The jumpsuit — the iconic one-piece fashion wonder you may have worn to the disco in 1977 — is back in a big way. One need only have seen first lady Michelle Obama in a black jumpsuit on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to know that it’s cool again. But you’ll see jumpsuits in stores this spring by designers from Diane von Furstenberg to Nicole Miller.
The good news is a jumpsuit can be the most comfortable, flattering, stylish and easy-to-wear piece you will ever own. And own one, you should. Here’s why:
- It’s Flattering. I don’t believe in style rules, but there are a few smart guidelines to which we should all adhere. One of the best is this: Wear clothes that define your waistline. You’ll look trimmer if you do. Because of its silhouette, a jumpsuit naturally defines your waist, which makes it one of the more flattering pieces you can wear. A great example is the one, at left, from NY Collection at Macy’s (under $60!).
- You Can Dress It Up. Some style experts claim that the jumpsuit can easily replace the LBD (little black dress) for most “dress up” occasions. I agree. I splurged on this comfortable and flattering ’80s-inspired one, at right, by Diane von Furstenberg (under $450). I bought it in deep purple (nice change from black) and paired with black pumps, a cool black-and-gold clutch bag, and gold jewelry (chunky bracelet and earrings). It’s my new favorite go-to “special occasion” outfit.
- Or Dress It Down. I’ve worn that same DVF jumpsuit to a business lunch — paired with black booties (instead of dressier pumps) and a black leather hobo bag — where every other woman had on either a black pants suit or an LBD. Investing in a jumpsuit that you can wear over several seasons (I’d wear this one all year long) and for different occasions is smart.
- They Make Life Easy. One of the reasons I’ve become such a minimalist dresser is because I’m enjoying life after 50 so much that I just don’t have a lot of time for thinking about how I look. I want to get dressed, feel comfortable, look stylish … and forget about it. A jumpsuit helps me to do just that.
How to Find the Jumpsuit That’s Right For You. Think jewel tones in shades of red and blue, but also have one in basic black. Do a search for jumpsuits online, and you’ll see many different options (wrap, button-down, ties at the waist, and more) at a variety of prices. Because the fit is so key, though, you should try on jumpsuits in the store in order to get the feel of a few different styles. Ask for the help of a good salesperson or personal shopper.
For the best fit, keep these pointers in mind when shopping for a jumpsuit:
- Make sure it defines your waist.
- Have it hemmed according to the shoes you’ll wear the most (bring them with you when you shop).
- If you’re big on top, look for a style that’s blousier, like the DVF above.
- If you’re bigger on bottom, look for one with a wide leg.
- If you’re short, aim for one that has a narrow silhouette and, as you would with a pair of pants and shirt, add a jacket to balance the overall look.
Looking for a few ideas on the best shoes to wear with your new jumpsuit or favorite pair of jeans? Check out this video from AARP’s The Best of Everything After 50 YouTube series:
Until next time, remember this: We can’t control getting older … but … we can control how we do it!
For more tips on living your best life, check out my book, The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More; or subscribe to The Best of Everything After 50 video series on the AARP YouTube Channel.
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- Join AARP: Savings, resources and news for your well-being
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