Rompers Suck

Sure, I love rompers. On five year olds. However, if you’re at an age when there’s no longer a risk that you will pull your skirt up to your waist and wave it back and forth at the sandbox, then maybe you should just wear a dress. You know, like a grown up. Or pants! Pants work too.

Why do rompers exist? Seriously, did someone just decide “I am not competent enough to put on both shorts and a shirt” and had to stitch them all together? And don’t tell me, “a romper is great because it’s a coordinated outfit all in one!” So is a dress. So are pants a shirt that you took five minutes to coordinate – if you want your outfit to look like a romper, you can buy the pants and the shirt in the exact same fabric. Wait, that would look silly. Oh. Right.

But at least you’d be able to go to the restroom without peeling your entire body out of your garment. Wearing a romper is like being stuck in a one-piece swimsuit every time you go to the bathroom. But maybe they’ll make you looking amazing!  

Except that they won’t. Most of the rompers you see (with the exception of ones being worn by stick thin models, and if you are a stick thin model, you can wear pretty much anything and look okay) aren’t making anyone’s figure look all that great. Which sort of makes sense – I imagine the designer has to imagine how the entirety of, say, a size 8 woman’s body looks, rather than just her top. Or her bottom. Sure, that’s sort of the case with a dress, too, but a slightly flowing skirt is going to give you some leeway. And, unfortunately, people are often say, a size 6 on top, a size 8 on the bottom.

The end result is that, unless your body is exactly the same size all the way through is that some portion of the romper does not fit properly. This is why every time one of your friends tries on a romper they say something to the effect of “it was cute, but the shorts were way too short. But I bought it anyway, because I make bad decisions.”  They don’t really say that about the bad decisions though, because somehow, they see it as being okay that one entire part of the outfit fits the wrong way. This does not happen when you buy a shirt and a pair of pants. If the pants don’t fit right, you don’t buy them. If the top doesn’t fit right, you don’t buy it. This is obvious buying-things logic.  

But it’s not just that the fit on them always seems to be slightly off. I think the thing about them that makes me cringe most is that they’re a ridiculously infantilizing fashion statement. They basically say “I am still a playful little girl at heart, I just want to caper with you during playtime. Math is hard!” I think for me this sentiment gets reinforced by the frequency with which women who are supposed to appear childlike and unthreatening are thrust into jumpers – remember Chrissy from Three’s Company? That girl was always in a romper. With pigtails. Do you see Meryl Streep in a romper? No. You do not. Try to imagine Hillary Clinton in a Romper. Actually, don’t. It will make your head explode.

Oh, okay, fine, those women are not commonly accepted “style icons”. Audrey Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn would eat a plate full of tacks before wearing a romper. I hope. It is at least reassuringly difficult to imagine her wearing one. Unfortunately, I can picture Katherine Hepburn in one, but I’m willing to chalk that up to her loving pants and being thrust into one by a manager who thought it seemed more ladylike.

That’s why the only adjective that ever describes a romper is “cute.” No one ever calls it sleek. Or sophisticated. Well, I suppose some people do but those are either a) fashion writers picking adjectives out of a hat or b) idiots.  That’s because it almost never (an exception is made for Dita von Teese, because an exception is always made for Dita von Teese) looks like either of those things. Best case scenario, it has a sort of childlike appeal, worst case scenario, you look like trailer trash, and, by the way, your top is about to fall off. 

You don’t need to look that saccharine, kitschy cute. You’re not a kindergartner.  You don’t need someone to pre-coordinate shorts and a shirt for you. Nor do you need to be going through an elaborate disrobing ritual every time you visit the restroom. You’re an adult. Dress like one.

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