’s up to you!)
You also want to make sure it’s easy to slip on and off — sadly, the straps of the romper I’m wearing in the pic above tend to slip too easily through the loops it goes through, and it’s a pain in the butt to ‘restring’.
If you’re over the age of, say, 25 — or otherwise just don’t want to look like a teen anymore — I’d also avoid buying a romper in overly romantic cuts and fabrics. It looks too much like pajamas or lingerie — although if that’s your jam, romantic yourself away! (The whole public lingerie look worked for Madonna early in her career.) I tend to like retro-sporty styles, as well as non-fussy bohemian ones, for rompers.
On the other end, I also think overly minimalist takes on rompers seem a bit weird — a romper is an inherently playful item, and minimalism seems a bit too serious for it. I picked out a few romper choices below, with an eye for different styles and prices and such.
But you know, whatever when it comes to fashion advice…really, just have fun with a romper, don’t invest a whole lot and be easy and joyful. That’s a recipe for enjoying summer fashion — or enjoying summer altogether.