Colgate Couture – Romping Abounds: Wriggling Through Town in the Right Regalia

Laura Stoloff

You won’t see the newest “it” girl about town in a mini dress during the upcoming months. The latest sophistication calls for a playful freedom; crossed legs are not required. Whether sipping bellinis at an early morning brunch at the Plaza, entertaining an afternoon picnic in Central Park or celebrating a late night f??te at Cipriani, the romper will effortlessly transform your look from day to night. It doesn’t matter what style satisfies your taste because there’s a romper for all in solid colors, denim, florals or striped. Designers at the spring 2009 runways breathed new life into the one-piece suit. It’s anything but childish – a little bit tomboy with a punch of sexiness.

“To romp” evokes images of frolicking, “to play boisterously.” It’s a refreshing take on the mini dress, suggesting images of young children running through a garden without a care in the world. And it’s no coincidence that “romp” is associated with winning, “to romp a race.” The ease of a romper has made a comeback this spring, as a winner that is.

Take a step back into a fantasy world of childhood dreams. Rompers, typically loosely fitted, one-piece garments with short bloomers have found a new place in women’s closets. Typically associated with children, rompers first emerged in the early 20th century, but took off in the 1950s as a form of playwear for children and beachwear for women. They served as the original playwear for children that turned away from the restrictive wear of the 19th century, a period in which stuffy Victorian wear reigned.

Countless designers, high and low, featured rompers in their collections this season. Derek Lam, Chloé, Stella McCartney and Vena Cava are only a handful of designers who took on this reinvention. Stella McCartney, who has featured rompers on past runways, took a new spin on the silhouette. The inspiration: menswear. She fused a blazer-inspired top with tailored shorts on bottom, sewn together to create the perfect jumpsuit.

Derek Lam designed his romper on the wild side. The safari style one-piece looked anything but Indiana Jones with an oversized black cardigan and strappy metallic heels. Betsy Johnson went for cutesy and kitschy with a playful stripped romper and Alexandre Herchcovitch channeled a whimsical maiden in an apricot, silk creation, creating the illusion of a dress.

Temperley London mimicked the English countryside with its floral rompers fit for an afternoon tea date. The lingerie-inspired romper came from Nanette Lepore, who used accessories, yet minimally, to make the romper look au courant. A bold necklace, belt and ruffles added the perfect touch. But be aware of over-accessorizing, because what makes the romper refreshing this spring is its simplicity; the focus lies on clean lines.

Finding the right romper for your body type is necessary. Whether body hugging or a looser, silky fit, there should be no problem in finding a wide variety. Almost every fashion website has a new section dedicated to the “jumpsuit.” Shopbop.com and revolveclothing.com have sections titled “jumpsuits and rompers” for pricier pieces. The best picks? Alice + Olivia √° la Blair Waldorf. It’s girly meets retro in multi-colored polka dots cinched with an aqua belt, so playful you won’t be able to stay put. For a more casual look, Only Hearts has cotton rompers in black and white, perfect for poolside or casual daytime attire.

And if you’re looking for a little leeway in the credit department, Topshop and Urban Outfitters have onesies in all styles. Urban Outfitters winning romper: Lark & Wolff’s sailor-inspired one piece made for summer weekend getaways. While a bit too chic for those who watched the show, this springy style promises to turn every salon into a modern Romper Room.