Jumpsuit originally referred to the utilitarian one-piece garments used by parachuters and skydivers, but has come to be used as a common term for any one-piece garment with sleeves and legs.
The original skydivers' jumpsuits were simple garments designed to insulate the body from the cold of high altitudes and minimize risk of covering important handles and grips. Today, however, the garment has found other use by: Pilots and drivers
- Aviators and astronauts, who sometimes wear insulated, fire-retardant jumpsuits or flight suits where other types of clothing can potentially float or flap about in zero gravity or during high-G maneuvers.
- Drivers in motor racing, who wear jumpsuits for protection against fire and (in the case of motorcycle racers) abrasion. Sportsmen
- Skiers, who wear insulated jumpsuits or ski suits to protect themselves from cold (especially after falling or tumbling in snow).
- Competitive skiers and speed skaters, who wear skin-tight jumpsuits to provide freedom of movement while minimizing air resistance. Tradesmen
- The jumpsuit's simple one-piece design also makes it a practical garment for tradesmen, such as cleaners, auto mechanics and plumbers, who often wear looser-fitting jumpsuits, or coveralls, where they need a better-protecting garment than an apron or bib. Institutions
- The jumpsuit has sometimes been mandated as an institutional uniform, as it can be a unisex garment and can accommodate a wide range of body shapes.
- * University and polytechnic students in Finland and Sweden often wear jumpsuits colored according to their school or field of study at student parties.
- * Prisons in the United States and Canada frequently use bright orange jumpsuit uniforms for inmates for ease of identification and high visibility. Small children
- A simple-to-launder one-piece garment can be especially convenient for parents to dress small children in. In countries with colder climates, snow suits, or jumpsuits quilted or padded for warmth, are popular during the wintertime.
Jumpsuits are generally regarded as a garment of convenience, as they are simpler to launder, don and doff than an ensemble outfit. Unless the jumpsuit has a drop seat, however, it is necessary to remove it entirely for bathroom use.
Jumpsuits have also reappeared from time to time in high fashion, where it is often attractive to designers because it has an unbroken line running from the neck to the feet and can be flattering on some body shapes.
In popular culture
Starting in the 1960s, the jumpsuit has made occasional appearances in common and high fashion
(particularly in the 1980s
), but has never been a common item of everyday wear. They retain connotations of futurism
because they have been frequently featured in popular science fiction.
Jumpsuits have often been used as stage costumes in stage productions and by various singers and bands: Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, The Who, Freddie Mercury, Feeder, Alphaville, Goldfrapp, Britney Spears, Pink, Devo, Polysics, The Spice Girls, Korn and Slipknot, for example, have all performed in flamboyantly-designed jumpsuit-like garments. Catsuits, or skin-tight jumpsuits of shiny fabric, have also been popular on stage.
On the TV series, Scrubs, the character Janitor is frequently called 'jumpsuit' or accussed of wearing a jumpsuit, although he frequently corrects the speaker citing "who wears a belt with a jumpsuit?"