Friday, 7 September 2012

How to Wear... Playsuits and Jumpsuits

It wasn’t so long ago that playsuits and jumpsuits were little more than the object of an occasional giggle during ‘70s re-runs... thank God this one-stop wonder has been resurrected and continues to be revamped into ever-more-eccentric incarnations to suit every whim and body type even as I type...

How I Wear Playsuits
How I Wear Jumpsuits
Transitioning into Autumn/Winter: Acquisitions and Mergers
Figure-Fixing Playsuits and Jumpsuits

Va Va Voom Vintage

This is so overtly ‘50s dress-up that you can get away with simultaneous legs and cleavage (but be warned – I ended up having to dodge a newly acquired stalker when I went shopping in it). The bodycon fit and sweetheart neckline are a real boon for hourglass figures, and the colour pop skinny waistbelt centres attention (although inexplicably some people’s eyes may still be dragged upwards).


For more self-conscious types, or less forgiving weather, an off-white sweater or lacy polo layered underneath would look cute, teamed with matching lace tights.

I always match my shoes to my belt when wearing this. Because it’s fun. OK?

Playsuit (with belt): Jane Norman (Past Season)
Shoes: Primark (Past Season)

A Little Tied Up


Another cute, classic fifties style, but slightly more modest than its cousin, the strapless sweetheart. This is an easy vintage-chic throw-it-on option with a cream belt or waist tie to cinch in the elasticated waist. As the weather cools, neutral coloured tights, cardi and shoe boots keep the chill off, but adding a cute updo and hair bow maintain an off-beat retro vibe.


Playsuit: Primark (SS12)
Look 1 - Waist Tie (from Gilet): New Look (Past Season); Shoes: Office (Past Season)
Look 2 – Belt: Primark (Past Season); Tights: Accessorize; Shoes: Peacocks (Past Season); Cardigan: Primark (Past Season); Hair Band: New Look (Past Season)

Country Garden

A very sweet suit that’s more like a dress with added cute factor – the slightly padded shoulders and A-line shorts section emphasise the waist and are great for minimising hips and thighs. I added a statement multi-strand pearl necklace to give the simple look a luxe twist, and played on the vintage feel with kitten heels.


Playsuit: Primark (Past Season)
Shoes: Primark (Past Season)
Necklace: Primark (Past Season)

A Little Mustard On the Side?


Yet another classic vintage-style shape and print, with stretch flocking, chunky buttons and voluminous sleeve and short sections all working together to make the waist (and décolletage) the centre of attention, whilst slimming and lengthening arms and legs. Again, the classic vintage shape lets you get away with a side serve of cleavage with your pins! My statement hair bow makes a playful feature of the fifties seaside vibe, and a classic shoe fits the look. At the point in the year at which heavy duty opaques become necessary, making them mustard adds a fun contemporary touch (cream or black would look equally good if you don’t want to blind your audience!).


Playsuit: Primark (Past Season)
Look 1 – Hair Band: New Look (Past Season); Shoes: Primark (Past Season)
Look 2 – Tights: Primark; Shoes: Dorothy Perkins (Past Season)

Victorian Lace

A beautiful cut and fabric combination, putting a new spin on the Victoriana/Edwardian trend. I think drawing attention to the white collar with the tights, coupled with the updo, somehow gives me the feel of a Pierrot clown, but I quite like it!


Playsuit: Primark (Past Season)
Tights: Accessorize
Shoes: Primark (Past Season)

For some reason, charcoal grey tights and heeled boots give it a completely different, darker vibe, which I also love, in a completely different way! The shoe boots keep it smart and classic, whilst ankle boots toughen it up slightly.


Playsuit: As Above
Tights: Sainsbury’s
Shoe Boots: Primark (Past Season)
Ankle Boots: Peacocks (Past Season)

Tribal Harem

My grandmother actually spotted this jumpsui in a shop window (more on the most stylish over-80 I’ve ever known in a future post)! I’ve given it a slight tribal edge with metallic cage wedges, statement necklace, ear cuff and metal ponytail holder, but those of us brave enough to risk walking the slippery tightrope between sports luxe and, er, Vicky Pollard, could try a bomber/cropped sweatshirt and wedge high tops for a different take.


Jumpsuit: Unbranded
Shoes: Primark (Past Season)
Necklace: Primark (SS12)
Ponytail Holder: H&M (SS12)

Gris

The classic full-length wrap-style jumpsuit – wide-legged and nipped in under the bust – great for almost all body shapes and almost all occasions. Flat metallic sandals give it a low-key-glam look for daytime, whilst a statement colour pop necklace whose fall echoes the neckline gives it a bit more pizzazz if and when required, and draws the eye upwards.


Jumpsuit: Matalan (Past Season)
Necklace: Primark (Past Season)
Sandals: Peacocks (Past Season)

The Classic Black


The super wide legs and unremitting blackness of this piece give it real impact, even though you’re covered almost from head to toe. The wide sleeves and legs, combined with the cinched waistband, give your body a dramatic X-shaped outline.


Keep it (relatively) simple with just a tribal-style necklace and muted metallic peep-toes, play up the dramatic silhouette with a peplum blazer and waist-level uber-pendant, or go all-out with statement danglies, embellished cape and printed headscarf woven into side plait! The golden tones and silky texture of the headscarf reflect the gold accessories so that the contrast doesn’t jar.


Jumpsuit: Peacocks
Look 1 – Necklace: Primark; Shoes: Next (Past Season)
Look 2 – Necklace: Primark (Past Season); Blazer: New Look (Past Season)
Look 3 – Cape: Primark (Past Season); Earrings: Primark (AW12); Headscarf: Accessorize (Past Season); Sandals: Freemans (Past Season)

Transitioning into Autumn/Winter: Acquisitions and Mergers

As I’ve tried to illustrate above, little scraps-of-material playsuits can outlast the summer – just don’t be a masochist – layer, layer, layer! When it comes to night time fun, I have a little crushed velvet number which is just itching to come out of storage and get re-acquainted with its favourite opaques and heeled brogues.

And in terms of new additions? I anticipate a whole load of amazzzzing playsuits and jumpsuits hitting the shops this season – think full length bodycon, velvet, leather, sheer panels, crazy embellishment, baroque patterns, peplums... oh yes.

Figure-Fixing Playsuits and Jumpsuits for...

Pear-Shapes: A-line shorted playsuits and palazzo-style jumpsuits are your best friends when it comes to hip minimisation. Floaty sleeves will also help to balance out your lower half.

Skinny Minnies: Keeping your waist cinched and your legs wide will add curves - you can also get away with peg leg and harem styles.

Curvy Girls: Hourglasses can emphasise their curves in bodycon cuts, as well as cinch-and-flare styles. V-neck wrap-style cuts, under-bust cinching and loose legs are flattering on the ample-chested and the ample-tummed.

Tomorrow: How to Wear the Maxi Skirt


See more recent posts featuring playsuits and jumpsuits here


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