Boilersuits started creeping into my fashion consciousness last season. Who can forget Ganni’s super dreamy bubblegum pink version, which absolutely everyone was wearing?! The 2018 boilersuits were total 1960s-inspired pretty pastel perfection. Despite the cool lilac and sunshine yellow iterations I spied, I honestly tried to ignore the trend. Pretty colours aside, they’re just a little too functional and boxy for me. But, six months on, fashion’s appetite for them hasn’t abated so I decided to challenge myself and share how to style a boilersuit.
When it comes to iconic fashion pieces or trends, I’m a huge advocate of understanding their origins before I put my spin on them. Be at one with the boilersuits…! They are truly utilitarian in their roots, originally a functional working garment from the industrial revolution worn to protect worker’s clothes from dirt, oil grime and other hazards. They rose to prominence during the Second World War when women began to work in factories, famously immortalised by the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter.
During the 70s, the boilersuit returned as the fashion item du jour for both men and women. All practical, utilitarian elements went out of the window in favour of form-fitting, sparkling, disco-friendly creations. During the 80s and 90s, boilersuits briefly flitted in out of style but now they are back with a bang, with everyone from Hermes to Celine sending their own covetable iterations down the runway.
Whatever your vibe, you can find your boilersuit tribe – bright, vibrant shades at Hermes, luxe parachute silk at Alberta Ferretti, functional in a muted colour palette at Stella and even a stunning cream eveningwear look at Giambattista Valli.
In theory, I see the appeal. I’m a fan of streetwear brands like Alyx and Heron Preston who incorporate functional, workwear-inspired pieces like chest rigs and tape belts. Luxury brands have also adopted the new utilitarian mood with chunky trainers and belt bags making regular runway fixtures for the last couple of seasons.
While I like incorporating a nod to the trend here and there, super functional pieces really aren’t my style. When it comes to boiler suits, quite frankly they conjure up images of the Ghostbusters. But I like setting myself a sartorial challenge so I wanted to lean into the trend and put my spin on it and share my tips on how to style a boilersuit.
When it comes to the silhouette, either go for a slightly oversized fit for a ‘borrowed from the boyfriend’ look or opt for a sleeker fit. I really love an oversized fit and playing with proportions at the moment but I opted for a jumpsuit with a really cinched waist for this look. An oversized boilersuit would look equally good with heels and rolled up cuffs.
There are so, so many boilersuits available in rainbow shades at the moment, even the girliest girl will find a pretty version to style up. I loved Ganni’s bold pink boilersuit but I chose a cool khaki colour as a nod to the piece’s industrial roots.
I’ve been known to be a little…extra… at times so I decided to contrast the functional feel of my boilersuit with slightly more flamboyant accessories. I wanted to inject a little colour through my accessories and I also had a little fun with textures too. Very into the juxtaposition of function with a rhinestone bralet and faux fur clutch.