Men's rompers are, essentially, jumpsuits, though they are not as ruggedly built or utilitarian as those seen on Top Gun of Ghostbusters. The clothing type first became popular around the turn of the 19th Century, as play wear for young children, mainly because they were easy to get on and take off, and were durable.
Considered to be casual clothing, the original rompers were meant to be lightweight and loose-fitting, and far less formal than clothes worn during the Victorian era. In the 1950s, the appeal of rompers broadened into women’s leisure and beachwear, though it was not until recent decades that the style became popular in men’s apparel.
Since the 2000s, though, rompers have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence, and popular designers have given these onesies for men a nod in the right direction, with sleepwear and leisurewear often leading the charge.
Mens Romper Design Equals Comfort: Hype or Fact?
Remember PJ's? Do you also remember the pair that was so comfy you wore them to go out for breakfast? Remember that Christmas when you just never took them off? Well, that is kind of what wearing a romper feels like. Except rompers are lightweight, not as scratchy, and meant to be worn to parties or on beach outings.
If you Google rompers, you will find pages upon pages of ads and suggested online stores. That feature description like, “ultra-comfortable,” or “premium cotton,” or “breathable fabric,” or “Smart Fit.” These statements may all be true for the style in general. But not helpful descriptors in understanding just what a men's romper is. However, they do lend to a useful jumping off point from which to better understand the clothing style itself, and men’s clothing, collectively.
Well, with rompers, you get the best of both worlds. And with new, stylish designs found in stores and all over the web, men can have that comfy just-got-out-of-bed feeling all day long, and look stylish at the same time. That is the beauty of the men's romper. Or at least so the ads and infectious photo campaigns would have you believe.
Not everyone is buying into how happy those onesie-wearing bros seem to be. As Mark-Evan Blackman, assistant professor of menswear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, remarked in this L.A. Times article, “I think it’s outrageous. Who wants to see a grown man dressed like a toddler?”
Top Men’s Rompers Brands Include RompHim and Reebok
Nevertheless, the men’s romper has been all the rage on the internet as of late, and RompHim has taken up the reigns and led the charge into the battle with their cheeky all-in-one romper offerings in 2017. With the claim that men too should be able to have a diverse wardrobe and experience the freedom of a one-piece outfit, RompHim started playing around with the idea of a men's romper in 2016.
As the story goes, RompHim, then, started with a Kickstarter-crowdfunded campaign to raise a meager $10,000. Low and behold, due to enthusiastic support, their seeded money grew to be around 350,000 dollars by the time the dust had settled. When asked what the deal was with men’s rompers, Elaine Chen, one of RompHim’s founders, told GQ Magazine in 2017, “We think this is a way for guys to have a new option in their wardrobe.”
Whatever RompHim did seemed to be working, as the men's romper was so seeming popular that other designers were picking up the style. Companies like Zara, Sheenan & Co., NSF, KTZ, and even Reebok announced their version of men's rompers within the year.
Let’s have a look at some of the most outrageous selections in men's rompers. Some of you will wonder where the fanciful land of the model runway stops. And the clothing outlets begin, but that is just part of the adventure.
So What is the Real Deal with Men’s Rompers?
Men's rompers, believe it or not, do have their critics. And one article calls the style the “day-drinking uniform for people who hang out on rooftops and go to Coachella.” This was probably an intended jab not only at the romper itself but at its de-facto spokesmen. It is the notoriously flamboyant socialite and football star, Cam Newton, who was seen wearing a floral print romper at Coachella 2017.
Cam is as known as much for his antics off the field as he is for his on-the-field play as the QB of Carolina Panthers (NFL). And he has often been seen in such provocative attire as a top hat, gold cleats, a Santa suit, and a barbershop quartet hat.
RompHim admits on its website that it seeks to break down stereotypes. And we can imagine that that was, at least, in part of what Cam was doing at the festival. Further, the idea of a group of bros having fun together is, in and of itself, pretty innocent and even nostalgic. But, aside from rich football players, are there that many guys out there with the free time and the inclination to wear one?
As Terri Peters and her husband found out, the onesies are not that comfortable to be running errands. Like in so how many dudes without families, work obligation, and honey-do-lists have to time to throw on snazzy one-piece and head to the closest rooftop bar for brunch?
One comment questioned his manhood, while another imported about his sexual preference. Dismayed by the whole outing, Brandon reportedly returned home to escape the clothing and the negative vehemence that clung to it. He relayed that he threw the crumpled romper on the floor and has not since adorned it again.
If this account is true or even inflated from real events, it is more than a little disheartening. That a piece of clothing can bring on such disdain from onlookers. How can clothing be so polarizing? Well, Brandon actually points to the answer in his article. It seems he was moved to get a RompHim in the first place after watching Alex Jones’ “ridiculous” Youtube channel. (You may look up Jones’ channel on your own, but we won’t be featuring a link here.)
