Style + Work

Style Sheet: The Button-Up Bodysuit

I shunned bodysuits for years.  Probably because the first one I ever owned caused such a level of thigh chafing that the results were covered by insurance.  But the first time I wore my J.Crew Stretch Perfect Bodysuit, I spent half of my day wondering what else I could wear it with.  So let’s meet the button-up bodysuit: The outfit maker.

The Bodysuit.  This J.Crew one is the bodysuit I own.  I highly recommend it.  It’s fitted, classic and utterly chic.  I like it so much, I am buying the silk bodysuit as well.  Plus-size?  I could not find a button-up version, but I did find this great scoop-neck ballet bodysuit from Eloquii.

What I like about bodysuits, as I mentioned in the image, is that they lay flat.  No more shirts that ride up or bunch.  No more tucking and re-tucking.  Just set it and forget it, so to speak.

If you’re a person who is never sure whether to tuck or not to tuck, this bodysuit solves that problem.  You tuck it, and it looks great all day.

The Paperbag-Waist Pants.  I don’t wear pants (except jeans) very often.  But if I am going to wear a pair of pants, they better rock.  And rock hard.

These olive Mango trousers are fun and stylish.  The voluminous waist benefits greatly from the sleekness, the snug-fit of the bodysuit.  I also loves these wider leg, black Carbon 38 pants.

Not into the paper bag?  Don’t go boring.  Go bold.  Boden has the craziest collection of pants, in the best possible way.  Their clover-green wide leg trousers (in short and long) are the happiest pants I can imagine.  Yes, pants can be a happy.

The Sleeveless Top.  Layering shirts is still a mystery to some women.  Sometimes that mystery begins with how to keep the under-shirt smooth and free of bunching.  Because you want this pairing to look sleek, not schlumpy.

I like the look of this DvF peplum top with the grosgrain waist accent.  Banana Republic has a more affordable peplum top on sale right now.  For other options, I also like this short-sleeve Vila top in metallic-accented jacquard and this boxy ponte MSGM top with an indulgent ruffle sleeve.

The Cool Skirt.  Do you own a skirt that you love, but don’t know what to wear with it?  Yeah, me too.  The second I put on this bodysuit with a pair of jeans, it was like a lightbulb went off.  “Oh, of course, I can wear this with that skirt.  Duh.”

This dramatically printed Markus Lupfer skirt is the bomb.  The print, the copper hue, the statement-making aesthetic, I love it.  This polka-dotted flounce skirt from Maeve is a lot of fun.  I also love this perfectly pretty batik pleated skirt from Whistles.  Plus-size?  I love this red poplin skirt from Talbot’s.

Whether you go for your classic pencil or basic a-line, the bodysuit is perfect for skirts.  I just love the idea of a bolder, cool skirt with something so simple an elegant.  It lets you be dramatic and different, while still staying in bounds.



  1. HW says:

    How do you choose the size for the bodysuit? I’m probably around a size 4 on top (34DD) but a 6-10 on the bottom, depending on the brand (5’4″ 145lbs, with a post-baby increase in stomach and hip size). Plus, I never could figure out where I fell in J. Crew sizing, which is why I gave up shopping online with them, but I’m very intrigued by this post. Thanks for all you do!

    June 11, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’m the same, 4 top, 6 bottom. I bought the 4 and it works. The panty is cut so it doesn’t cover the whole bottom, so it isn’t really an issue.

      June 11, 2018/Reply
  2. SW says:

    I would love to see pictures of you wearing these ensembles!

    June 11, 2018/Reply
  3. Susan says:

    Is the underwear portion thong in back or full panty? And if full panty how do you handle the dreaded VPL?

    June 11, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Full-ish. It’s a mesh material, so it doesn’t really cause much VPL. With a thinner material skirt or pant it might.

      June 11, 2018/Reply
  4. MV says:

    I am obsessed with this J.Crew bodysuit. Obsessed. For all the reasons you mentioned, along with one other (and this also addresses Susan’s question). The panty on the silk and poplin versions of this bodysuit is extremely lightweight. It isn’t a thong, but it is higher cut than a regular panty. I thought for sure it wouldn’t work for me as someone who only ever wears a thong because my pear shape means that anything else will give me VPL. But this one doesn’t – I think because it’s so light and sheer. Now, I won’t say that I’d be confident enough to wear it with skinny pants, but I’ve worn it with the types of bottoms Abra has featured here and no VPL.

    P.S. All the other J.Crew bodysuits have thicker jersey material bottoms that absolutely DO cause VPL…for me, at least.

    June 11, 2018/Reply
  5. Anne says:

    How opaque is the white?

    June 11, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It’s an 7.5/8 of 10.

      June 11, 2018/Reply
  6. MOnica T says:

    I’ve always had a problem with tucking in shirts, but as a few of my colleagues have moved on to companies with dress codes I’ve been thinking about adding some more polished pieces to my repertoire. I do wonder what I’ll do with my jeans collection, but some nice khakis and a few crisp shirts might be just the ticket. Great deal on these today, $35 each! Got both colors but will wait on the silk (even though it’s gorgeous) until I see if I can pull these off. I have broad shoulders and a much narrower waist, so I usually tailor my shirts, but I’m not sure if these can be narrowed easily. Love this feature, I’m thinking of the fancy skirts that I haven’t been wearing now.

    June 11, 2018/Reply
  7. Carrie says:

    I haven’t bought anything from JCrew in a long time. Has their quality improved any? I’d also love suggestions for bodysuits (or jumpsuits or one piece swimsuits) for women with long torsos… I’d love to try these styles but I can never find them in long, and the regular length just doesn’t cut it.

    June 13, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      A bit. I find certain items I think are good, but I still find things I need to send back. Does J.Crew make a tall style?

      June 13, 2018/Reply