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Male Rompers: Could This Garment Be The Worst Idea Ever?


We turn now to breaking news from the world of fashion. And if you're on social media, this has probably already popped up on your feed. And we feel it's our duty to report on this because it could be the hot trend for the summer for men or the worst idea ever. We're talking about rompers for men, a onesie. You probably wore one yourself when you were, say, Prince George's age.

And the reason this is all over social media is part of what makes it interesting. It's due to a Kickstarter campaign on behalf of a company called RompHim which has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars in just a few days. This is just to get the seed funding to start making rompers.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On May 15, 2017, ACED Design will introduce the original RompHim, and you'll see why this summer is about to get romped.

MARTIN: As we said, we feel this is a must discuss, so we called on Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robin Givhan. She reports on fashion and culture for The Washington Post. We called her at her office probably to be sure she didn't throw something at our heads for wanting to discuss this.

ROBIN GIVHAN: (Laughter).

MARTIN: Robin, thank you so much for joining us.

GIVHAN: My pleasure.

MARTIN: Who knew there was a pent-up demand for male rompers?

GIVHAN: Well, I'm going to argue that I still am not really convinced that there is a pent-up demand for this strange little garment. I think there's a pent-up demand for amusement.

MARTIN: Now, for people who have not seen this, could you describe it?

GIVHAN: It looks like abbreviated coveralls, right? It looks sort of like a jumpsuit that's been hacked off high up on the thigh and looks like something that you might wear at a keg party.

MARTIN: You know, I'm getting the impression, Robin - correct me if I'm wrong - that you're not exactly a fan of this look.

GIVHAN: Well, I think it is not a particularly attractive look for the vast majority of men. I think if you're a 5-year-old boy, it probably looks adorable. But I also think that it's, you know, a sign that the men's market is becoming much more fashion-oriented and much more trend-driven. And as a result, it's seeing these kinds of odd, ill-considered ideas pop up to see if anyone bites.

MARTIN: Now, I just - in doing the research for this, our producers turned up Sean Connery as James Bond wearing a blue terrycloth romper in "Goldfinger." So that would seem to be some rather elegant inspiration maybe. No? (Laughter).

GIVHAN: I would argue that just because a Hollywood movie says it's so, doesn't make it true.

MARTIN: So do you think we are honestly going to see these on the streets this summer?

GIVHAN: I am not going to say absolutely not because I think that, you know, there's always the possibility that some risk-taking, quirky fella might decide that it's just the kind of thing to wear on a 95-degree day with lots of humidity. So it's possible, but I don't think that it's really a good idea.

MARTIN: How come?

GIVHAN: Well, for me, the biggest issue beyond the aesthetics of it, I think that there's this aspect of it that's extremely infantilizing. And so it's, you know - it's the same reason that it sort of irks me when I see an adult woman sitting on her boyfriend's lap. My initial reaction is that you're not a 10-year-old girl. So I think you deserve to have your own seat.

So I just think that when adults infantilize themselves, it is never a good idea because it just sort of helps our culture devolve in ways that are just not healthy. That's a really big notion for little rompers.


MARTIN: And we'll take it though. That's why you are the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. That was Robin Givhan, Washington Post fashion editor. We reached her at her office. Robin, thanks so much for speaking with us.

GIVHAN: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.