By Amy Tsai
Us nineties’ kids remember the bodysuit well. Like jelly sandals (those are back too now!) and slap bracelets (sadly these are not, or else we would buy a dozen) the bodysuit was a wardrobe staple, even if it was a pain getting in and out of the girls’ bathroom before recess ended. But you nineties’ babies who didn’t grow up with bodysuits of every color in your closet may not be as familiar with them, having only seen them on your favorite celebrities in magazine spreads or on concert stages, which, let’s face it, may not be as helpful when it comes to real-world application.
Since bodysuits have come back in a big way now, we’ve put together a little guide that will hopefully cast aside any questions you may have and erase those doubts that still linger about wearing them, because yes, you DO need a bodysuit in your life and yes, you CAN pull it off.
So what exactly is a bodysuit?
A bodysuit is a close-fitting, often stretchy one-piece clothing item that covers the torso and may resemble a bathing suit or a dancer’s leotard. Since its inception, the bodysuit has transformed from basic undergarment (with that gymnast uniform / superhero costume silhouette) to diversified style superstar, its various cuts bedecked and bedazzled for pop princess performances and donned by starlets galore in glamorous magazine editorials.
But you are aware none of those stars are wearing pants. You expect me to go out like that?
We know, we know. It’s kinda hard to wear a bodysuit by itself without looking like you dropped trou somewhere and forgot to pick them back up again. While bodysuits are often shown sans bottoms, which can make them a little intimidating, they are actually made to coexist with other garments and extremely wearable, since you can style them in a multitude of ways.
Okay, so what are some ways to wear a bodysuit?
We’re betting that “how to wear a bodysuit” is an oft-Googled phrase, but really, you can wear a bodysuit like you would any other top. Except it can shine both as the highlight of an outfit and as its infrastructure. Need an example? Here are some of our favorite under-wear looks…
1. Under sheer and open weave tops – Got a holey mesh tank or a completely see-through crochet top that leaves little to the imagination? A bodysuit would be the perfect base.
Ace Of Basic Sleeveless Bodysuit / Good Sport Netted Mesh Cut-Out Tank / Chiffon Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse / Vintage High-Waisted Skinnies
2. Under high-waisted bottoms – What’s the point of buying those high-cut jeans if you’re just gonna cover them up with a long top? Show off that extra-high waistline (and/or booty) with a perfectly tucked-in bodysuit.
3. Under cropped tops and tanks with deep-cut sides – Not too keen on exposing your belly or showing that side-boob? But those cropped tops and muscle tanks are sooooo cute… Not to worry. Bodysuits to the rescue!
Acid Wash Ladder Back Bodysuit / City Of Love Paris Cropped Tank / Disobey Graphic Muscle Tank / Ankle Length Zipper Skinny Jeans
4. Under wide-leg pants and skater skirts – If you’re going for flowy or flared on the bottom, you should probably try to stay as slim as possible on the top. And no shirt will ever be as close of a fit to your body as a bodysuit. Come on, it says it right in the name.
5. Under kimonos and other statement pieces – We here consider a kimono a top (rather than outerwear); it’s generally the statement piece of an outfit, right? So we definitely don’t want something underneath it that will interfere with the silhouette or look in general. Add a pop of color, maybe, but steal focus, no way. That’s where a solid little bodysuit comes in handy. (If you’re feeling extra daring and your kimono is of a length that is respectable to you, try doing the no-pants thing. Cinch the waist with a belt, and you’ve got a look that’s runway-ready.)
Sleek Attack Shiny Leotard Romper / Tropical Perfection Kimono / So Ethereal Crochet Kimono / High-Waisted Ankle Length Jeans
I’m still not convinced. Why should I opt for a bodysuit instead of a plain ol’ shirt?
What a bodysuit has that a regular top doesn’t is that body-hugging effect of being like a second skin, and with that come a ton of benefits…
1. It eliminates bulk – Have you ever tried getting a tucked-in shirt to lay flat? It’s darn near impossible. With more fabric comes the tendency to bunch up, and you cannot wear a tight little pencil skirt or some liquid leather leggings with folds of fabric showing up underneath. And you thought panty lines were bad!
2. It stays put – Even if you do get your shirt to behave, odds are it won’t stay that way. A bodysuit knows its place in your ensemble and stays there until you tell it otherwise.
3. It flatters your body – For those of you who are reading this and thinking “It’s too tight!” (or for the drama queens, “Why would I wrap myself up like a sausage in a skin-tight casing?”) the bodysuit is actually quite slimming. That snug fit is exactly what you want, because it acts as shapewear, holding in what needs to be held in while also accentuating what needs to be shown off.
Fine, but this is like a baby’s onesie. How will I go to the bathroom?
Well, like the best baby’s onesies, most of today’s bodysuits have snap button closures at the crotch. So no, you will not have to peel off your outer garments one by one and hang them all on your stall door just to make a quick stop at the ladies’ room. Simply pull apart and fasten again when you’re done.
I might be a little intrigued now. But how come I don’t see that many people wearing bodysuits if they’re so in?
Bodysuits are actually all over the place. If you’re not seeing them, it’s probably because most of the time they look just like regular tops. Take a gander at the collage above. Yup, alllll bodysuits.
So those stars all wear bodysuits? Huh. Is there one in particular who wears them all the time?
If we had to pick a bodysuit ambassador, it would have to be Rihanna. Girly has one of every kind – basic, striped, netted, mesh, even turtleneck – and rocks them all a million different ways, onstage and on her off days. If you need a bodysuit babe to look up to (and Google) RiRi is it.
(Buuuuut Miley Cyrus comes in at a close second. Her love for bodysuits is just as strong; it’s her love for bottoms that’s a little lacking, as you can see.)
Won’t it be hard to recreate their looks though?
Not at all! Need an example? We’ve done one for you.
Sheer Thing Paneled Lace Bodysuit / Knee Deep Destroyed Skinny Jeans / Quilted Lace-Up Booties / Leather Brim Snapback / Layered Double Faux Diamond Necklace / Chain Cut-Out Cuff
Okay, okay. You’ve made a believer outta me. How do I start?
We thought you’d never ask. (That’s not true. We knew you would.) Just click away, baby.