Bodysuits and Catsuits flash back from the ‘80s

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer


A one-piece suit that was once only worn in the world of gymnastics, ballet, and ice-skating, has become increasingly popular, in the fashion world. These unitards are also known as leotards, or catsuits. They have made a flashy comeback from the once bright and form-fitting pieces of clothing, popular in the ‘80s.

The unitard has been around for quite some time, but has just recently been improved and popular again. Catsuits can be traced back to 1940, when Catwoman was first introduced, and Britney Spears’ outfit for her famous 2000s hit, “Oops! I Did It Again.”

The catsuit has proven to be the go-to outfit for celebrities lately, when attending award shows, and performing on stage, because of their versatility, and ease of movement. They have a “new and improved pantsuit” look, which often include flashy and revealing details, as well as lace and see-through patterns. These types of unitards are mostly worn by celebrities, because of their expensive qualities and revealing looks.

The everyday unitard takes on more of the one-piece swimsuit look. It was made with the intent to be the alternative to a tucked in shirt, but often looks like a flashback to ‘80s workout wear. It can be worn for a cleaner look on the top half of your desired outfit.

Some every day catsuits take on the appearance of a onesie, much like some of the ones Miley Cyrus has worn. These often have elaborate graphic designs and fun, loud prints.

With the creation of the new and improved unitard, controversy has risen on whether they are just for the elite, or if they can be worn for day-to-day responsibilities. One of the statements that often comes up, when arguing against everyday wear, is the complexness of the tricky buttons at the end of the one-piece. The unitard is said to look like an adult version of a baby’s onesie, complete with the buttons to fasten it on. This key part of the piece is often one of the turnoffs when deciding whether or not to make a place for it in your wardrobe.

Another turn off, is that the full-length catsuits are difficult to take on and off, and simply do not look good on everyone. They have also been compared to a flashy version of a pantsuit.

In the end, choosing to wear a unitard is a bold, fashion choice that often takes a healthy dose of confidence to wear. Many people shy away from even trying them on because of their form-fitting, and sometimes scandalous, appearance. Many people feel that they are too flashy or show too much skin, while others lust after the tight clothing to show off their body. This just goes to show that current fashion trends can either be a hit, or a miss, especially the fads that comeback from the ‘80s.

Sometimes fashion trends don’t make it full circle here on the west coast, especially in the Pacific Northwest, because of the constant changing weather patterns, and minimal exposure to the fashion world. To get the scoop on this ‘80s comeback, I talked to a few students around campus to get their thoughts on this statement piece.

Mary Seiner, sophomore, gave her opinion on this new fashion trend. “I have never worn unitards before, but whenever I see people wear them, it is usually celebrities—all bejeweled or with leopard print. In everyday life, I have to pay close attention to fashion to be able to recognize if someone is sporting a unitard. They look like regular shirts when tucked into pants, and I think that is a very clean look. A person does not need to spend five minutes trying to tuck in their shirt if they own a unitard. It also has a slimming effect as well, which I would imagine boosts confidence in a lot of people.”

Another Saint Martin’s student, Trystan Rackham, said, “I don’t know why they came back. They were tolerable in the ‘80s but now I just think that they are unattractive and that they shouldn’t have come back.”


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