13 Ways To Wear A Bodysuit This Summer
Are they swimsuits? Are they tops? Are they a modern day reincarnation of leotards from 80s home workout videos? I am of course talking about bodysuits – and for the record, I think they’re a blend of all three. (And ps: I am obsessed with them!)
No one really knows how bodysuits came into our lives and became one of the biggest wardrobe staples of the past decade; but I’m not mad about it.
Although they make going to the bathroom just that little bit trickier, they have more than made up for it by allowing us to seamlessly tuck them into whatever we’re wearing on the bottom without ever worrying about them becoming untucked, and completely eradicating those dreaded lumps and bumps we would get from all other tops and T-shirts, etc. So for that, they deserve a round of applause.
Bodysuits are the ultimate layering piece, and this post is all about appreciating them!
Who Invented The Bodysuit?
Since I admitted that I didn’t know where bodysuits came from – or when they first originated – I decided to dig a little deeper into their history. And as you can imagine, I was really fascinated with what I found.
The bodysuit dates back to the early 20th century, although this is in its leotard form, which is obviously where the modern day bodysuit got its shape and design. 20th century dancers first realized that they could get even more movement in leotards, although it wasn’t until American fashion designer, Claire McCardell, improved the design of the leotard back in the 1940s to make them the leotards – and therefore by extension, the bodysuits – we know and love today.
What Is The Difference Between A Bodysuit And A Leotard?
To be honest, not much…
French gymnast, Jules Leotard, was the first person on record to be seen in a leotard, so it makes perfect sense the garment was named after her.
Although modern day leotards are a shiny Lycra or spandex material, the earlier versions came in silk and wool (can you imagine a wool leotard? I’m getting itchy just thinking about it) and featured the traditional low neckline and gussets between the legs that we know from today. So the design hasn’t actually changed that much over the years, which is quite surprising!
When Did Bodysuits Become Fashionable?
Love them or loathe them, you have French designer André Courrèges to thank for their prominence in the fashion world! He introduced the bodysuit into the fashion-sphere in the mid-1960s as part of his iconic Space Age collection. They went down pretty well in the 60s, as they coincided with the Women's Liberation Movement. They got even more popular in the 70s, as there was no shortage of materials such as spandex and nylon. The textile industry was booming in the 70s, and thus, so was the bodysuit.
However, the 1980s were probably the most successful decade for the bodysuit, with high fashion designers such as Azzedine Alaïa and Donna Karan featuring them in their ready-to-wear collections and helping them cement their place in modern-day fashion.
Women’s Bodysuits 2021
Fast forward to 2021, and bodysuits now come in all shapes, sizes, fabrics, colors, and designs, which means they are suitable for all body types; hooray! However, anyone who knows me can already guess that I am more drawn to the ones I can wear on a more casual day to day basis.
Are Bodysuits Fashionable in 2021?
Women’s bodysuits are super-flattering and versatile, and can work alongside any personal style or occasion, which is why I will always find a place in my heart and wardrobe for them. So to answer my own question, bodysuits are absolutely fashionable in 2021, and I predict they will be en-vogue for many seasons and many years to come!
I love wearing the form-fitting bodysuit top with everything from jeans to jogger pants, to skirts, and so much more. There’s so much fun and creativity to be had with bodysuits, and I want to show you just a few of the ways I have been wearing some of the best bodysuits I have purchased over the past few months.
So without further ado, here are 13 ways I am wearing some of my favorite bodysuits this summer…
1. With Workout Shorts
I felt it was only right to pay homage to the leotard that started it all by going straight into a workout look. This lavender Free People bodysuit is a far cry from the leotards of the past, so I’m very grateful that the trend has evolved beyond that, as I am obsessed with this bodysuit – especially the color!
I’ve teamed the Free People bodysuit with Prajna workout shorts – I actually own six pairs of these shorts, because they are super-comfortable, and I adore the sun bleached look – along with a faux leather cap, retro stripe tube socks, and Chanel sneakers.
2. With Sweater Shorts
Sweater shorts – the only things even comfier and cozier than workout shorts. Am I right? These pink sweater shorts are the epitome of comfort, and I bet that anyone who has been working from home over the past year is all too familiar with similar styles.
A great way to style sweater shorts is to keep the top tight and fitted, to juxtapose nicely with the loose silhouette of the shorts; so a bodysuit is the perfect solution for this! A cropped top could also work for those feeling a little more adventurous, but for me, this gray seamless bodysuit ticks all of my boxes. I’ve also added a Gucci headscarf and Dior slippers to give the look an added touch of luxury.
I’ve gone for gray on this occasion, but you’ll come to realize that I am a fan of black bodysuits and bodysuits in all other neutral colorways, as the styling options are practically endless! There is no wrong color to choose when it comes to bodysuits!
