Rompers are thought of as clothing for babies or perhaps a cute outdoor concert outfit for women. This statement isn’t to say that the idea of men in rompers is totally novel. However, it was never an item accessible to the average man’s wardrobe until RompHim launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that propelled the male romper into the mainstream, seen by the numerous memes around it. RompHim managed to raise $250,000 in pre-sales after four days. The competition quickly followed suit with Reebok releasing their own version soon after RompHim’s initial campaign. Other romper distributors entered the market later such as RomperJack, Zesties and Differio.
Many strong reactions followed RompHim’s Kickstarter campaign — a quick Google search of “the problem with the male romper” brings up pages of opinion articles: “The Only Thing New About Men in Rompers is This Terrible Name,” “Why So Much Hate For The Male Romper,” “Male Rompers Are the Stupidest Thing Ever Created,” “Here’s the Big Problem with RompHim Men’s Rompers” and “Men’s Rompers: The Latest Headscratching Fashion Trend Burning Up the Internet.” The biggest issue still remained to be addressed by headlines: How will men pee in “RompHims?”
— iamsuede™ (@iamsuede) May 18, 2017
RompHim admittedly had issues. For one, the sizes weren’t and still aren’t inclusive of all body types. Somehow, wearing a male romper “makes you gay,” as if being associated with gayness is to be avoided at all costs. So, of course, the marketing of a RompHim effusively declared the masculinity of an article of clothing that is traditionally considered feminine. This rebranding is part of a larger narrative of gender roles and fragile masculinity that makes these directed advertisements necessary in the first place. While it would be nice for everyone to wear whatever they want, most people are still very much contained within the social expectations of their gender.
The attention on the male romper largely died away after the summer season for which it was advertised, perhaps settling into a more stable position within the clothing market after its initial explosive breakthrough. The idea of owning a male romper didn’t even cross my mind until I started reconsidering my wardrobe last year.
Clothing can be a strong representation of who somebody is. For much of my life, I showcased hand-me-downs as one of the younger children in my extended family, garments bought when my parents noticed a good deal and sports team T-shirts. Evidently, how I dressed was not my priority; clothes were a matter of convenience and comfort for me. It was only the preceding few months before college that I started taking fashion into my own hands.
After a big shopping spree at Saks Off 5th’s closing sale in tax-free Delaware while visiting my dad’s cousin’s family, I had pretty much finished revamping my wardrobe. I was thinking about what else that I wanted to bring to college when the idea of a romper suddenly popped into my head. A romper would be the perfect representation of my growth during my gap year, a subtly yet also hugely transformative experience. I’m independent! I can do my own thing! I’m not afraid to be who I am!
Henceforth, the great struggle commenced. I am hugely indecisive and spend an incessant amount of time pondering objective pros and cons when almost always, my subjective opinion wins out in the end. What if it doesn’t fit? I’ll have to go through the hassle of returning it. What if my parents react poorly to it? Then I’ll have to do a lot of explaining that I really don’t want to do. Is it really worth $50? I’m not earning much money in college; I can’t afford to spend it on things as much as I did on my gap year when I was making money.
A late night in bed spent circularly pondering these questions resulted in the conundrum: to buy or not to buy? I had to order soon if I was going to have it sent to my home address on time before college. I checked back on the RomperJack website — I found RomperJack to have cheaper and more affordable rompers than RompHim — and lo and behold, there was a flash sale for a limited time. That hit the nail in the coffin.
I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding between choosing a specific design that I liked or spinning the wheel of chance for the cheaper grab bag option, but finally, I ordered a black romper with a violet flower accent pocket and collar. My romper came in the mail a few days later as promised, and I was not disappointed. My shoulders are relatively broad, so I wasn’t surprised that the shoulder area was a little tight. Otherwise, it fit as expected and was surprisingly comfortable. I thought the accent pocket would have been a little bigger based on the pictures, but it still looked great. And I wasn’t the only one to think that.
I rock my romper every so often at college. Every time that I wear it out and about, I receive five to 10 compliments on my “shirt,” to which I dutifully respond, “Thank you! But actually it’s a romper.” The overall response has been overwhelmingly positive. The only feedback that I’ve gotten is that I need a statement belt to complete my otherwise rocking romper look.
When I see the romper in my closet, I’m reminded of how I want to go about college doing my own thing and not what everyone else is doing if that’s not what I want. I know that my romper improves my self-confidence, even if only a little bit, and I hope that I can come off as an independent-minded person to my peers. I wear my romper when I need to get in the mindset that I’m going to rock the day ahead or when I just want to look good. For the males out there who are entertaining the idea of owning a romper, I’ll make a final statement: You’ll look great, and it’s really not that hard to pee in a romper.