Shout out to shapewear brand Popilush, the sponsor of this guide on how to style a bodysuit. Popilush bodysuits are featured below to demonstrate these styling strategies. Please also see the full line of shapewear, leggings, and more at Popilush.com. All opinions are my own.
I’ll start with the number one rule for how to style a bodysuit: Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Wearing a bodysuit is like having a fun fashion secret all to yourself. You know your top is practically underwear and onlookers might guess the same — but they don’t know for sure — and you really don‘t want them to spoil your fun secret by asking. So, channel your inner off-duty model: be aloof and get comfortable with admiring silent glances.
Beyond having the right attitude, there are seven outfit guidelines that can help you perfect your bodysuit style. Read on to find out what they are, along with answers to your most pressing questions about wearing bodysuits (yes, including how you pee).
How to style a bodysuit: 6 tips for success
1. Have a foundation strategy
You don’t need to wear underwear with a bodysuit — but you can if you want. Try on your bodysuit with and without panties and a bra. Let your comfort be the guide. Chances are, you’ll want to skip the extra pieces, for comfort and convenience.
If you want to add in your own foundation pieces, choose seamless styles or thongs. These will minimize extra lines and keep the bodysuit’s sleek look in tact.
If you go without an extra bra, make sure the suit fits you properly. You don’t want to risk a nip slip.
2. Go high-waisted
High-waisted bottoms are usually the best choice for bodysuits. With a high-waist, you avoid looking like a Destiny’s Child member from the ’90s. You minimize the heavy exposure of your hips and obliques.
3. Strive for balance
The most common bodysuit silhouette is tight and revealing. Look to balance that out with your bottom garment. Here are six pant styles that can achieve that balance with a bodysuit:
- Palazzo pants
- Slightly tapered cargo pants
- Boyfriend jeans
- Mom jeans
- Wide-legged denim
- Pleated, straight-leg trousers
The thought process is the same when styling a bodysuit with a skirt. Try these skirt styles:
- Floaty maxi skirt
- A-line skirt — mini, midi, or maxi
- Structured midi
You can also style a bodysuit with shorts, using the same strategy. Skip the tight Bermuda shorts and instead opt for:
- Paper bag waist shorts
- Pleated shorts
- Rolled, relaxed fit denim shorts
Use layers with your bodysuit to achieve balance or add formality. Let’s say you decide to wear a bodysuit with leggings. That combo needs balance, because it’s tight all over. You could soften things up, without losing the sex appeal, in a few ways. Here are some ideas:
- Add a bomber jacket over the top. This outfit is still very sexy, but hopefully not X-rated.
- Wear a lightweight or even sheer button-down over the bodysuit. Tie it at the waist to show off your shape, or leave it loose for more coverage.
- Try a V-neck tunic or long cardigan over your bodysuit-leggings combination.
If you need to style up a bodysuit for less casual occasions, choose an outer layer with structure. A blazer works nicely. Or, if you’re wearing high-waisted bottoms, try a crop, moto-style jacket.
5. Accessorize your bodysuit
Many bodysuits are a solid color, often black. Use that neutral backdrop to showcase your favorite accessories. Necklaces, scarves, and belts look amazing with bodysuits.
6. Go with a chunky shoe
Opt for a chunkier shoe to anchor your bodysuit outfit, such as:
- Ankle boots
- Lug boots
- Dad sneakers
Skip the flat sandals and flipflops. You can wear heels, even strappy ones — but these look better with a wide-legged pant or skirt. With tighter pants and a bodysuit, stilettos can have a cat-woman vibe.
7. Test your ensemble
You can learn how to style a bodysuit, but wearing one is a different challenge. Before you head outside, put your outfit through a stress test. Sit down, stand out, walk around. And yes, use the bathroom. You want to feel confident all your parts remain in place with no wardrobe malfunctions.
11 questions you didn’t want to ask about bodysuits
Aspiring fashionistas have lots of bodysuit questions — not only about how to style bodysuits, but there are also questions covering more practical matters. Here are the answers you need.
1. Do you wear anything under a bodysuit?
You can wear panties and a bra under a bodysuit if you want, but you don’t have to. You’ll want to assess the comfort and coverage of your bodysuit to decide. If you feel more comfortable combining foundation garments with your bodysuit, look for seamless options or thongs to avoid extra lines. On your top half, if the bodysuit doesn’t have lining or bra cups, try a stick-on bra or pasties for extra coverage.
2. How are you supposed to wear a bodysuit?
There are so many ways to wear a bodysuit. If you’re just starting to experiment with bodysuits, combine one with joggers for a killer athleisure look. Or, wear distressed boyfriend jeans and ankle boots with your bodysuit for an edgy, tough-girl vibe.
3. How do you wear a bodysuit if you have a belly?
If you have a belly, spend extra time trying on bodysuits to find one that fits you comfortably. That’s your top priority. Then, pair your bodysuit with jeans — that combo will show off your curves. If you’d rather go with a camouflaging effect, match a bodysuit with a high-waisted, drapey skirt. Add a crop jacket on top in a bold color.
4. Are bodysuits supposed to be tight?
Yes, bodysuits are supposed to be tight. The exception is the surplice-style bodysuit, which has draping in the front. Even with that style, though, the fit from your shoulder to your crotch should be snug.
5. Do you wear a thong with a bodysuit?
You can but you don’t have to. Try it with and without and see where you feel more comfortable.
6. Do you wear stockings over or under a bodysuit?
Put your stockings on first, then the bodysuit. Wearing stockings under the bodysuit keeps them from slipping down unexpectedly.
7. Can I swim in a bodysuit?
No, don’t swim in your bodysuit. It’s not made for that. But here’s a fashionista tip: Why not wear a one-piece bathing suit as a bodysuit? Then you could remove your outer layers and dive right into the pool.
8. Can you wear shorts with a bodysuit?
Yes, you absolutely can wear shorts with a bodysuit. Look for shorts with pleats or a paper bag waist.
9. Can I wear a bodysuit to work?
Yes, you can wear a bodysuit to work. Look for a bodysuit with a higher neckline and wear it underneath your power suit or a buttoned blazer or belted cardigan. No one will know.
10. How to use the bathroom when wearing a bodysuit?
Bodysuits have snap closures at the crotch. When nature calls, pull down your bottoms, even if it’s a skirt. Then, unsnap your bodysuit. Pull down any foundation garments you’re wearing. Make sure none of your clothes are in danger of falling in the toilet and then have a seat. You shouldn’t have to hold the flaps of your bodysuit, but double check. You don’t want to pee on your clothes.
When you’re done, stand up, and reverse the process. Pull up foundations, snap your suit, pull up your bottoms.
11. Can I wear a bodysuit with a dress?
You can, but going to the bathroom will be challenging. You either have to take the dress off or hold it up while you go. Holding it up is a lot to manage while you’re going.
And that’s it, the full download on how to style a bodysuit. If you need more inspo, see our post on bodysuit outfits here.