Fashion

Editor's Letter: We've Got You Covered

There's fashion for dreaming and fashion for doing: Miranda Purves on the joy of jumpsuits and the modern work wardrobe

 Just Add Shoes: The coverall’s streamlined appeal

Photograph by Daniel Harrison (Acne)

From left: My Acne Original, Circa 2006. Topshop Unique Acetate/Viscose, $395, Hudson’s Bay. A.P.C. Linen, $400, apc.fr; Photograph by Daniel Harrison (Acne)

I was recently discussing the joy of jumpsuits with FLARE‘s entertainment editor Briony Smith, the brillant and fun mind behind this month’s Unpredictable Men special. She reminded me of the cold-shouldered bathroom-exposure glitch we have to deal with when we wear an otherwise highly functional multi-purpose one-piecer.

This small detail struck me as symbolic of the very essence of the difference between the sexes. Just as, in most ways, our adaptation of men’s clothes offers us great freedom, but sometimes it’s handy to be wearing a skirt, the corporate work structureput in place before the fairer sex had a sayoften works well for us, but when it doesn’t it’s really inconvenient. And those times usually have something to do with our bodies. Women are regularly accused of over thinking, but maybe it’s because nothing is simple for us, not even a jumpsuit, so, as a result, our brains have evolved to be more complex.

As we were gathering the fall runway trends (about which I am crazy) for our biannual report, I snatched up jumpsuits (in for day and evening) and called dibs on them for this page. Below, on the left, is an Acne denim suit I bought (on sale) when my seven-year old was one, in 2006. It made me feel playful, and I wore it often, until, three-and-a-half years later, I got pregnant with my second child, when I wore it almost every day simply because it fit, and even after the birth because I could breastfeed in it. After that I put it away because I was so sick of it I couldn’t bear to see it in the closet. It seemed to carry in its very soft fibres the wearing-down of my flesh and spirit, the mornings when all I could do was drag it up over my aching shoulders and schtumpfle to the office.

But, much to my surprise, I suddenly can’t wait to wear it again, and perhaps even get one of this season’s similar but less Oompa Loompa–shaped takes (although its bagginess is deceptively flattering). The magic of the jumpsuit is that just one piece of clothing that covers you top to toe invokes so much: work, play, comfort, sexiness, efficiency, fancy, ’70s Studio 54, ’40s factory lady, boy, girl, man, woman.

It’s the best kind of complicated, just like our lives. This issue of FLARE is a jumpsuit of an issue: pretty, cool and easy, but with lots of meaning.

Carol Toller, in “After Cancer?”, takes off where Angelina Jolie’s brave but too tidy New York Times op-ed left off; Maureen Halushak illuminates Elaine Lui’s a.k.a. Lainey Gossip’s, desultory path to gossip-blog, and soon, we hope, television, fame. The idea of the complicated plot even crops up in associate editor Caitlin Kenny’s fall catwalk beauty overview; makeup artists started story and depth. We also showcase the finalists of Toronto Fashion Incubator’s New labels competition.

It was my first year as a judge, and no amount of Project Runway watching prepared me for the affection and admiration I would end up feeling for the candidates.

A woman has so many plot twists in her wardrobe and her days. We like to celebrate the work it takes to follow them, the interesting work.