The Item I Wear to Death: My 3.1 Phillip Lim Jumpsuit

I'm a believer.

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(Image credit: Sharon Suh)

In our biweekly series, editors share "the item they wear to death," whether it be a basic white tee or a super-trendy jumpsuit. Prepare yourself (and your credit card) for some guilt-free shopping.

I never thought I could wear a jumpsuit, let alone to a formal affair. (Except for the handmade one I once wore to a wedding in the '80s—not my choice.) At 5'1, I thought they only looked good on women with legs for days. I liked the idea of them: they have the ease of a dress (no figuring out which top to pair with which bottoms) and the comfort of pants. And whenever I saw someone in a jumpsuit at a black-tie party, I thought she was the chicest, sleekest, most confident woman in the room. As much as I liked jumpsuits, I just never envisioned myself owning one. Then one day at a Golden Globes party, I saw someone almost as short as me rock a Rag & Bone one-piece and it made me think: maybe.

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Me (left) in my first (and until recently, last) jumpsuit worn to a wedding in 1981.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Riza Cruz)

Fast forward to now, and I love my 3.1 Phillip Lim jumpsuit.

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I dressed down the jumpsuit with a messy updo and Adidas sneakers.

(Image credit: Sharon Suh)

Here's how I arrived at the choice: I’m a pants person, and my go-to for bottoms is 3.1 Phillip Lim; any of the dozen-or-so pairs in my closet could be their own Item I Wear to Death column, with their frayed hems and bums nearly worn threadbare from overuse. So I bought a black sleeveless tuxedo style jumpsuit by the label. (After all, they’re just pants with a top attached. Or are they tops with pants attached?)

For a piece I thought was only for the statuesque, that I thought would wear me instead of the other way around, my doubts were unfounded. The unbroken line of monochromatic color makes me look taller (okay, four-inch heels help, too) and I like the combination of the masculine and feminine tailoring. And it has pockets!

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I dressed up the jumpsuit with bling and Manolo Blahnik heels.

(Image credit: Sharon Suh)

Thus, the jumpsuit has seen me through fashion events, charity benefits, awards ceremonies, holiday parties, fancy and not-so-fancy dinners, and power lunches. It can be dressed up or down. (Check out Sandra Oh pairing a black jumpsuit with sneakers post-Golden Globes hosting last month.) I don’t have to sit like a royal worried about modesty, and—unlike some of the dresses I own—I’m free to eat whatever I want. I feel unrestricted and relaxed, and I wouldn’t want to go to a party feeling any other way.

In case I've convinced you to pick up a similar little number for yourself, here's one from 3.1 Phillip Lim—plus even more options:

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(Image credit: Photo by Bridget Burns)

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(Image credit: Rutuja Rajwade / Amanda Mitchell)
Riza Cruz

Riza Cruz is an editor and writer based in New York.