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Everything You Wanted To Know About Bodysuits – But Were Too Afraid To Ask!

Yara Black Bodysuit from Ulla Dessous

We are often asked a lot of questions about our lines of bodysuits, particularly now that the style has been thrown back into the limelight. But for years, bodysuits and shapewear was a topic women were often ashamed to ask about, instead being forced to fumble through the process alone. But no more! This month we wanted to bring you the answers to some of the most common questions about bodysuits, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for.

What Is A Bodysuit?

A bodysuit is the more fashion conscious cousin of the leotard and has exploded back onto the scene thanks to the likes of Kim Kardashian rocking the bodysuit look all summer. They are a single piece of control clothing that traditionally goes from your shoulders to your crotch – though more detailed and elaborate ones have been designed. Unlike a leotard, a bodysuit has a snap clasp at the crotch, so instead of having to pull down the whole thing when you go to the bathroom you just need to unsnap the clasp. They are often very form fitting and create smoother curves and a defined silhouette for the wearer, making them very popular for the fashion industry. This also makes them quite tight, which can be off putting for some people.

Who Invented These Things?

leotardWe don’t really know, since the bodysuit as an item of clothing is a progression from the traditional leotard used in dance. It wasn’t seen as a fashion choice until 1950 when fashion designer Claire McCardell started using them as an alternative to blouse or T-shirt. The first outfit recognised as a ‘bodysuit’ as we know it today was worn by Bettie Page in the mid 1950’s, and quickly became the trademark attire of well dressed, chic women and playboy bunnies. Even Wonder Woman sported one!

It Sounds Really Complicated, Why Do I Need One?

It might sound complicated, but there are so many advantages to wearing one that you will quickly forget all about them. The bodysuit has a massive advantage over simple blouses or tops because they give very sharp lines and can’t come untucked – perfect for low riding jeans and avoiding the dreaded ‘builders bum’. Because of the materials bodysuits are made of (usually spandex or Lycra) they offer some control, hugging and smoothing out the figure. While those with a sculpted stomach like to wear them as a top in their own right, bodysuits are also a popular choice with plus sized ladies, as they offer sculpting, slimming and control underneath their ordinary clothes.

So How Do I Pick The Right Size?

It’s a bit of an urban myth that if you want more control from your clothes you should pick a size down from what you normally wear. However, bodysuits are, by their nature, controlling, so you don’t need to do this. If you do pick a size smaller than your normal size you won’t get any extra control, you will just get painful digging in and ugly bulges! Just select your normal size.  If you think you are in between sizes we recommend picking the larger one, otherwise you might end up with the aforementioned bulges, which are kind of against the idea of the product!

What About A Bodystocking – What’s That?

A bodystocking crosses that almost invisible line between underwear and lingerie. Bodystockings (also known as catsuits or unitards) cover your body from the neck to the toes, including sleeves and legs. These come in a variety of sleeve and leg lengths, and the more robust are a popular option for sports and yoga. However, the ‘lightweight’ variety (like this one) are often made of sheer materials or lace, designed to look good in the bedroom rather than give any shaping or support.

How Do I Wash My Bodysuit?

Each bodysuit will vary in its care instructions depending on the detail and the fabric. More delicate materials like lace or sheer stocking-like fabric will need to be hand washed, while other, sturdier ones will be perfectly fine in with the regular washing. Some might say ‘tumble dry’ on the label, but we only recommend around 5 minutes in a cool dryer just to shake out the wrinkles before line drying.

For a long time the bodysuit was the underwear of the super thin – a way to show off their perfectly sculpted physique. Now modern bodysuits and shapewear have been designed to give every woman who wears them the confidence to wear anything, no matter what their size. If you’re considering buying your first bodysuit or just want to have a look at what’s available, take a look at our collection here.