I’m a jumpsuit fan. I've been rocking jumpsuits for almost two decades and now every retail seems to carry one every season. Every time I feature a jumpsuit on the blog or Instagram I always have at least one person say they never thought a soft curvy person or a petite person could carry off a jumpsuit. And I always have at least one person comment on the issue with jumpsuits and needing to use the restroom.
A while ago, Off Fifth had DVF on clearance. I love Diane von Furstenberg the woman and I also love Diane von Furstenberg the fashion so I was excited to possibly score some more DVF for my wardrobe at a reasonable price. I was even more excited to see some DVF jumpsuits featured and available in sizes 14 and 16. I frantically clicked BUY before it sold out and a couple of days later a DVF jumpsuit was at my front door. I raced upstairs and tore open the bag.
Ten minutes later I was crying, sweating, had several pulled muscles, and was swearing at a woman who I consider a hero. I bet a lot of you are laughing, nodding your heads, and recalling similar experiences when trying to take off jumpsuits. But not all jumpsuits are created equal, and from my experience, the fit, comfort, and pee-ability of a jumpsuit have nothing to do with the name on the label or the price on the tag. A few styling tips to find the perfect jumpsuit:
The Best Jumpsuits for Women
Seek Stretch: Jersey and Lycra-infused Jumpsuits
My favorite go-to jumpsuit for years was a nubby-crepe textured stretch that was low on shine and looked dressy quite easily. With a wrap/surplice bodice and fuller legs, there was no need for a zipper, I could pull it down from the neckline without damaging the garment.
I had this jumpsuit from Loveappeala and I adored it (see it here). I wore it to work with a wide belt and caged sandals with a slight heel, and on weekends you'd see me wearing it with my Birkenstock Bends or Arizonas. The jumpsuit has a couple of pleats on the bottom to keep it loose and comfortable and again, it has an easy wrap-style bodice which makes it easy to pull on and off. This one from Target comes in plus sizes and is a similar concept with wrap front and jersey stretch. And this one from CurvySense is a very similar silhouette to the Loveappeala version.
From my experience, if you’re between sizes, size up. Jumpsuits often run short in the torso and are prone to cling on the bum; stretchy jumpsuits don’t have to have a slim fit so sizing up can add comfort and better drape on your lower half. My local dry cleaner was able to shorten a jumpsuit for only $10 and I have had tailors and dry cleaners adjust the length of straps and even take in seams on jersey pieces for just a few dollars.
Shop Dressy Jumpsuits:
Fabric makes the difference whether you can wear a stretchy jumpsuit to a wedding, the workplace, or if it’s best left for the bar or a beach barbecue. Matte jersey, crepe jersey, and silk jersey have a more elegant finish, hold dye better providing a richer color, and are less clingy making them better for dressier or more formal events. These days you can find many stretchy formal fabrics that are embellished with metallic threads, embroidery, sequins, and beading.
Shop Work-Friendly Jumpsuits:
If you feel a jumpsuit may be inappropriate for your office environment, you’re probably correct. Even crepe jersey jumpsuits can be clingy, especially on the rear, and often have silhouettes or details that may be too trendy for an office setting. We're grown-ass women, we no longer have to make our social-focused wardrobe work for the office with a denim jacket or cardigan. Keep the spaghetti straps and backless pieces for weekends and evenings and choose professional pieces that properly represent your workplace authority for the workplace.
Non-Stretch Jumpsuits That You Can Pee In
The reason I had a panic attack and pulled muscles in that DVF jumpsuit was that I needed to be Houdini to be able to take it off and I had just finished a bottle of water. Jumpsuits are stylish, and we women like wearing stylish clothing to social events, and social events usually have beverages. I don’t care how utterly adorable or flattering a jumpsuit is, if you can’t pee without an entourage or double-jointed capabilities you shouldn’t purchase it. That doesn’t mean you have to rule out all non-stretchy jumpsuits. Some can be quite wearable and accessible.
Shop Plus Size Jumpsuits:
The best jumpsuits that are non-stretchy and have a zipper that can work in a jiffy are spaghetti straps or strapless jumpsuits. These styles require a shorter zipper and can often be twisted a bit when getting the zipper started. Also styles that have a button at the neck, a keyhole opening, and then a zipper farther down are easier to maneuver. By opening the button, the neckline widens so you can more easily grasp the back zipper.
Also, look for styles with smocked or elasticized panels that help with getting on and off. For example, I own and love this jumpsuit from Target. It isn't stretchy fabric, but the wider arm holes and elasticized waistband means it's easier to get off AND it won't puddle on the floor when using the facilities.
Shop Casual Jumpsuits:
Before dropping the coin, drop the jumpsuit. Try a few times – can you honestly slip it on and off in a rush? Could you do it in a cramped bathroom stall at a bar or concert venue or wedding ballroom? Do you need to be careful about tiny hooks and eyes or too-tight buttonholes? Be realistic, you have no idea how long that bathroom line may be or how you may be feeling that evening. No jumpsuit is cute enough to risk an accident or wardrobe malfunction.
Tips for Buying and Wearing Jumpsuits:
Unless it’s a non-stretchy fitted style, you can usually go up a size without it affecting the line of the piece. This will reduce cling on the bum and give a bit more fabric in the bodice to be able to get on and off with ease. A dry cleaner can adjust the hem and strap length for little money.
If you’re petite, try the regular version (and if you’re regular consider tall).
Again, jumpsuits can run short in the torso, and very short in that space between the waistband and crotch. I’ve found regular jumpsuits that fit me better in the body more often than not.
Whether the whole jumpsuit is made of jersey or just a portion, the stretch will make it easier to work with and be more forgiving to your figure.
I have yet to see a jumpsuit that doesn’t at least skim the rear. It’s easy to worry about lifting the bust and whittling the waist and forget about the back view. Seamless undergarments, thongs, and even bike short-style undergarments will give a smooth finish to the jumpsuit (I've been known to wear Thigh Society under jumpsuits).
Reference your underwear drawer.
While jumpsuit shopping, don’t go strapless if you don’t have a comfortable and flattering strapless bra (and they do exist). Don’t try to cover up bra straps by wearing a tank or tee under a jumpsuit meant to wear on its own. Same with halters, spaghetti straps, cutouts, open backs, and the rest. That jumpsuit may look hella cute on the hanger, but without the right underpinnings, you won’t get the right effect. Don’t try to reinvent your lingerie drawer or redesign your figure, there’s another cute jumpsuit out there that’s perfect for you and your current wardrobe!
Consider your shoes.
A wide-leg jumpsuit needs a substantial shoe – a wedge, caged sandal, or platform is a good choice to balance the width. In turn, a narrow-leg or banded-leg jumpsuit needs a more delicate shoe. Just as you do with a dress, factor in footwear. Don't think because you have long legs you can get away with old flats or sandals; a shoe makes the man and the woman!
Consider a Zipper Genie.
There are many versions of this gadget, but the one I have is a Zipper Genie. It is a chain that has a hook on one end and a strong clamp on the other. Depending on the style of your zipper and pull on the back of your jumpsuit, use one of the ends to attach to the zipper and the chain gives you the length to be able to zip up or down a back zipper! It's small enough to tuck into any bag or even a pocket to have when you need to use the facilities! You can make your own with a ribbon and safety pin.
If you liked this post you may also like the best cocktail jumpsuits for grown women.
This post was originally published in 2015 but updated with current products and information