The word jumpsuit originally referred to the one-piece garment worn by parachuters, but now refers to any one-piece garment with pants. Jumpsuits often are worn for utilitarian purposes, but jumpsuits worn for fashion have gone in and out of style since the 1930's (although there are some earlier examples that may or may not have actually been called jumpsuits). GMD has adult women's jumpsuits that date back to as early as the 1930's. There is a wide range of designs, some of which don't even look like a jumpsuit without close investigation.
This example (1997.049.001) has such full pants that it resembles a dress, although it is apparent from this photo that it features pants. The silhouette is reminiscent of dresses from this period (1937-1945), although day-dresses did not tend to be this long.
jumpsuit, 1937-1945, no. 1997.049.001
Although this jumpsuit by Estevez resembles a men's tuxedo, which would be made of woven material, it's actually double knit. The pants and jacket are all one piece and what looks like a white tuxedo shirt is a dickey, rather than a complete shirt.
jumpsuit, Estevez, 1965-1975, no. 1980.098.139a-c
Not for the faint of heart, this red jumpsuit has harem pants and would envelop the wearer's body.
jumpsuit, Don Kline, 1975-1979, no. 1994.035.033
Although it has bellbottoms, this jumpsuit by Betsey Johnson is one of the more body-conscious examples that we have photographed. It has a very low halter neck and an open back.
jumpsuit, Betsey Johnson, no. 2004.019.033
Like the first example, the last example also resembles a dress, but looks like an evening gown rather than a day dress.
jumpsuit, Pauline Trigère, c. 1980, no. 2009.066.002
More images of these pictures and of other jumpsuits are available through our collection database. Search for jumpsuit and indicate that you only want to see objects with images. If you go to Advanced Search you can search more specifically, such as by designer or date made. Another tip is to search for similar words or alternate ways of spelling- for example, I only found the last jumpsuit by searching for "jump suit" instead.
More information and images of jumpsuits:
The Phoenix Art Museum had an exhibition on jumpsuits in 2008-2009.
Vogue Italia posted about jumpsuits as well
By Caitlin Cohn, Collections Assistant at GMD, and graduate student in the College of Design pursuing a PhD in Dress, History, and Culture. She does not own a jumpsuit.