I'll Try Anything Once: Clown-y Vintage Jumpsuits

I found them all in the same charity shop (and don’t think for a second I’m charitable enough to tell you which one), and thought they were all so utterly fabulous I couldn’t bear to leave any behind and took the lot.

Aug 14, 2012 at 3:30pm | Leave a comment

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Sports luxe or cheery janitor?

I love a jumpsuit. I remember the first time I ever tried one on. I was shopping with my friend Johanna and found one in the Topshop sale. It was black and sleeveless with a cowl neck, and I tried it on for a joke; I loved it so much I wore it out that night.

Since then it has become a much-loved wardrobe staple; my go-to interview uniform, and fashion week saviour. It looks smart, fashiony and timeless -- what more could you ask for?

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Sleek and chic or auntie at a Bar Mitzvah circa 1986?

My second jumpsuit was slightly more bombastic; a show-stopping, eye-popping, draw-dropping African print number I had made on holiday in Zambia (using my Topshop one as the template). Mrs Banda, the seamstress, thought I’d lost the plot with my order for an adult babygrow in multi-coloured traditional material.

I knew I was onto a winner though, and back in London it became infamous in the Grazia office (where I worked at the time), and was a hit with the LFW photographers and bloggers, earning me many an unflattering picture on the Internet.

So -- in theory I do love a jumpsuit. However that’s not the whole story. You see a plain black jumpsuit with Lanvin-esque draping is one thing, and my Zambian jumpsuit was very à la mode in early 2010 (and admittedly hasn’t received much wear since), but as a rule my feelings towards them are rather changeable. To help illustrate exactly how they make me feel I created this bar chart.

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As you can see, it's quite the emotional rollercoaster.

Anyway, the point of all this (yes, there is a point!), is that about 6 months ago I went on a bit of a spree and bought not one, or even two, but FOUR vintage jumpsuits in one go. I found them all in the same charity shop (and don’t think for a second I’m charitable enough to tell you which one), and thought they were all so utterly fabulous I couldn’t bear to leave any behind and took the lot.

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Laidback summer or pregnant hippie?

However on getting them home I realised that although I think they’re all rather spectacular (in the comfort of my own bedroom) I can see that they’re also, possibly, slightly ridiculous (even for me). I think the route of the problem lies in the fact that I’ve been working from home for the past two years, living in house clothes and leggings, and seem to have lost my fashion nerve.

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Pretty in pink or just pretty hideous?

So for the past 6 months, my four vintage jumpsuits have been hanging dormant in my wardrobe waiting for me to find a suitable occasion/sufficient amount of chutzpah to wear them in public. This clearly can’t go on.

So in my indecision I am turning to you, the xoJane reader, for your valued opinion.

Are these vintage jumpsuits super chic or fashion clown?