Flashback Fashion — How to Wear a Unitard

Three unitard outfits

Revisiting how to wear a unitard? Why on earth would we do that? After all, it’s been 10 years since women went crazy for a cotton spandex jersey unitard for $38 at American Apparel. And five years since J Lo rocked a glittery unitard for New Year’s Eve. Can we not close the door on the unforgiving bodysuit that only very tall and thin women can wear?

Well, yes and no. Yes, because there are few women who can effectively pull off the unitard-as-outfit. But no, because the unitard can be a very comfortable, functional, and even stylish layering piece in cold weather. And since winter’s just around the bend, it’s the perfect time to lay out the dos and don’ts of styling unitards.

How to Wear a Unitard

Do wear a unitard as a base layer for warmth. A unitard is nearly undetectable beneath a maxi dress or wide-legged pants — making it a nice way to warm up without bulk. If warmth is your end-game, choose a breathable cotton unitard in nude or black.

Do wear a unitard as a base layer for style. When warmth takes a backseat to style, pair your cute unitard with a flowy kimono or a high-waisted denim skirt. The key (to avoiding the trashy look) is to select companion pieces that are loose and fall away from the body.

Do wear a unitard to sample sales, or the thrift store. A body-hugging garment is an advantage when you need to try on clothes and there’s no fitting room nearby. Random designer jean find at Costco? If you’re wearing a unitard, you can throw off your top layer and try those jeans on right over your base layer — no fitting room, no problem. That’s guerrilla shopping for sure.

Don’t wear a unitard to any long events, including road trips. A body-hugging garment is a disadvantage when you have to use the bathroom. And it’s downright miserable when the only option is a  public bathroom.

Don’t wear a cotton spandex unitard by itself unless you’re going to dance class. A high-style unitard might possibly be a stand-alone outfit, if you have a rockin’ body. But a plain old cotton unitard? Just say no.

Don’t wear a unitard to have tea with your devout Catholic mother-in-law. The unitard is a racy, sexy garment — an inappropriate choice for traditional occasions and traditional company.

Are you inspired to try a unitard, or deadset against it? Let us know!

Catherine Brock

Owner and Editor at The Budget Fashionista
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Catherine Brock