The Accidental Stylist is a weekly post where Mercer, our residential clumsy hipster, tries out and writes about the newest and flashiest in alternative fashion. Were you curious about bubble nails, but didn’t want to have to try them yourself? This is the feature for you.

Rompers; how do they work? If you, like me, have always thought that rompers looked like baby clothes—that’s because they are! Rompers were first advertised in 1904 in an issue of the New York Times which likened them to a pinafore, but with shorts instead of skirts. They were quickly adopted by mothers for their simplicity: cleaning and dressing their children was easy, and the rompers were unisex. The word “romp” literally means an enjoyable time of rough and noisy play, which serves as a constant reminder of this article of clothing’s roots.

In the years to follow, rompers made quite a few varied appearances in the fashion world. That’s right, outside of the babysphere. In the 1920s they became popular with young women as a substitute for dresses or skirt and blouse pairings. In the 1970s, and then more recently, a leggier variety of the romper, the jumpsuit, also gained in popularity.

Since around the mid-2000s, rompers have come back in style and have been seen everywhere from casual wear to high runway fashion. Even further, it appears they are here to stay. Popular stores for all walks of life have whole jumpsuit and romper sections; take for example BCBG, Forever 21, and even Charlotte Russe. Gross. Despite my distaste there is no denying their popularity, so I put my sensibilities to bed and tried one out. Finding one that fit me at my local thrift store was pretty difficult, but I’m pretty sure that even if I’d bought one brand new I still would feel the same way.

What I liked

Pretty fuckin’ easy.

This was just one article of clothing: an idea which has a lot of appeal to me. I’m the type of person that wears dresses because it’s just one thing I have to pull on in the morning and I can look vaguely put together. Rompers are the same thing. The whole outfit is just one piece which means I don’t need to think about colors or matching or any of that business. Wham, bam, thank you m’am!


I guess looking like a 5 year old will do this to a girl, but the rompers gave me a renewed sense of playfulness. I felt very flirty and silly. And also like I should go out to a bro bar near my house to order 5 or 6 cosmos like I used to when I was 21 because they made me look “cool.” I can imagine that this foot-loose-and-fancy-free-ness could probably be exhausting for me, the girl that spent the weekend reading World War II survivor stories, but it was a nice vacation from my usual self.

Ability for karate and other leg-lifting activities

You should know by now, given that this is something that I mention in basically every post that I write: being able to move around and not show off my chatch is very important to me. In my romper, unlike when wearing a dress, I could do things like ride my bike without the fear of showing off my frilly panties to everybody around me. Who am I kidding? I don’t wear cute frilly panties; if I did I wouldn’t mind showing them off. This gave the romper one true point in its court and is maybe the only reason why I would choose to wear one again.

What I didn’t like

Lack of bra makes me say “nope.”

I know that some of my more radical friends would shake their heads at this statement and tell me it was preconditioned in me by the man, but I’m going to say it anyway. I like wearing bras. They make me feel safe. I have boobs that weigh 15 pounds all together (according to my Wii Fit board) and it’s important to me to feel like they are strapped down and secured to avoid injury to myself or others. It seems to me that most rompers do not allow for bras, which means that we are and will remain diametrically opposed until the end of time or until they make one with a REALLY STURDY shelf bra. Also, why make something so easy to move in but also so easy for your tits to move in? That just seems like a design flaw to me. Did men make the romper?

How am I supposed to pee?

This is, funnily enough, kind of linked to the above statement. While wearing the romper, I discovered that nature was calling. Unfortunately, though, the only available bathroom was a public one. Public bathrooms already give me the skeeves, especially when they are in well-trafficked public parks and the like, so the idea of stripping down to my underwear in one made me feel less than great. As I was pulling the romper off my shoulders, I also realized Oh, yep, definitely still not wearing a bra. I was sitting COMPLETELY NAKED in a fucking public bathroom that had bodily fluids in the range of colors of the rainbow strewn all over it. Horrifying. If that’s not the stuff of nightmares I do not know what is.

I looked like a box

There are lots of articles out there on the interwebs about how larger ladies can make skinny-lady-friendly clothes also work for their larger or curvier frames. Perhaps it’s because I think rompers look stupid on basically everyone, but I just don’t agree. It’s not that rompers aren’t for fat people or whatever the douchelords on the internet are saying, it’s that rompers aren’t for ANYONE OVER THE AGE OF 5. They were originally designed for bodies that hadn’t reached any kind of development or definition yet. Why would we try to negate our natural womanliness by wearing them? I don’t understand. They aren’t flattering, they make your chest look like a circus tent if you have boobs above a size A, and make your waist literally nonexistent.

Verdict? I hate rompers. I always have, I always will. The only redeeming quality that they have is that I can wake up and in 5 minutes be dressed and biking to the park. Theoretically, I wouldn’t even need to put on underwear, which shaves like…10 seconds off my time. At the end of the day I felt kinda like a sweaty sausage in a weird cotton casing. A naked-in-public-places sweaty sausage, at that. If you like rompers, perhaps you are just more in touch with your inner freedom and child-like sense of wonder. Good for you. You can have mine.

Photo via Flickr/lisbokt (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)