Wearing the Same Thing Every Day Is The Answer
Adele Varcoe’s life has changed since she started dressing only in onesies 8 years ago.
Getting dressed isn’t easy, but what if you could wear the same thing every day? That’s what Melbourne, Australia artist Adele Varcoe does.
“I’ve been wearing a jumpsuit for eight years,” Varcoe told OK Whatever. She sews them herself and owns more than 50. “I wear one for all different occasions: weddings, yoga, swimming, you name it. Whatever it is, I wear the jumpsuit there.”
Varcoe started wearing the one-piece garments after graduating from RMIT University in 2010. While rifling through old projects she did as a student, she stumbled upon a hot pink, spandex onesie she’d made for a swimwear class.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is hilarious. Imagine wearing this today?’ Then I thought, ‘Let me do this. It’ll be really funny.’ “
Spandex, of course, is an unforgiving material. Clingy and revealing, the onesie made Varcoe feel a bit self-conscious and exposed at first; that is, until she realized how many people were giving her positive feedback on the outfit choice.
“Suddenly I was having all these conversations with people that I would never have spoken to otherwise,” Varcoe said.
As she prepared to move to London for a year, the artist made another spontaneous decision: She packed only jumpsuits in her suitcase. For someone who’s “never sure what to wear,” adopting the one-piece as a daily uniform has turned out to be a great solution for Varcoe. Wearing the same thing every day saves her time getting ready and has led to plenty of unanticipated adventures.
“A lot of things have happened that maybe would not have happened if I wasn’t wearing the jumpsuit,” she admitted. “People get to know me as Jumpsuit Girl, so it’s almost like I make friends through wearing them.” In addition to receiving invites to high-end parties, Varcoe has met — and befriended — a slew of celebrities and artists because of her outfits.
Even when she travels, she wears the jumpsuits, donning them in countries as far-flung as South Africa, India, and Thailand. And she’s always tickled by the different reactions and “really juicy comments” she elicits from passersby. “New Yorkers are very outspoken,” she said. She’s had strangers ask about her sexual orientation, if she can “do the worm,” if she’s “going to Central Park,” or if she’s “coming from yoga” because of her outfits.
In fact, Varcoe has received a lot of strange comments from people over the years, many of which she’s written down and funneled into her art. In a series of drawings posted on her website, Varcoe recreates all the hilarious moments that have been created because of her onesies, including awkward hook-up sessions where she has trouble getting undressed, being coerced into doing the worm in front of people, and getting mistaken as being part of an art exhibit.
In 2017, she funneled these encounters into a claymation film called Fashion Show that’s both wonky and wry. Models saunter down a catwalk wearing wonderfully strange jumpsuits decorated with roving eyeballs, moist mouths, and sequins arranged to look like spikes on a dinosaur.
During the intermission, a model wearing a yellow jumpsuit with three-dimensional black spots walks off the runway and onto the street. She’s immediately barraged by curious onlookers, who repeat exact phrases that Varcoe has heard in her own life. A guy with a cigarette in his mouth says, “Does that go all the way up? That’s so badass,” and a woman walking with a young girl says, “Are you a dancer? Or just wearing this to be groovy?”
Varcoe said she added this segment as a commentary on the differences between high and low fashion.
“I really wanted to explore the idea that clothes are perceived differently in a fashion show than when you see them on the street. Others might say ‘Ooh, aah, that’s amazing’ when they see it on the runway, but then when you see it on the street, it can be something that is bizarre and questioned.”
The last eight years of jumpsuit-wearing have been both eventful and memorable for Varcoe, but she’s not sure how much longer she’ll keep it up.
“I do want to be at the start of a new era soon,” she confessed. “So it could be time. We’ll see.”