What To Look For When Buying A Jumpsuit

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
A solid jumpsuit is arguably the hardest-working item in your wardrobe. It's one piece that has infinite applications: Wear it to work, to a party, to brunch with your friends after a Netflix binge-watching session. (Extra points if you go from lounge onesie to a more put-together onesie.) It's our go-to when we don't want to overthink it.

Ironically enough, a lot of consideration goes into finding The One. You size up the sleeves, you scrutinize the neckline, you eye the waist, and you ponder the pants. Is this putting way too much thought into what will ultimately be the most laid-back clothing in your closet? Perhaps. But we're going where no one-piece enthusiast has gone before. Take a deep dive into the universe of jumpsuits, ahead.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Sleeves
Let's take this from the top. Your choice of sleeves essentially determines what type of jumpsuit you're going for. Do you want a beachy look or a more buttoned-up look? Are you wearing this for a full day outdoors, or will you be sitting in an air-conditioned office all day? It's a question of both vibe and environment — and there are four ways you can go. Check them out, ahead.
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The Sleeveless Jumpsuit
The most common type of jumpsuit — and what we generally gravitate towards in the warmer months — is the one that leaves our arms free to be. The width of the strap then affects how dressy the suit looks: A thin spaghetti is more laid-back-casual (since the fit will be a little more loose), while an inch-wide, sturdier detail feels more sophisticated and refined.
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The Off-The-Shoulder Jumpsuit
This LBJ, with its woven texture and sweet off-the-shoulder neckline, works best for dinner alfresco in the late spring and summertime, when you can expose the collarbone without worrying about an icy gust of wind. The covered-up effect and black-all-over look draw attention to the bare skin up top, putting your clavicles front and center. Consider this a more sophisticated alternative to the super-casual strapless jumpsuit, with an elastic neckline that lends itself to a casual après-beach dinner rather than dressier cocktails.
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The Short-Sleeved Jumpsuit
For those who prefer a more put-together vibe, a style with a structured sleeve (one that covers the shoulders and the upper part of the arm) should be your go-to. This Viktor & Rolf number mimics the buttoned-up look of a matching top and trouser, but fitted in all the right places and not obviously an adult onesie. Really: Whoever said you couldn't wear jumpsuits to work was seriously mistaken.
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The Long-Sleeved Jumpsuit
Whether you're a bohemian at heart or simply prefer to keep your arms under wraps, consider the all-season style that's a long-sleeved jumpsuit. Sheer, lightweight, open sleeves are breezy with sandals on a summer's night and just covered enough with your go-to ankle boots in the autumn.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Neckline
As with sleeves, a neckline can dictate where and when you'll be wearing a jumpsuit. There are the obvious scenarios, like a deep V-neck that's more appropriate for a night out than a morning in the office. But there are other, trendier silhouettes that can find a place in your wardrobe.
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The High Neck
A bib-like neck — with the front part coming up high, right over the collarbone — is a recent trend. And like most recent trends, it's a nod to earlier trends. (Last time we set out to draw attention to the neck, we were wearing chokers and Space Jam was our favorite movie.) In line with the retro vibe of this high neck, the zigzag crochet recalls the best of the '70s with its funky pattern and jazzy color pairings.
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The Crewneck
You can't go wrong with a classic cut. And the stretch jersey of this style makes it feel like a second skin. Despite being incredibly soft, this short-sleeved and short-legged jumpsuit has a nice shape to it — not structured, but not totally loose in all the wrong places either. Plus: pockets! Never underestimate pockets.
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The Scoop-Neck
You're already jumpin', jumpin' — now it's time to scoop. (Basically, you should go about the jumpsuit-shopping process while listening to your favorite classic R&B hits.) This open-back, halter-neck style, made of soft chambray, has a scooped front — which only elevates the laid-back vibes it already gives off. Added bonus: It comes with waist ties for even more adjustability.
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The V-Neck
Because jumpsuits cover up so much, a V-neck is a great way to show off some more skin. Your legs and torso are mostly hidden under all the fabric, so the exposed area up top really pops. Other elements of the suit work to keep the neckline steady: The wide straps support from the shoulders, while a fitted waist holds the bodice in place. No slipping here.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Waist
Where the suit cinches at the waist can make or break a one-piece: Since it's essentially a continuous piece of fabric, the tuck in the torso area is important to define the figure. Step back and consider the look you want to achieve. Do you want to elongate the torso, or lengthen the legs? Do you want a fixed belt, or do you want to be able to adjust? We break down four of the most common waist details in jumpsuits, and the pros and cons of each.
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The Low Waist
This type of waistline is great for those with longer torsos — or those who want to lengthen the appearance of the trunk — since the shirt portion of the one-piece extends a bit more.
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The High Waist
This all-white jumpsuit has a very subtle cinch above the belly button, defining the torso higher than the natural waistline. Whether you have a shorter torso or simply want to play with proportion, this style is across-the-board flattering.
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The Tie-Waist
A belt-like detail that's fully adjustable not only improves fit, but also allows you to be a little more playful. You can tighten or loosen for comfort. You can knot as simply or as fancifully as you please — heck, you can put a bow on it. It's the epitome of fashion and function.
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The Drawstring Waist
A drawstring may be a textbook casual-dress detail, but it can look incredibly sleek. Case in point: the slim and simple waistline on this boiler suit. The actual string is quite thin, but does the curve-highlighting trick just fine. And with a tailored fit down the leg, not an inch of the figure gets lost.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Legs
Homestretch! The trouser portion is probably the first thing you notice when you're buying a jumpsuit. Before, the standard was a slightly fitted straight leg — maybe with a folded-up hem. Now, every type of bottom is represented in the one-piece spectrum. You'll find short jumpsuits (otherwise known as rompers) alongside cropped and wide-leg styles that accommodate a broad range of personal tastes and body types. Even culottes make an appearance, because of course.
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We go for jumpsuits when we want that top-and-trouser look, rolled into one convenient item. So a full trouser leg is our go-to. Fit is key here — it can't be so tight that you lose mobility or so loose that your figure gets drowned under all the excess fabric. Here, the cinched waist ensures the bottoms fall straight down from the torso, while the linen-blend material maintains the shape of the leg.
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Sun's out, limbs out — that's where the romper comes in. In late spring and summer, we chop off the ankle-skimming trouser legs in favor of knee-baring shorts suits. The elbow-grazing sleeves on this front-close jumper balance the exposed skin elsewhere, giving it a dressier, tailored finish.
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Yes, the trouser du jour, the culotte, can now be found in jumpsuits. Going wide — as culottes often do — is intimidating, though. This striped suit, however, is sleek all over and cuts right at the knee, so the entire calf is revealed to give proportion. Plus, shoulder-to-thigh vertical stripes have a lengthening effect, which makes going baggy slightly less intimidating.
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While we still cling to our skinnies for dear life, flared and wide-legged pants are creeping in and slowly becoming the norm. You may like your bottoms belled, or you might simply enjoy the extra leg room. The silhouette can be intimidating, since there's so much more fabric to work with on a piece that's already one long, continuous stretch. This cropped style hits halfway down the calf, revealing a little bit of skin down below (and giving shorties a little more flexibility with the hemline).