It started late last fall during a trip to Outdoor Voices' Los Angeles flagship. As I emerged from the dressing room, tri-toned leggings spilling from my arms, I saw it: a gray, backless onesie hanging in a nearby display, begging me to about-face and try it on. But I was already en route to do some serious damage at the cash register, so I made a mental note to beeline for it the next time I was in the store. When I returned a handful of weeks later, it was gone. My unitard fever, however, was just beginning to spike.
Fast-forward to this morning, which saw the launch of OV's new Studio collection, an array of soft layering pieces meant for barre, yoga, and other "bendy activity," as described by a brand rep. Amid the colorful bike shorts, wrap tops, and a ballerina-inspired skirt is the brand's revisited take on the unitard, available in heathered charcoal and forest green. And how could I not order it? This is fate in all its spandexed glory, if not a testament to the rise of an admittedly polarizing trend.
I've gravitated toward matching sets because they take any effort out of dressing stylishly for the gym. It's an easy way to look put-together without sacrificing function. I'd argue that unitards take this ethos 10 steps farther. Much like the chic utilitarianism of jumpsuits and coveralls, the athleisure version is very much one-and-done, a streamlined solution to my overflowing activewear drawer. (Marie Kondo, WYA?)
To me, though, the real appeal of unitards is that their minimalism is actually kind of hard-core, and that, of course, is why they're not exactly everyone's cup of tea. Unitards are unapologetic in their coziness, sure, but more importantly in their celebration of the female form (as full-body stockings are wont to be). They're also a Jane Fonda callback just begging to be paired with tube socks and Working Girl sneakers. (On that note, where do we stand on the onesie as officewear? Can we make it a thing à la chic joggers?)
Keep scrolling to shop the five coolest unitards in our shopping carts right now.