Behold! The catsuit. If you’re unfamiliar with the ultra-trendy, body-hugging silhouette, let me create a better mental image for you: Think less Taylor Swift’s look in Cats (we’re not talking CGI feline leotards) and more the sultry black number she sported during her iconic “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” performance on SNL.
If that’s still not ringing a bell (Are you sure? I’ve watched it ten times) scroll through Instagram or your TikTok FYP and you’ll be sure to spot the form-fitting silhouette—whether on high-fashion runways or styled as streetwear. Catsuits are the lithe one-piece that’s all over, in more ways than one.
Not to be confused with a bodysuit or plain-old jumpsuit, the all-in-one garment is equally skin-tight, but covers the entire body (typically feet to neck). Its resurgence is overwhelming. Need proof? Celebs like Dua Lipa, Meg Thee Stallion, Olivia Rodrigo and Lizzo have recently taken on the bold, slinky look.
Still, just because they’re back on the map now doesn’t mean the style is groundbreaking. Some might merit Skims for pioneering the catsuit comeback, but the style’s origins can be traced back to the ‘60s Space Age, with Moon Boots serving as yet another nod to this year’s ’60s fashion revival. It was a time when stark and experimental pieces came to play, and many know well that drag queens from the time had been wearing extravagant unitards for decades.
“I think most trends people credit the Kardashians with tend to come from Black women or queer people,” Aja Barber, author of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism, tells STYLECASTER, “It’s actually super annoying that it keeps happening, but it’s typical white erasure.”
It’s true: Ivy Park’s first launch in 2016 included several catsuits, making Bey—who still rocks the look on the reg—ahead of her time. (Who’s surprised? Not me!)
The reason why ‘22 should be named the year of the catsuit, though, isn’t only because celebs are embracing the trend—from Rihanna in monochrome Mugler to Kim K in bright pink Balenciaga with built-in heels. Finally, the campy ensemble has gone through a major modification. With a modern revamp, the catsuit has become a ready-to-wear staple in addition to Haute eye candy.
And while Saint Laurent and other designers have reconstructed the second-skin onesie that dominated Fall/Winter ‘21 runways, if opulent designs like Prada’s ornate jacquard print aren’t your style, the catsuit has been reimagined as a more minimalist staple, too.
With efforts towards a more sustainable capsule wardrobe, wearing a neutral-colored catsuit as a layering base makes options far more versatile. Throw a blazer or a mini wrap skirt on top, and it’ll instantly become a way less intimidating piece. Regardless of how you wear yours, the catsuit has always been boundary-pushing, with inseparable links to inclusivity and sexuality. Whether you opt for patterns, denim, neon or all-black, the catsuit remains synonymous with a sense of strength and power.
Tom Ford sums up the ultimate reason to invest in one: “Who wouldn’t want to look like a badass?” And if you’re still unsure about which style you’d wear, we’ve got you covered—literally. Here, some of our favorite looks to kick off the year of the catsuit.
Optical patterns for the daring. Think Prada, Marine Serre or this striking Farai London number.
Cat puns aside, this Girlfriend Collective option is best when paired with something more practical than a kitten heel.
When you want to slip into something that makes a statement, LaQuan Smith is always a safe bet.
It’s time to trade in your onesie pajamas for this chic fluffy lime green catsuit. Loungewear, elevated.