I consider myself a workout set enthusiast. No, really, it's even in my Instagram bio. Sleek black coordinates, leopard-print pairings, and Earth-toned two-pieces (olive and rust are two current favorites) alike, the thrill of a matching set always gets me in the mood for a sweat. But, there's something new sweeping the fitness scene, the workout onesie trend, that takes things a sizable leap beyond my usual comfort zone.
I'm all for ease when it comes to getting dressed, especially for an early morning workout when I'm hobbling around half-awake and wiggling into my leggings. But a singular piece of spandex gives me pause. As a former dancer, I am accustomed to leotards, which come with the same all-in-one sensibility. But it's different in a studio when tights, ballet skirts, and leg warmers are part of the equation. Somehow, the idea of a body-skimming jumpsuit makes me feel ultra-exposed — as if it's any different from baring a midriff in a bra-and-legging set.
"It's definitely a bold statement," Robyn Berkley, the cofounder of Live The Process, tells me. But, to assuage your and my reservations, she says there are ways to ease into the look. "It's really about how you feel," the designer says, suggesting a T-shirt or a warm-up piece layered over the top to ease into the look. Gigi Caruso, the cofounder of her namesake sport and swim line, Gigi C, echos this sentiment: "My favorite way to style one is with white socks, sneakers, and [a] jacket. Having that extra piece available to throw on makes me feel more covered up."
Workout onesies have been at the crux of Berkley's line since inception. "Our Corset Bodysuit was the first style; everything was built around it actually," she tells me. Growing up in the dance and gymnastics world, she adds, "I used to wear onesies a lot, but I wanted one that was sophisticated with a corseted feel. One that would look good on its own or layered." For this reason, elevated bodysuits, playsuits, and jumpsuits have been part of Live The Process's DNA — each season, the label introduces a new style in activewear fabrics and knits for lounging. "They're fun and easy and super versatile," Berkley says.
Caruso's approach to designing catsuits, as she calls them, was rooted in her love for athleisure. "I usually build my weekday looks around my leggings, so I love the idea of having an all-in-one outfit with those same qualities," she explains. From solid styles with laser-cut detailing to graphic colorblock designs, every Gigi C jumpsuit comes with a sporty appeal. "Like the rest of our styles, [the jumpsuits and rompers] are stylish, unique, and athletic. The goal is that women can look bold and fashion-forward and be able to be active and supported while in Gigi C."
Though I typically rely on bolder colors or prints to rid me of any activewear funk, I'd be lying if I said an all-in-one's playfulness — like Tankair's buzzed-about Romeo Bodysuit that's all over Instagram — didn't tempt me, just a smidge. "I think people are feeling more confident and feel good about showing off their body," Berkley says of the rising trend. "People have a more playful spirit. [Jumpsuits] are nostalgic, and they're the easiest item to wear underneath items and layer items over the top. It's really about simplicity."
Caruso believes the recent sartorial shift toward comfort is fueling the workout onesie trend as well as the current '80s revival. "As many of us have lived in leggings and sweats this year, it's been fun to shop for new casual outfits, she says. When designing, Caruso and her cofounder mother always reference the '80s (her mom even modeled then) when unitards, catsuits, and leotards were unanimous. "Modernizing the iconic looks from back then makes a lot of sense for our brand," she explains.
If you possess the willingness to wear a stretchy jumpsuit or romper for a workout, you'll want to consider the activity at hand. Berkley recommends them for low-impact exercises like yoga, Pilates, and walking, though some of her customers favor the brand's cutout leotard for high-intensity sweats. "It's a personal preference. Our Orion Bodysuit is definitely about making a statement, while the Corset Bodysuit is about seaming and softness." She adds, "We keep adding more and more as it's what people seem to want from us. It was never about a trend, more of a necessity as we have been doing that same style for seven years!"
Caruso points out the advantages of a catsuit's seamlessness for workouts. "If you find that you're pausing your workout to adjust the waist of your leggings or constantly stopping to tuck in your shirt, a jumpsuit would be the perfect fix."
If a workout onesie doesn't sound ideal for a heart-pumping workout, it might be your vibe for a leisure-fashion moment. "A catsuit can be styled with sneakers, and a big fleece cropped jacket for an easy errand-running look," Caruso says. She's even in favor of them for date-night, suggesting heels and a blazer in the mix. Berkley says jumpsuits are about low-key style, but in a way that's pulled together, whether with a wrap top, sweater, and boots or layered with a duster cardigan. "You can have fun with it for sure as it's not about taking yourself seriously; it's about having fun."
Inspired to take a workout onesie for a spin, err, sweat? Ahead, discover 21 styles for every aesthetic, from simple solids to bold cutouts and prints.
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