2010: summer of the romper, women dressing like big babies

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Child's Romper

It’s summertime, people. That means heat, sweat and no pants. In fact, why divide one’s bottoms from one’s tops at all? Do you hear? It is hot outside. Thankfully, New York (and other cities where heat and crowds happen) is at full romper capacity. Remember when rompers looked like this? Now they look like this. I realize that might still look dumb to you.

So what’s with the recent upswing of child-inspired play clothes? Is it for comfort, versatility, discomfiting Lolita-dom? And then there’s the most salient question of them all. Jessica Grose from Slate weighs in on the romper:

Rompers are the latest in a long line of infantilizing sartorial choices, along with ruffle-overloaded baby doll dresses and vintage T-shirts with cartoons on them. Nobody, it seems, wants to grow up anymore. People in their 20s are experiencing an extended adolescence.

I’m not sure I agree that the romper is style proof that our generation is one enormous and stubborn baby, but Gross is right about the infantilization of grown women in fashion. It’s been that way for decades, though. Think Twiggy and her style choices. (Though, she was an actual child when she started modeling.) This age appropriate vs. not age appropriate debate rarely extends into men’s fashion – maybe because no one wants to date a man with a cartoon on his shirt. (Sorry, men with cartoons on their shirt.) So why is it fine with women?