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How do I wear a catsuit like a fashion person?

Every now and then we are faced with tricky fashion questions that make us want to call a friend. Consider our column Ask an Expert That Friend, and turn to the experts — designers, stylists and other fashion professionals — to discuss your sartorial thoughts, comments, and concerns.

The writing has been on the wall for a while, but it seems the time has come: Catsuits are going mainstream.

“I love catsuits in general — I like a long glove, I like a long turtleneck, I like when a catsuit covers the entire foot,” says Jared Eng. “I feel like it’s very editorial and I like doing more editorial looks on the red carpet.”

Joey King, styled by Jared Eng in an Et Ochs Catsuit.

Indeed, there have been plenty of examples of that lately, from Kim Kardashian in literal head-to-toe Balenciaga at the Met Gala (not to mention Simone Biles, Maisie Williams, Olivia Rodrigo, Nia Dennis and Ella Emhoff wearing the same carpet in their own high-fashion rompers) to Priyanka Chopra Jonas in full Richard Quinn at the Fashion Awards to Dua Lipa during her “Future Nostalgia” tour. Celebrities wear catsuits in their spare time, too: In the past year alone, we’ve seen Lizzo, Beyoncé, Cardi B and Julia Fox in the form-fitting garment, as well as plenty of sartorialists on Instagram and during fashion week.

Catsuits were already gaining momentum on the runway and in street style, thanks in large part to brands in the fashion-month schedule – from Mugler to Laquan Smith, Marine Serre to Richard Quinn, Saint Laurent Collina Strada, Balenciaga to KNWLS – proposing their collection after collection. (They’ve even been a source of controversy, as was the case with Serena Williams’ Nike catsuit from the 2018 French Open.)

It seems that in 2022 the general public will get the message. As Tiffany Hsu, Vice President Womenswear & Kidswear Buying at Mytheresa (aka @handinfire on Instagram), puts it, “The key this season is bodycon.”

A showgoer in a Prada catsuit during Milan Fashion Week.

A showgoer in a Prada catsuit during Milan Fashion Week.

Catsuits are the perfect balance between [having] cover but still sexy. You have your whole covered and still ‘current skin,’ because you’re showing all your curves,” says Eng. However, he admits they can also be a challenge depending on what your comfort level is with wearing something intended. is to be skin-tight.

“You have to figure out what you’re trying to balance when you’re wearing a catsuit,” he says. “On the clients I’ve styled, it’s not just any catsuit — it’s usually a catsuit with a voluminous skirt or trench coat or a puffy cardigan.”

Further on, Hsu and Eng explain the four main rules that the catsuit-curious must follow in order to master the garment.

Play with proportions

Paris str S22 443

For starters, it helps to go straight to the source. Hsu suggests heading to the runway for inspiration, specifically Saint Laurent Spring 2022.

“I like how” [the brand] styled the catsuit with strong shoulder jackets. I think it makes it a little less obvious, but still keeps the figure-hugging silhouette on the hips and legs,” she says. “Wearing a belt is also a great way to break it up, especially if you’re not feeling your best. feels like that. comfortable with a full bodycon look.”

Outerwear may be key in this equation. Hsu recommends adding a trench coat for the daytime; if you have a knitted catsuit, try it “with a big puffer or a thick wool coat paired with chunky boots”. Eng agrees with these suggestions, noting that the goal should be to create shape: “You can pair it with a wool trench that fits snug at the waist and flares out, or add a cropped puffer or cardigan for volume at the top.” .”

Low, low, low

Milano Street S22 493

Eng has styled a range of clients in different catsuits and always uses it as a sort of base layer to build an outfit from.

“For example, with Soko we made a Marine Serre black and red catsuit with a huge, voluminous Cinq à Sept dress,” he says. “It didn’t completely cover the catsuit, but you could see the entire sleeve and it gives a completely different look to layering.”

Similarly, Eng dressed Chelsea Lopez in sheer mesh slits under a mini dress, all from Shuting Qiu, creating the look of a floral print catsuit that really brought out the lime green top layer.

Remember the print

Lizzo in Richard Quinn.

Lizzo in Richard Quinn.

Many of the most striking examples of catsuits we’ve seen on the runway and from the big designer houses – from Prada and Valentino to Richard Quinn and KNWLS – carry graphic prints everywhere. Of course they make big statements. You can wear them solo (like Lizzo did) or you can wear them under a solid, turning them into a contrasting base layer.

When she wore one of Prada’s all-over print styles, Hsu decided to keep it simple and just add a chunky trench coat. “Since the catsuit is so graphic, I thought it would be good to split it up with a bit of classic,” she says, noting that she opted for platform boots to “elongate the body.”

Hsu isn’t against doubling the patterns, though: “I might also like to style another geographic pattern on top, like an oversized bomber or shirt. Pattern on pattern is one thing!”

“You could print on print on print, or you could print with a solid block color, the color-blocking with the catsuit,” says Eng. “There are so many more ways we can delve into catsuits in the future, whether it’s coloring the gloves or just the legs.”

Consider the material

“I like both lycra and knit catsuits,” says Hsu. “Lycra is more evening and is great with heels and big jewellery. The knitwear is perfect to wear from day to night, with boots or heels and a well-structured blazer or jacket.”

Eng is also particular about the manufacturing: “The catsuit material shouldn’t look like an ’80s training video,” he says. “with Joey [King’s] Richard Quinn look (above), the catsuit was made of velvet and had a bit of sheen, which worked well on the carpet. Quitting Qiu (below), it was a sheer mesh. Soko’s was a bit more of a Spandex, but almost like an expensive Spandex. I’d just make sure you have that eye, to make sure it looks expensive even if it isn’t.”

In addition to the material, Eng advises really thinking about necklines, color and whether the catsuit has any embellishments or add-ons. “You don’t want something with a zipper in the middle that looks like a motocross outfit,” he says. “There are ways to make it chic.”

“You want to see what features make you feel confident… Fashion is all about bringing out your best assets, so you want to accentuate those parts of your body with the catsuit.

Shop some of our favorite catsuits on the market in the gallery below.

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