If you were in any proximity to the internet yesterday, you may have caught wind of the latest fashion controversy: the RompHim, a romper for men.
Yes, it looks like our annual debate about whether or not men are allowed to wear shorts in the summer has been upgraded to whether or not men are allowed to wear shorts jumpsuits.
While the bright colors and vivid patterns of the RompHim are outrageous enough to evoke an initial reaction of either adulation or utter disgust, the rompers themselves are fine. They can be unflattering to anyone whose lower abdomen isn’t as flat a pancake (but like a washboard pancake?). But trying to make sexy hipster car mechanic cosplay a reality for more men is cute and inoffensive—even though this thing is essentially being targeted to rich Coachella bros who still quote Anchorman, or worse, Anchorman 2.
What is insanely obnoxious, however, is the name. RompHim. Mini-debates over whether or not it should be called “Homme-per,” aside, “RompHim” is the outfit’s biggest mistake. It posits masculinity in clothing that women like because there’s already kind of a masculine vibe to it.
Rompers don’t need to be “resanitized” and reclaimed for men just because women now also wear them. The idea that men are reclaiming something by positing “him,” in the same way that “herstory” reclaims history from a feminist perspective, is redundant, belittling and just fucking annoying. It makes an overwrought and underwhelming statement about both fashion and masculinity. But I suppose it’s a good marketing ploy to have a dumb controversial name—the RompHim Kickstarter has surpassed its $10,000 goal by over $40,000.
Also, dudes already wear jumpsuits, and shorts jumpsuits are already a thing. Spanish designer David Delfín’s 2013 collection included a romper (below) as did Ruald Rheeder’s 2015 collection. Even Topman did a romper back in 2013. Somehow these labels managed to not squeeze in a further announcement that these jumpsuits being worn by men in a men’s fashion show were, in fact, for men.
If you identify as a man and want to wear a romper, do so by all means. Sure, it’s frustrating that most men will never know the pain of having to almost entirely remove a romper simply in order to go to the bathroom—a fundamental part of the jumpsuit experience—but if the guys are having fun and feeling themselves then who am I to judge? But just please don’t call it a RompHim, because, as big a fan as I am of challenging the idea of what men should and shouldn’t wear, it’s a terrible name and a terrible mission statement.