History of the Trend: Rompers

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Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere in a Madewell Jumpsuit

What hasn’t been said about the romper? From our own CF posts (Would You Wear… a Romper? and 5 Ways to Wear a Romper), to countless mentions in fashion blogs and magazines, the romper is one trend we can’t seem to get enough of.

The origins of the romper, however, may be less well-known. Below, I’ll explain the history behind this hot summer item.

History of the Romper

Tieka of Selective Potential in a floral romper

Here are some facts about the history of rompers:

  • Rompers began as children’s clothing, which explains their similarity to overalls, jumpers, and (as some are quick to point out) onesies. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather wear a romper!
  • The earliest advertisement I found for rompers was in this issue of the New York Times from 1904. The ad called rompers “pinaforelike garments” with the skirt portion gathered into shorts for comfort. Easy to play in and often made of cotton or other washable material, rompers were the go-to play clothes of the 20th century.
  • Rompers continued to be popular into the ’20s, as much for stylish young women as for children. With its one-piece design, the romper was a chic alternative to a blouse and full skirt and could be dressed up or down, depending on the fabric.
  • In the ’70s, the romper’s leggy cousin, the jumpsuit, was a wardrobe staple for anyone with disco on the brain. Since then, jumpsuits have gone in and out of fashion, recently being revived as part of spring 2011’s 1970s trend.
  • These days, the romper is back in a big way, with designers featuring rompers on the runway and retailers experimenting with patterns, tailored and relaxed silhouettes, and eye-catching details. It’s likely you have one in your own closet right now.

Why We Still Love This Trend

Here are a few reasons why we’re still loving the romper trend today:

  • It’s versatile. Just as easy to wear to the beach as it is to wear to a dinner out, the romper is like a great dress with a playful and comfy feel. You’ll be sure to find one that fits every event by using the same guidelines you already use to pick out your outfits. Stick with flowy fabrics for day, then amp it up with more structured looks for night.
  • There’s something for everyone. Still not sure you can pull off a romper? Check out this article on finding a romper for your body type. It’s a great starting point to see what you should be looking for, and you can still put your own twist on it with great accessories!
  • It’s fun! While it may take a little courage to wear a romper, you can’t deny the individual twist it gives a look. Try it out and discover why this trend has been hot for so long!

Tell us what you think!

Have you given the romper trend a try? Should it stick around or head to the back of the closet? Any trends you’d like to know the history of? Leave a comment and let us know!

15 thoughts on “History of the Trend: Rompers”

  1. Deja & Birttany- Glad to hear you’re embracing this trend! Also Brittany, thanks for the advice on other styles!
    Adriana- As a petite gal myself, I can promise that there ARE rompers for you out there! The key is to find one with a smaller print that won’t overpower you, as well as looking for silhouettes that aren’t too baggy-extra fabric can be problematic with us smaller types. Good luck!

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  2. I’m barely 5 feet tall and have convinced myself that i just can’t pull off a romper, but they’re adorable and i want one!! i checked out the link to rompers by body type, but still not sure. any advice on rompers for petites?? also, i noticed something about being difficult to take off (especially for going to the bathroom); hadn’t occurred to me before. is this really a problem??

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  3. I really like rompers. I couldn’t tell you why; they seem like something I *should* hate, but I’ve always been really intrigued by them. When they first came out I thought there was no way I’d ever find one that flattered my body since I’m self-conscious of my torso, but now there are SO many different styles available that I think you can find one for just about any body type.

    I actually own 5 of them, which I think is way too much- normally I stop myself from buying multiples of trendy items. But mine are all very different, and some of them can be worn in the winter with tights.

    Some rompers are actually pretty easy to go to the bathroom in. The ones that button up the front are obviously not, but I have one that zips down the back and another that fits kind of like a loosely draped wrap top, and those are easy. I’m literally wearing the drapey one right now and all I have to do is undo the hidden snap in the front and let the top fall off my shoulders, then pull the shorts down like any pair of pants.

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  4. Funny you should post this. In fact, in June while I was in New York, I bought 3 rompers lol. They’re really cute and can sometimes be used as tops for skirts.

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