For those who think believe boilersuits veer into one of two camps – either spanner-wielding mechanics or ‘90s ravers – think again. Right now boilersuits are a thing, both on the runway and in real life.
Fashion influencers love them. British Vogue recently dedicated an entire story to them and millennial beauty company Glossier even selected a cotton boilersuit as its staff uniform (in the palest of pinks, of course).
It’s all part of the utility chic trend, an aesthetic punctuated by oversized pockets, stiff fabrics and tool-belt-like bum bags, which has begun popping up in stores and on runways, including this week at Australian Fashion Week.
In short, boilersuits are here to stay… which is not to say they’re for everyone, admits stylist Lill Jenner.
Lill obligingly played model for us this week, to help show how the boilersuit can be worn in three very different ways – during the daytime, off-duty and in the evening.
“It’s quite a divisive trend,” Lill confirms. “And you do have to be in the right frame of mind to wear one as it’s a bit of a statement. You have to really own it.”
But there are plenty of benefits if you do take the plunge – namely that a boilersuit eliminates any fuss from getting dressed. “You just zip it up and put it on. For women who are trying to save time or struggling with the whole ‘What am I going wear’ situation, it’s brilliant.”
Plus, there’s the style statement factor. Pulling on a boilersuit conveys a certain sense of self-confidence – or as Lill puts it: “It’s a power suit, in a way.”
The Daytime (Work-Appropriate) Boilersuit
“Boilersuits can be quite roomy and you can lose your shape,” says Lill, who suggests a belt to cinch in your waist. This black RE/Done boilersuit cleverly came with built-in velcro strips that did the job.
“It was so comfy,” said Lill. “And really versatile.”
The Evening Boilersuit
“I love the idea of an evening boilersuit,” says Lill. “The slinky fabric really elevates it and you can wear it with a fun metallic bag and a strappy shoe.”
Lee Mathews boilersuit; YSL bag from Vestiaire Collective; Valentino shoes; Reliquia earrings.
The Off-duty Boilersuit
“I really liked this one,” admits Lill of this Lucy Folk boiler suit. “It’s just so fun.”
The verdict? “They’re so fuss-free,” says Lill. “And so versatile! In winter you could wear one with a turtleneck jumper and a black heel, or you could layer it with a trench coat over the top and it would keep you toasty and warm. In summer, you’d go for strappy heels and you could take the top off and wear the arms tired around your waist.”
Photographer: Tane Coffin
Hair and make-up: Vanessa Collins