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Why jumpsuits have become the breakout Covid fashion statement

When 51-year-old Helena Christensen strutted down the Balmain catwalk in February in a sequinned jumpsuit, it was a standout moment. Not just because it was a return of the well-known supermodel, but it fast-forwarded the rise (yet again) of the jumpsuit. And not just for younger people - it also set a standard for older women who may previously have shied away from them.

Then along came Covid. Most of us were wearing comfort clothing in isolation, and many are still not back to normal. Fashion seems like a distant memory.

But the human spirit for creativity, fun and fashion is strong. Throughout the year, trends have still managed to emerge - thanks to virtual fashion shows, virtual fashion events, and street style and fashion moments in the areas where life is attempting some form of normal.

The jumpsuit trend, already strong pre-covid, has resumed in popularity. Perhaps because it's an in-between fashion moment. Not quite a pre-covid suit, not quite a during-covid tracksuit. A comfortable, easy-to-wear item which can be pulled on and worn out the door.

Alejandra Alsonso Rojas, NYFW 2020

It's made the transition to accepted occasion-wear. When Royal Ascot altered its strict dress code to allow jumpsuits, the Countess of Wessex was one of the first to embrace the option. Last year, she did it again. Like Helena Christensen, she's older. A role model reminding us that you are not limited to sensible floral dresses when you get past a certain age.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Royal Ascot in 2018 and 2019.

Women all over the UK and Ireland have since donned jumpsuits as occasion-wear, and done it well. Well-known examples include Francesca Cumani and Rosie Tapner, at Royal Ascot and Goodwood respectively.

While the presenters were at the track, women around UK and Ireland were at home, but dressing up for local occasions or to enter virtual competitions. Jumpsuits turned up in all sorts of locations. Here are some lovely Irish examples taken from publicly available instagram profiles.

From the following instagrams: @fashionablybroke.ie; @sarahsecrets_blog; @emermccabe88; @alexb1711

In Australia and New Zealand, spring has just started. The varying Covid restrictions in each area have seen some people venturing out, others resorting to virtual fashions - but already, jumpsuits are turning up at occasions everywhere.

Winner of the Cloncurry Spring Races Fashions; Stacey Hemera Roberts,winner of the first Australian Turf Club Spring fashion competition; Me, September 2020

If you want the comfort, convenience and style of a jumpsuit, the shops and websites are full of them. All sizes, all budgets. Pleasingly, labels suitable for older-age women are also offering many options - jumpsuits with sleeves, more covered decolletages, and generous waist sizes. Here a just a few of the many available as I write this, to give you ideas:

Asos Design

Forever New

Carla Zampatti

Princess Highway

Sofia Irina (at The Iconic)

Ministry of Style

Asos Design

Other variations on jumpsuits include dungarees (overalls), or boiler suits. All have made the leap into mainstream fashion from their original uses as workwear. Often, it is best to under-accessorise, leaving the suit to make the main statement. However, depending on the style, consider what you can add to personalise your outfit: for instance, a scarf, brooches, a belt or a jacket.

Variations on jumpsuits around the world, on and off the track: Anna Campbell (New Zealand); Moira O'Toole (Ireland); Wanda Dawn (US); Peta Bell (Australia)

So, who already has a jumpsuit or three in their wardrobe? Will you be wearing a jumpsuit anywhere in the next six months?

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