When the glitter began to settle, catwalk trends of the 1980s transitioned into tired trends of the 1990s only to fade into fashion oblivion. The bodysuit was swept away with them, only thought of in distant, cheesy pop culture memories...until now. 

Maggie Dolan, PG Cert LCF reports.

With its versatility and ability to figure flatter, the bodysuit is the 1980s fashion trend that got away. Now, in the midst of the era’s fashion revival, designers remind us that the bodysuit is the anchor to the modern women’s wardrobe.

Already embraced by hipsters and their ringleader, American Apparel’s Dov Charney, the bodysuit is transitioning from lo to high. “We began producing the original, plain body in 2004, and they sold well, so we kept developing more designs. Ones with stripes, graphic patterns and now zippers and mesh down the front, even full lace ones. The demand is there, so we keep creating,” says American Apparel representative Sarah Woodiery.

Donna Karan catapulted the bodysuit into the fashion realm with her “seven easy pieces” in 1985. The bodysuit became a lifestyle essential for the urban career woman’s wardrobe. "I'm on the go day and night,” Karan told The New York Times in 1986. I like clothes that you don't have to think about, things with a certain sense of effortlessness that really allow your personality to come through. Karan put emphasis on comfort, fit and sex appeal, and designed clothes to enhance women’s figures.

The bodysuit’s sleek lines harmonize with the female form, allowing a woman’s sexiness to come through naturally. “The bodysuit is very seductive. It’s high cut on the hip baring the entire leg and is skin-tight,” says Woodiery. “Although stuff is covered, it leaves very little to the imagination.”

The beauty of the bodysuit lies in the versatility of its smooth lines. Anything goes over the sleek base of a bodysuit. In an economic climate when pockets are shorter and investment pieces are all the rage, the bodysuit’s flexibility within the wardrobe is a key attribute. Investing in the style chameleon opens a range of looks for any occasion.

On the Spring catwalks, a range of designers highlighted the versatility of its streamlined simplicity. The sexy, sans pants look was sporty at Alexander Wang’s “varsity Americana” show and smart at Rochas with Marco Zanini. Celine’s Phoebe Philo and Hussein Chalayan used its sleek lines by pairing it with high-waisted trousers and a pencil skirt, respectively. Stella McCartney, practical chic extraordinaire, paired an asymmetrical style with belted cargos. Carine Roitfeld, Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue, was spotted taking the look off the runway at her son’s art premiere in New York City wearing one in black satin with a lace overlay.

American Apparel’s extensive series ranges from original and simple at £25.00 to leather and lace at £36.00. Or try Wolford’s “bodies,” which come in six classic shapes, including a turtleneck, polo and blouse and range from £79.00 to £320.00.

“The bodysuit is just so appealing because you don’t have to fuss about with it throughout your day,” says sales representative Rahiannon Ducker from Camden . “You put it on and everything stays in place, doesn’t ruche or untuck. It keeps a smooth line along the body from morning to night.” 

Effortless style from morning to night? It is no longer a secret; the 1980s castoff is a modern must have. The bodysuit is back. 

Images: above, Carine Roitfeld; below, American Apparel bodysuits. 


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