How To Wear Bodysuits
3. With Jean Shorts
Although you can wear bodysuits with absolutely anything on the bottom, I hope I can be forgiven for making the most of the summer weather and wearing mine with several pairs of shorts. Not at the same time, of course…
(Not-so-subtle plug coming up – but my next blog post is all about summer shorts and some of the best ways to style them, so if you like what you see so far, keep your eyes peeled for the post to see my ever-expanding shorts collection in all its glory!)
If I could only have one pair of shorts in my wardrobe, I think it would almost definitely have to be a pair of women’s denim shorts for versatility purposes. You can really mix things up with denim, and denim shorts are no exception! My Gap button-fly jean shorts are among my favorites due to their gorgeous medium wash and 4” inseam, and I really can wear them with anything my heart desires. I wanted to go bold on this occasion, and teamed them with an animal print bodysuit, a Dior bucket hat, and espadrilles.
Since this is a bodysuits appreciation post, I must add that this animal print bodysuit is one of the most hardworking bodysuits in my closet. It has elevated these very casual shorts in an instant, but I would also use it as a going out bodysuit and dress it up with longer pants, or even a midi skirt and heels for a day to night look.4. With Bermuda Shorts
Bermuda shorts are great for those days when you don’t feel like exposing too much leg. Maybe it’s because you didn’t have time to shave all of your legs – hashtag busy mom life – or maybe you don’t feel confident enough to brave the short shorts, or maybe you didn’t have time to moisturize or tan (faux or otherwise). There are hundreds of possible reasons why you wouldn’t want to wear the shortest or tightest shorts you own; however, no one needs to know, because women’s Bermuda shorts are on hand to save the day.
When it comes to wearing longer shorts, or even something a little more casual, I like to go bold with the rest of my outfit, which is where this bold printed bodysuit comes in. I love how it has stolen the show and commanded all of the attention! I’ve teamed it with my failsafe Gap distressed Bermuda shorts and T strap Chanel sandals; and I will never pack a vacation suitcase without it!
What To Wear With Bodysuits
5. With Sweatpants
Another ultra-comfortable and casual look that can be worn to carry out daily errands, run around after the children, walk the dog, you name it.
I love pairing bodysuits with sweatpants because I don’t need to worry about my top riding up, or it getting creased or lumpy; I literally put the bodysuit on and don’t have to think about it for the whole day! Or at least, until the next bathroom visit. As I said at the beginning of my post though, the few extra seconds in the bathroom is a small sacrifice I’m willing to make!
I’ve teamed my Jockey lounge pants with a gorgeous green Henley bodysuit, as well as a sun-bleached baseball cap (perfect for those non-hair-wash days – as are all baseball caps – as well as for adding a pop of color to an otherwise muted look) and my Hermès sneakers.
This look would also work great with a long sleeve bodysuit when the weather gets a little colder – I may even swap the baseball cap for a cute knitted beanie. As I mentioned earlier, bodysuits are the perfect layering piece, which means they will be great to add to some autumn winter staples in a few months to keep out the chill. All hail the bodysuit, one of the most underrated, super-versatile wardrobe staples!
6. With Harem Pants
All in favor of harem pants with bodysuits, say Aye…
I love how this look plays around with shapes, as the juxtaposition of silhouettes provides something different and exciting. Fashion allows us to keep things interesting in our day to day lives, and I love how I can create such a dynamic look with just a few simple pieces. Even more so because it’s a super-casual look, and I don’t have to make any sacrifices in terms of comfort…
I’m wearing my harem floral patterned pants with a gray seamless rib bodysuit which complements the gray tones in the pants perfectly. I’ve finished the look off with some Hermès Oran sandals – just like the bodysuit, they pick up one of the harem pants colors, making for a very well-executed, stylish, albeit extremely casual, look – and a straw visor. Proof that you can be comfortable, casual, and stylish all at the same time!
7. With Cargo Pants
It’s no secret that I love tie dye – remember when I experimented with dyeing my own sweaters using organic tie dye from Etsy?
These cargo pants are a little more toned down than the ones I created with the kids – and it’s definitely not as fun when you don’t do the tie dyeing yourself, although it’s certainly more convenient – but I love them all-the-same. How could I not? They’re extremely versatile, and allow me to mix and match with a variety of different pieces.
On this occasion, I’ve kept things very simple and teamed my tie dye cargo pants with a black scuba neck bodysuit (it’s definitely worth grabbing a few of these in various different colors, as they’re so easy to wear and look after!) as well as my Chloe sunglasses and statement sandals. Simple, yet stylish – my favorite!
8. With Barrel Jeans
Ah, the return of the barrel jeans!