Men Wear Rompers For A Day
The following takes a brief look at the world of the men’s onesie:
- The first offering on the list boasts a stormtrooper-like zombie-apocalypse inspired jumper from the British label KTZ. In all black, with leather accents, the design features a number of different pulls and pockets. And with metal buttons and snaps. The outfit goes for a little over $1,000 on this retailers website. Though, sadly, the getup sold out shortly after it first appeared in 2017.
- Song for the Mute will appeal to men seeking ninja attire and leisure suit all-in-one. With its buttoned and collared design, the outfit features a material artist-like waist belt that you can tie. This jumpsuit meets at the place of fashion and performance and costs a little 800 dollars.
- Perfect for a pool party or safari hunt. This offering from Mr. Turk is beige-hued with “a light herringbone pattern.” We actually think we saw Higgins from Magnum P.I. wearing this in the 80’s. And the short onesie goes for just under $350 on the designer’s website.
- If it has been a dream of yours to own a pair of ski pants without the over-the-shoulder buckles, designer Rick Owens has got the rompers for you. You’ll pay just under $1200 for them. But what you will get is, well, ski pants without the over the shoulder buckles. This sleeveless jumpsuit comes with no sleeves. But the upshot is that you are sure to turn some heads with the full-length marshmallow-style pants.
Rompers: Not Made for Average American Fathers & Husbands
Many of the aforementioned styles are designed to be over-the-top on purpose, because rompers, in general, seem to have marketed to the most flamboyant and free-spirited men on the planet. It seems like guys wearing romper are always having fun, exploring the world, interacting with friends, drinking and laughing, or gleefully posing for the camera.
Where in reality do these fun-loving bros come from? Are they born in the woods to sprites and elves? Are they trust fund babies? Child prodigy millionaires? Who is RompHim marketing to? A crowd-funded 350,000 on Kickstarter has to come from somewhere, and the company claims to now ship globally so men somewhere are buying and wearing the style, right?
Despite the many questions about the brand, RompHim was established in 2016 by ACED Design. The company, by many accounts, was an overnight success, going global in just under a year. Their design, supposedly, appeals to men who want to experience the freedom of wearing cuffed 7-inch shorts, a cinched, adjustable waist, cuffed sleeves, and an adjustable half- collar. All RompHims are made of 98% cotton and 2% spandex for the perfect comfort level of stretchiness.
Admittedly, all of that romping marketing is infectious. And we will concede that the bros do look like they are having more fun than we can ever remember having, in our youths or otherwise. But would regular fathers and husbands actually wear RompHims?
Well, one suburban couple put the men’s onesie to the test. And in their experience, romping around in a RompHim isn’t maybe as provocative. Or, as comfortable as it is cracked up to be. In a story by NBC’s new arm, Today, contributor Terri Peters had her husband and father of two wear a “red chambray” romper around town. This is while carrying out daily errands around their FL home.
As the family departed, Andrew, the husband, wore a classic pink romper with boat shoes. As the family followed, Terri couldn’t stop giggling. First, they hit the park, then the grocery store, and finally the garden supply shop. In the end, other than a few heads turned and some double-takes, reactions were not outrageous. Halfway through the task list, though, it was reported that Andrew began complaining about the suit becoming hot and stuffy in the intense Florida sun.
Nothing a slurpy and a poolside beer wouldn’t fix. The trip was largely uneventful, aside from a guy in a pickup taking a photo of Andrew on the way home. Safely home-bound, Andrew wore the getup poolside for a while. But by the end of the experiment, neither of his children were a fan of the outfit. His daughter actually claimed it “looked ridiculous” on her father.
Men’s Romper: The Power of Polarizing Clothing
Even single dudes work. And, one single dude who lives in New York describes his day in a mens romper in an article on ManRepeller. Brandon Borror-Chappell tells a tale of both excitement and regret surrounding his purchase of a pair of mens rompers. After unboxing the purchase with feverish excitement, he proudly adorns the outfit. And proceeded with confidence to his local diner for a few drinks and a bite.
Seated by a respectful and polite waitress who compliments his attire (Brandon wonders if it is sarcastic), he is soon met by murmurs, timid glances, and semi-private conversations about his new jumpsuit. The gasps soon turn negative. And the aggressive, almost frightful commentary picks up again when he finds himself at a local vineyard for a wine tasting.
How To Style A Men's Romper And Make It Work
Men’s Romper Wrap Up: Fashion or Fad?
Jones’ channel though did, in fact, influence the popularity of the mens romper in Brandon’s case. And maybe, that too is part of the appeal. Perhaps, in a strange way, the mens romper is a protest against the rigid myopathy of seeing the world and the people in it in only one way. Perhaps the mens romper represents freedom in more ways than one.
The ridiculousness of a men's romper for us, though, is not about it being different and new, but it is about its flamboyant marketing. Those happy dudes should get to wear what makes them happy. The ridiculousness is in the price. And, when you can get a decent pair of comfortable, all-purpose jeans online for between $20-50 (and a tee for $15), how does it make any sense to buy clothing with less material for more money like $100 – 1000?
Featured Images used in this post is via Amazon