Romper Madness! The History of Adult and Baby Rompers


What is a romper, you ask? I’m happy to explain. After all, I certainly can’t get the vision of my mother wearing one out of my mind. It was Christmas morning and it’s not the beautifully wrapped presents I can picture. My mother was dressed in a footed, one piece, fuzzy red romper (complete with a backdoor). I kid you not.  I too am guilty of wearing a romper or two in my past as a child. I’ve also looked through old pictures of my husband as a child and guess who also was always in rompers? His mother, his brother, and himself!

As a parent, I’ve put my own son in one. I’ve also noticed they have been making a major comeback for adults-and, not the footed ones! While I question why we are dressing up like babies, after purchasing a short romper set, I was surprising pleased and totally understand why. Read on to learn about the history of this unique article of clothing.

How Did Rompers Come About?

Winston Churchill invented the onesie when he wasn’t busy being one of the greatest war leaders ever (and also winning a Nobel Prize). In fact, some of his favorite rompers are behind glass at museums for your viewing pleasure. This man was certainly on to something.

While he was the main creator of them, the popularity of rompers exploded back in the Victorian Era. In the early 1900s, children needed more loose fitting, less formal clothing. Rompers were roomy, airy, and light. Many snapped shut and some were zippered.

Depending on where you lived, depending on if you would wear a romper. For example, some countries in Europe, like France, only allowed boys to wear them at first. However, with anything, change happened and rompers soon became acceptable for all children to wear. Some bathing suits were even modeled after them!

In fact, rompers stepped up their game and became fancy. Kids wore elegant versions of this playwear as they posed for portraits solo or with their family. Today, rompers are made in all sorts of materials and fabrics. They can be worn to be, for play, and for pleasure.

How Are Babies Wearing Them Today?

Much like the past, there are still casual and dressy versions of rompers for babies. Parents often put their baby in a romper (footed and not footed) so that their baby remained not just comfortable but cozy. Rompers are easy to snap on and off and allow for easy access to diapers-especially overnight.

I personally couldn’t survive without a onesie for my son. From the moment he left the hospital, he donned one. He wore one underneath his clothing up until his potty training days. He wore them during winter months for play clothes, and even as pajamas. Heck, he wore overalls, which in my opinion, is a modified form of a romper; up until last year (and he’s 4!). Check out Bitsy Bug Boutique it’s a fun place to see examples of baby rompers – 

How Did They Come About For Adults?

Rompers became ultra-popular for adults to wear-especially women, in the ’70s. During the Disco Era, women would roller skate and rock out in a short romper style that boasted a tube top neckline. Some aerobic fanatics would even work out in them. They were mainly made from textured materials, such as terry cloth, which gave them a comfortable look, feel, and fit.

Later on, the romper emerged to full-length pants, which were made out of polyester or silk for evening wear. Many featured cinched waists, deep v-cuts, and even bell bottom hemlines.

Women weren’t the only one working it in these one-piece beauties-men stepped into them as well (I mean, have you seen Elvis?). With shiny golden chains and high heeled clogs, men in rompers were all the rage.

Rompers for Adults Today

Today, rompers for female adults are viewed as sexy, sophisticated, and sleek. They have been shaped and sculpted, embellished with bows, belts, and sparkly designs. Some brides even opt to wear a dressy white romper rather than a formal gown. They are fun to wear around the house in hot summer months and are even appropriate to wear to work.

 While they can be a pain when you need to use the bathroom (unzip me, please!), they look very flattering and classy!

Who knew that this infamous clothing article had such a history? The next time you slip one on (or put one on your child for that matter), think back to its unique history and appreciate this solidary set!



About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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sophie|baby teether
4 years ago

Great post.. thanks for sharing the informative post.. really good to know about the rompers history…My little one looks absolutely adorable in rompers 🙂