I wore a male romper for the day and you know what? I would proudly do it again
7/10, easy and breezy
As a man of discerning taste with a desire to keep cool in the warm summer months, I was immediately taken in by the promise of the male romper.
Taking Kickstarter, then Twitter, then the wider contentosphere by storm, the Romphim provided a slice of the crazy fashion game and people ate it up. At the time of writing, the bros behind it have raised over $250,000 of their $10k goal, selling the giant pastel babygrows for $95 a pop.
Essentially, the Romphim is trying to give men the same sartorial freedom women have enjoyed for years. The freedom to wear a loose, floaty garment without the pain of buying two separate items and figuring out how to match them. While women’s fashion is generally less practical, maybe the humble romper is the best kept secret they have.
With this is mind, and the world seemingly not being able to deal with the emotional conflict of hating the idea of the romper, but not hating the way it looks, I decided to try it for myself. After contacting ACED design, the guys behind the original Kickstarter and finding, predictably, that they were swamped by demand, I turned to ASOS, finding that they stocked a fetching black number that was to all intents and purposes, a Romphim.
The first thing to note, when putting on the romper, is that it’s a bit of an ordeal. More wetsuit than stylish summer garment, you have to wriggle into it arm by arm before sliding it on. So far, it’s not beating a shirt and shorts for ease of access. But I remained positive and emerge from the bathroom like a butterfly from her chrysalis, leaving behind my concepts of gendered fashion and old-fashioned sensibilities.
The reaction was instant, my colleagues greeted me with a mixture of mirth, concern and surprise. The comments varied, while some described it as the look of “a stylish, summer chef”, others described “that mailman from Legally Blonde”. Hoping I was somewhat better than both of those things, I decided to take the romper out and about.
The most surprising thing about the public’s reaction, was that there wasn’t really one. A few turned heads here and there, a couple of doubletakes, but overall no-one thought it was that big a deal. Maybe the fact that I was in Brooklyn, fighting for attention with those dressed far weirder, made a slight difference, but I was pleasantly surprised that no-one seemed to care or notice.
But aside from the non-reaction, wearing a romper forced me to think about things I never had to before. With no natural waist, I was the master of where the belt line lay. Shimmying up so the waist was lower freed up my top half for more arm movement, but take it the other way and my arms were trapped. It was the Sophie’s choice of clothing.
The pockets, far from feeling like normal jeans or shorts, felt like afterthoughts. Flimsy bits of cloth that had been tacked on to give a false sense of practicality, a pocket in the style of women’s fashion.
But the main pitfall of the traditional romper isn’t the pockets or lack thereof. As almost every woman in my life told me, the main figurative ballache is the toilet dilemma. Imagine you’re at a party where the integrity of the bathroom lock leaves a lot to be desired, and you have to get nearly completely naked just to pee. It’s not something I can or want to relate to.
But thankfully, due to the male anatomy and the tactical placement of buttons, I was able to use a fly as easily as if I was wearing shorts. It gave me the confidence to know that even if I was hammered, I could still pee without having to strip off.
What was harder, was taking it off in rush. If I was desperate for a number two or trying to hook up while drunk, I can imagine feeling trapped, flailing, falling and ultimately struggling to free myself.
But overall, the experience was way better than I expected. Aside from a slight bunching in the front, it was comfortable enough that I could see myself wearing it in a whole range of situations. It was a complete outfit without having to pick and choose, it was light, beach-friendly and probably worth at least some of the hype. To most people, it looked no different than if I had been wearing a shirt and shorts. It was a way to mix up a classic outfit, and I’d happily wear it again.
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