Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Jumpsuits and Rompers and Beach Pajamas, Oh My!

Jumpsuits. They hold the promise of great practicality: you just throw one on and go! No mixing or matching! Now, there may be a bit of struggle when you’re headed to the loo, but let’s gloss over that and just revel in the cuteness of it all.

First up, we have these fabulous beach pajamas that were introduced by Coco Chanel (of course) in 1922.  They were one piece outfits for rich ladies to wear while yachting or strolling the Riviera beaches because apparently these activities require a special clothes.

The pants had wide legs and the attached  tops were halters or had cool crisscrossed straps, sometimes with a matching bolero or jacket.

By the 1930s the trend moved from Paris to Palm Springs to Peoria as Americans began seeing them in films. And why not? They were gorgeous and fun, and those art deco prints-swoon!

1920's and 30's beach pajamas

1920’s and 30’s beach pajamas

The forties gave us two versions of the one piece outfits-one that was practical, the other more playful.

That classic Rosie The Riveter  jumpsuit looked like what pilots and sky divers in the military wore. Women put them on to work in factories, accessorized with that iconic bandana and wedge heeled shoes.

On the other side of the onesie coin are rompers, or top and blousy short combos, which were around in children’s clothing since the early 20th century. These got reinterpreted as a fun outfit for women in the 1940’s, sometimes with an overskirt.

So Rosie, what are you planning to wear when the factory whistle blows and you’re headed to Cony Island with the other girls? How about a garment adapted from baby clothes?

1940's jumpsuits and rompers

1940’s jumpsuits and rompers

After World War II, leisure clothes really hit their stride. For you, Mrs. Cleaver, we have these playsuits and rompers in cheerful cotton prints to wear while sipping Mai Tais on the lanai. If you’re lucky,  the mister will fire up the grill while he’s wearing loafers and shorts.

1950s playsuits

1950s playsuits

1950s playsuits

These mod sixties once piece outfits register a 6.0 on the youth quake meter, plus we have a brand new invention, the culotte.

1960s jumpsuits

1960s jumpsuits

Jumpsuits were pretty great in the 1970’s. These all-in-one connected body suits had a hip younger second wife vibe (sorry Mrs. Cleaver), like something a Long Island hostess wore while serving Tequila Sunrises and Lipton onion dip.

1970s jumpsuits

1970s jumpsuits

Ground control to Major Tom: I see the future and it involves these modernistic, wide shouldered, cinched waisted jumpsuits and some crazy wild hair. Leopard print or metallic fabric is a definite plus. With all that intergalactic travel, who’s got time to put on actual pants and a top?

1980s jumpsuits

1980s jumpsuits

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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