Alyson Walsh;;
Photo: Dvora @Fashionistable

Winston Churchill had a pinstriped jumpsuit, who knew? During the Second World war, for comfort and practicality, the prime minister had several bespoke boiler suits made, including a bottle green velvet number, by Turnbull & Asser. Nice one, Winnie. I learned all about Siren Suits at the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at the Imperial War Museum (until 31 August 2015). The wartime onesie was slipped on over clothes or nightwear when the air raid siren sounded and Londoners headed towards their nearest shelter. Now. In no way am I comparing my recent family trip, to the Second World War, but with no time to pack beforehand and mum in our bedroom, I had restricted access to my wardrobe. What to wear to travel in was quickly determined when I slipped into the second of my essential jumpsuits. Job done. Bought for summer, this chambray jumpsuit is from H&M’s Conscious collection. Though, I had to alter the waist slightly, it was shapeless and saggy around the crotch and so I stitched elastic into the back to hoick things up a bit.

Equipment jumpsuit 6_fr_xl

This silk polka dot version from Equipment is the Winston Churchill of contemporary jumpsuits (available HERE and also in plain black silk HERE), worn with Gucci loafers for the full-on prime ministerial effect. I’m totally smitten by the idea of a gorgeous silk jumpsuit and expensive loafers, it’d be like going out in posh pyjamas and slippers. Net-a-Porter taste on an H&M budget, that’s me. At £75, the Walsham jumpsuit from Finery London is a more realstic, Fashion on the Ration alternative (available HERE).

Finery London

See also the navy belted boiler suit from Autograph, £69, available HERE.

autograph jumpsuit_4518_F0_X_EC_0

Knowing what to wear on your feet can be a bit tricky with a jumpsuit. Gucci loafers are on my wish list but until then, flat and low-heeled sandals, trainers and ankle boots, all work well with a onesie. Churchill ‘considered the siren suit adaptable for any occasion, casual or smart…from meeting Dwight Eisenhower or Stalin, to relaxing at the easel.’ I’d add braving budget airlines to that list, too…

TRAVEL UPDATE: after several comments I would like to add that I recommend jumpsuits for short-haul flights (with strategic before-and-after loo visits) and train journeys, only. Long-haul is another matter.

27 thoughts on “The essential jumpsuit: perfect for travel

  1. You have inspired me to keep looking. I bought one the other day – olive green, quite tough cotton – and the 14yo asked why I was wearing a onesie! I liked it but felt very self-conscious and it has gone back to the store. I think perhaps it was too heavy material and I looked like I might actually be turning up to fix the car. Softer material might be the way to go…. The hunt for the perfect jumpsuit goes on…. *cue that dramatic music from The Apprentice….*

  2. I bought a proper Industrial Onesie, Kate – which I do actually wear (when the weather’s not too hot) but I wear the lighter weight chambray jumpsuit more often and am now looking for something in khaki. Getting dressed is so easy…

  3. I quite liked the idea of wearing a jumpsuit for travel – until I tried it. Going to the loo was more of a challenge than I’d anticipated, since it involved stripping to the waist and beyond! Also, there’s a distinct danger of the excess fabric you’ve divested ‘getting in the way’ of your (ahem) activity, falling in the loo or trailing across the less-than-pristine seat and floor. Don’t get me wrong: I love a jumpsuit (in my case, from Baukjen) but on a 12-hour long-haul flight? Never again!

  4. I too thought a jumpsuit would be perfect for travel (when they were last in fashion, in the 1980s): my then 8-year-old daughter and I had matching jumpsuits. Long car journey down through France. Loo problem compounded by “à la turque” hole-in-the-ground motorway facilities… you don’t want to know…

  5. I second the airplane loo problem. That logistic aside, I do like my Rag & Bone jumpsuit. Tempted to get an old flight suit.

  6. Jess/Elizabeth Anne/ Kat – thanks for your comments & I have to admit I’ve only worn mine for a short-haul (2-hour flight), where I went to the loo beforehand, and then a three-hour train journey. It was fine in the train loo but they tend to be a bit bigger than airplane facilities. I’m going to add a travel update to this post.

    Elizabeth Anne: hole-in-the-ground + all-in-one = hole-in-one

  7. Very nice selection here AW and you look especially smart in that denim but you may recall GSL is a Hopeless Semantic and highly disapprove of the term ‘Jumpsuit’ when applied to Winston Churchill. Since he was 1/2 American (his better half), I’ll not yield an inch to you Brits. As former First Lord of the Admiralty and Wartime Prime Minister in a country under aerial bombardment, he likely had occasion to hastily move about via military air transport where these garments are the norm. They are called FLIGHT SUITS not ‘Jumpsuits’ or ‘Onesys’.

