A brief history lesson on the body

Get your facts right – because it’s coming to take over your wardrobe.

It’s not rocket science, but keeping a shirt or sweater nicely tucked in over the course of a day can be a really difficult task. So a special thanks is in order to the French trapeze artist Jules Léotard for inventing the body-shaping one-piece back in the mid 1800s. Originally the leotard was called a maillot, and was a staple for ballerinas, acrobats, showgirls, dancers, actors and anyone else working on a stage in the early 20th century. 

The leotard’s journey from the stage to women's everyday wardrobes wasn’t long. The item just needed some altering (and society needed some time to accept women dressing in whatever they wanted to). 

In the 1950s, American designer Claire McCardell ridded the leotard of its trouser-legs and made the crotch snap-able – creating the bodysuit, which she named the bodyshirt. Her item influenced the modern bathing suit, became essential for the decade’s popular pin-up fashion and the trademark attire of the controversial Playboy bunnies. 

Over the years, the body’s popularity has surged, declined, and surged again. If the 50s and early 60s were big decades for the body, the 70s were not. Then came the 1980s.

With aerobics, the final scene in Flashdance, and Olivia Newton-John’s music videos, the bodysuit reached the pinnacle of its existence in 1985. It was that year that a high-end designer picked up the trend and distributed it to the masses. Donna Karan introduced a collection based on “seven easy pieces” that were flattering, flexible and interchangeable. Out of the seven pieces the most fundamental of them was – of course – the body.

Since then, the item has been an essential. Now, more than 30 years later, the bodysuit is on trend once again. This time it’s not because of a Parisian trapeze artist, pin-ups or 80s dance movies. The reason is spelled Kardashian. 

From Kim to Kylie, they’ve made pairing jeans or skirts with bodies instead of T-shirts their signature style. And we agree with them – it’s the best way to tuck! To celebrate the body’s grand return, we’ve selected the best ones in stores right now. Swipe through them below.


The bodysuit is modelled by Danish beauty Camilla Christensen (Le Management). Lok Lau (CLM) did her hair and Nina Belkhir (Mikas Looks) worked her makeup magic.

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