In 1977 the Queen came to visit my local town of Mansfield. It was the Silver Jubilee and if I remember correctly, she had come to open the new library.
When we were kids we only used to get new clothes at certain times of the year, like Whitsun or summer holidays. Well I was getting old enough that I could choose what I wanted, obviously within a pretty strict budget, and this particular time I chose a jumpsuit and a blue nylon bomber jacket.
The jumpsuit was fabulous! I was in a khaki brown colour, full arms and legs and had patches on it like an American car mechanic overalls. I was rocking it. I was so enamoured with it I wore it to see the Queen. People like Charlie’s Angles were the sort of girls that wore jumpsuits…
See how I called it a jumpsuit?
Jumpsuits were quite new, modern things as in the 60s the word ‘catsuit’ was used to describe an all in one. Think Cat Woman in the old Batman series, which incidentally was my favorite thing on the telly when I was 18 months old (and I have pictures from the local paper to prove t).
Roll on a bit to the 80s and something similar crops up. In the 80s there were a lot of culottes. These could be skirts or dresses, the dress was usually being the button front style and not really being noticeable as being culottes rather than a dress. Calling them jumpsuits would have seemed old-fashioned.
In the 90s I remember dungarees being the closest to jumpsuits or culottes, but I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t have been seen dead in them…
So moving forward again we seem to have had a little resurgence of these similar styles. This time around they are called playsuits. They look a little like the 80s culottes but more suited to the beach or a night out
It’s actually been very interesting from a vintage point of view as 80s culottes have been very popular again and I’ve been sending them all around the world. I guess they are very wearable and can look smart enough for work, or dressy enough for a night out. Some are really lovely takes on 40s style tea dresses.
There’s one thing I’ve omitted to mention so far. Rompers. Hmm, to me these are something that a child would wear, or maybe one of those adults that like to dress as babies. Clearly I haven’t got the full picture as I discovered last year that this is what some other countries call our culottes.
So, it just brings me round to, what’s in a name?