  8. I understand “boiler suit” (as may have been worn by workers who stoked the boilers), but would “siren suit” be for what you threw on when the sirens sounded? I’ve seen pictures of Winnie in his, and he certainly didn’t look like he could lure anyone onto the rocks… PS I will wear my new black jersey jumpsuit on—yes— a long haul flight and face the consequences. I only hope the knees don’t bag out.

  9. Alyson, that is a really lovely photo of you taken by @Fashionistable. You choose and wear your clothes so well, and IMO consistently stay current and cool whilst avoiding the dreaded triumvirate of Mutton/Lamb, Frumpy Fifties and Crazy Character. There are an awful lot of over-50 bloggers now touting themselves as not frumpy but who are frumpy as hell. From that “Cool over 50” blog list you were on a little while back, I think you were the only one who actually qualifies. “Effortless” is a LOT harder to pull off than it looks. You’re a good role model for getting it right (but I still wouldn’t wear a jumpsuit in a public toilet) 🙂

    PS> Definitely NOT thanking you for the mental image of tubby Mr Churchill in a velvet jumpsuit haha

  10. I love the idea of jumpsuits more than the reality of jumpsuits — I had many bad experiences with them in the heyday of my youth, usually involving wet floors in bar bathrooms, airplane toilets, train toilets . . . I sense a theme. And a funny story (from my viewpoint) told by my sister. Her husband was in Junior Hockey on the Canadian prairies & she & the other wives & players all went off on the team bus to a big playoff game in a neighbouring town. She made herself a gorgeous velvet velour jumpsuit for the occasion. On the bus ride home, everyone was celebrating a win with much beer when the inevitable happened: everyone had to pee. They all piled off the bus, men to one side, women to the other. It’s -30 on a Canadian winter’s night & my sister has to peel down to her skin . . . she swears she got frostbite in places that should never encounter frost in any form. These days, I still like the look but my bladder’s way too impatient to be fooling around with them.

  11. You look terrifc! I’m not a jumpsuit fan for traveling because of the “loo” issue you acknowledged. I’m also too long waisted and short legged to not look stumpy in them. I admire them on others, but know my body issues well. I love the look, but not for me.

  12. It does not matter to me if I am in an airplane loo, a restaurant ladies room. or the powder room in a private residence. If i am not in my own home, I do not want to have to strip down completely to use the facilities. I tried jumpsuits as a teenager, and did not like the fuss then. Probably would not like it any better now.

  13. I’m with Jennifer. Not a jumpsuit person … or boiler suit… or onesie… or even flight suit. (Loved GSL’s comment, though.) My very short waist and long legs… makes for a baggy crotch and “high water” pant legs. One size does NOT fit all, I guess.

    1. Sue, I’m the opposite – long torso and short legs, and I haven’t been able to find a jumpsuit to fit me since 1983.

  14. You look so great in this Alyson! I would love a denim one for fall. I agree with the others, I couldn’t do it for travel with the bathroom issues, but it’s fun and looks fresh ! Kim

  15. To look effortless one must first of all put in the effort, you look great – effortless! My jumpsuit (worn at a festival) will not see light of day at an event with a portaloo (again!)

  16. I couldn’t agree more with your choice of travel attire Alyson. I bought my chambray denim jumpsuit from Mango last year for a short trip to Paris, just realised I am wearing it in my profile pick whilst waiting for the metro, and what I thought was a one hit wonder has served me very well indeed over the last 12 months!I also have a black one and a couple of pairs of linen and black denim dungarees and at 51 years of age, am always delighted when younger people ask me where I got them from 🙂

  17. I love fashion…
    but rarely have I seen an outfit less flattering than a whole in one, jumpsuit or onesie, especially viewed from the back…
    It does nothing for the figure, whether one is slim or rounded, it should be kept exclusively for garage mechanics or similar professions, where they can look quite fetching on the right man.
    I hope that by saying this I have not upset anyone, it is only an opinion after all…

  18. A friend went on a road trip wearing a jumpsuit and it was a nightmare. Many of the restrooms along the way were rustic, some had water (?) on the floor, and the jumpsuit was very difficult to manage under those conditions.

  19. I usually LOVE what you’re wearing but this blue denim jumpsuit is looking a bit too institutional for me. Like a prison uniform! Really! Sorry…I guess I prefer a more ‘dressed’ jumpsuit look – the grey with the belt is nice but the polka dot with the masculine loafers – no way. Very manly and only would look good on a super model if that.

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