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How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Jump for joy! The summer onesie is all you need

Let’s face it, if you haven’t got the message about jumpsuits by now (there has been an awful lot written about them) you probably aren’t interested, and fair enough.

That said, it seems to me that jumpsuits are evolving and the case for a summer jumpsuit — as opposed to a winter jumpsuit, a lockdown jumpsuit, a dressy evening jumpsuit — may not have been made forcefully enough. So, if you hate jumpsuits, look away now.

But if you’re a fan, or you might be if they were lighter and more 2020 friendly, then this could be your introduction to one of fashion’s smartest shortcuts.

Let’s get one thing clear. I’m a big fan of jumpsuits, but these days you wouldn’t catch me in a boiler suit. The two are quite different: a boiler suit is generally heavier, with a loose fit, and relaxed in the waist.

A jumpsuit may be a variation on a parachutist’s all-in-one, but its primary function is to flatter the female form and make you look neat and chic as if by accident.

I do have a couple of boiler suits, but since lockdown I’ve realised I need all the help I can get, and they’ve been consigned to the charity pile. Now it’s jumpsuits all the way.

I own eight, including a couple I never wear, either because they make me feel trussed up (rule one: be sure your jumpsuit is long enough in the body); or bloated (denim jumpsuits tend to be bulky and you need to be super slim to carry them off).

Over the years, I’ve narrowed down exactly what a jumpsuit needs in order to work on an average-sized woman.

I like a button or zip-up front with a collar rather than, say, a wrapover. It needs a waist that’s either elasticated at the back, or tab adjusted at the side. A low-cut crotch makes you look like a dachshund. And I always go for sleeves (short are fine, but long are generally more flattering and you can always roll them up).

As for the fabric, it must be lightweight or it will feel too restricting, so it follows that the most wearable jumpsuits are the styles on sale at this time of year.

Newly popular fabrics such as lyocell and Tencel are super summer-jumpsuit friendly — lightweight, soft and hard to crease, as well as easy to roll up.

And for me, summer colours such as khaki or indigo, or even pink, look better than plain black or navy. I draw the line at patterns and strappy styles because they detract from the smart simplicity and clean lines of a plain jumpsuit.

Hush does a khaki jumpsuit called Pippa (£99, hush-uk.com). It’s utilitarian in style (tick); it’s got a collar (tick), long sleeves (tick), a gently defined elasticated waist (tick); and it’s 100 per cent Tencel, so that’s our top five most desirables sorted.

It’s popular, so if your size has gone, Massimo Dutti has an elegant alternative (£49.95, massimodutti.com).

Still, the khaki style I’ve got my eye on, though it has an eye-watering price, is Citizens of Humanity’s Marta jumpsuit (£352, revolve.com), a classic cotton jumpsuit with a covered button front. It’s just 22 per cent more glamorous.

Otherwise, & Other Stories has a jumpsuit that breaks two of my rules — it’s denim and short-sleeved — but it’s a fresh green, neatly cut with attractive top stitching, which gets it over the line (now £59, stories.com).

Another on the list is Anthropologie’s zip-front style in ivory with breast pockets and a collar, which is currently in the sale (£48, down from £165, anthropologie.com). There’s nothing practical about a pale jumpsuit, but it is beautifully tailored.

Still, if you want an easy, everyday jumpsuit for the real world, a good place to start is Whistles. It has a big selection, including cropped and sleeveless styles — or NRBY, whose tie-front Kelly jumpsuit in denim-blue lyocell (£150, johnlewis.com) has relaxing summer written all over it.

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