If you read my jeans post from three months ago (wow, it’s been three months already, where has the time gone?) then you’ll know how excited I was about barrel jeans. The novelty still hasn’t worn off, and I am just as enamored with them as I was back then. They’re super effortless and versatile, and I love how I can pair almost anything with them and make the look work!
You may also recognize the return of another familiar piece – the animal print bodysuit! I wasn’t lying when I said it was extremely versatile, and would be getting many different outings this summer. Dressed up or down, animal print never fails to deliver!
I wanted to dress the look up, and also add some color, so my Bottega Veneta curve sandals in flamingo pink tick both of those boxes! (Pink is having such a huge moment this season, so I like sneaking the color in as and when I can. Nothing would stop me from wearing the color though, but it’s always a nice bonus when your high end pieces are currently on-trend.) I finished the look off with my Chloe sunglasses, and styled my hair in loose beach waves.
9. With Wide Leg Jeans
Mixing tight and loose silhouettes is a great way to keep things casual yet stylish; and that’s exactly what I’ve done with this look.
I wanted the comfort of jeans, but fancied a more relaxed fit, which is why I decided against skinny jeans and opted for Gap wide legged jeans instead. Adding a bodysuit to things like wide legged jeans, flares, or even voluminous skirts is a great trick if you want to experiment with different shapes and sizes, but don’t want your figure to get lost in the excess fabric. Think of the bodysuit working in the same way as a belt, when you add a belt to a billowing dress so it will instantly nip in the waist and define your shape.
Wearing a figure-hugging bodysuit also allows for even more loose accessories and accompaniments, and my beachy short sleeve button-down is the perfect piece to add another layer to the look. I’ve finished the look off with some Chanel slides and a straw sun hat for the ultimate summer style look.
10. With Overalls
There are so many different ways to wear overalls – and I love experimenting with them all! I like going super casual with an oversized tee, and also like injecting some femininity into the outfit with something floral or even lace underneath. However, I think teaming casual denim painter overalls with a dark steel colored bodysuit might be my new favorite combination yet, thanks to the juxtaposition of the sleek, figure hugging bodysuit teamed with the oversized fit of the overalls.
I kept the color palette dark and almost grunge-like (the 90s are back in more ways than one this season!) and completed the look with black Chloe franne loafers, oversized sunglasses, and a Hermès collier de chien bracelet.
How To Wear Bodysuits In Summer
11. With A Skirt
We don’t always need exaggerated pieces that will steal the attention from everything else in our wardrobes. Sometimes, we just need some understated yet hard-working pieces that will complement the bolder items effortlessly and tie the whole look together without things looking overcrowded. It’s all about teamwork!
Bodysuits, in my opinion, fit this description quite a lot, and I often find that they are the simple missing piece of the sartorial puzzle. I’ve teamed my tiered mini skirt – which I wanted to be one of the stand-out pieces of the ensemble – with a simple teal colored bodysuit. I needed something very understated, as I also wanted my slouch boots and rancher hat to grab the attention too.
I love how this whole look has come together – and I couldn’t have done it without the humble bodysuit!
Can A Bodysuit Be Preppy?
12. With A Button Down Shirt
This look is a real mix and match of high/low and smart/casual pieces – my favorite! My paperbag denim pants can definitely go on the more casual side, especially if they’re teamed with something looser on top. However, there’s no danger of that happening with a tight form-fitting bodysuit tucked neatly underneath!
I’ve teamed my caramel colored bodysuit with a mixed pattern button down to add some color and texture to the look, and finished it off with some Louis Vuitton loafers. Although the button down compliments the color of the paperbag pants, the pinstripe detailing, as well as the infusion of color also appearing on it, gives the look even more edge and versatility, which keeps things unique and interesting.
How To Dress Up A Bodysuit
13. With A Blazer
Finally, I thought I would finish off strong, by showing how a versatile bodysuit works with something as chic as a blazer.
If you invest in a statement blazer – which is exactly what my Balmain blazer is for me – you want to make sure it has as many outings as possible, while also making sure the looks don’t get too repetitive. A bodysuit is a great way to mix things up and go beyond the usual shirt, blouse, and even T-shirt combo. Even more so as you can ditch the blazer half way through the day and potentially have a brand new outfit altogether!
Having said that, I love how every single piece of this outfit works together, so if possible, I plan on wearing all the pieces for the whole day. It would be rude not to! It’s a great outfit for date nights in the summer – and of course, it’s very easy to swap the shorts for pants when the weather gets a bit chillier.
I’ve really played with aesthetics and themes here, and worn some acid wash jean shorts with an effortlessly versatile caramel colored bodysuit, my Balmain blazer, a Gucci statement belt, and Chanel pumps. Layering at its finest!
Are you now a bodysuit convert after reading this post, or are you still on the fence?
Thank you for reading my post about different ways to style a bodysuit.
Lots of love, Lily x x