They say you’re likely to meet the one” in college.  And by they” I mean my overzealous relatives, the ones who spew not-so-sage advice at family gatherings after throwing back one-too-many glasses of wine. However, in my case, they were absolutely correct. Though I’m confident my kin’s definitions of the one” differs from the clothing companion I’ve grown to adore, I’m happy and in love.

In short, the undergraduate college experience is a wondrous four-year experiment.  You’re able to truly test your limits, push some boundaries and, above all, step outside of your sartorial comfort zone.  For me, a distant dream once reserved to the truest of trendsetters became a reality and a staple of my wardrobe.  

The year was 2014, and the romper and I endured an extraordinary love affair and never looked back.

What truly captured my heart about the romper was its ease; similarly to the powerful effects of a good coat, I could instantly transform from a rundown, sloppily dressed college student into a somewhat-polished pseudo-adult.

Though the romper is subject to endlessly endearing qualities, what truly stole my heart was the uncanny semblance it bears to my pajamas of choice, the infant staple, the one-piece-wonder that is the onesie. Rompers changed the game by being a sort of socially acceptable pajama-esque garment for all occasions other than sleep.  It was genius.  It was everything I didn’t know I needed.  The hybrid of a top and cropped trouser had a seductive simplicity. You literally just slide it on and you’re dressed in a full ensemble. That right there easily saves you seven minutes of dreaded morning outfit indecisiveness.

While I’m aware the romper reemerged around spring 2011 after its metallic triteness and extended legs of the ’70s, along with countless identity crises (i.e. often resurfacing during festival season as its somewhat washed up cousin, overalls), I was initially a skeptic. As with most bourgeoning trends, I assumed it would eventually fizzle out, and my inherent aversion drew me to avoidance. I was naïve, uneasy with the concept of abandoning my beloved closet of endless separates that structured sufficient portmanteaus. As bloggers and trend-forecasters badgered us hopeless wannabe style-icon/internet-trolls with the news, I resisted. In my defense, I was a long, lanky, clueless high-school freshman when the romper reemerged — too under-confident to rock anything other than my trusty, extra-long (thanks be to Lulu’s special order) yoga pants.

Yet the romper persisted with a strong social media presence, immaculate appearances on the runway and rave reviews of esteemed fashion critics; but I regrettably fell victim to the spell only as of late. Forgive me, romper, for not realizing your true potential until I fully trusted you. But now, here we are, two kindred spirits who just needed to mature apart before we could grow together.  

As with any great love, the search wasn’t easy. It was a painstaking pursuit.

For starters, rompers are sized stranger than any garment I have ever come across. You’d think they’d be cut similar to the standard dress size — bust, hips, waist, boom — the whole awful, humiliating, as-if-I-needed-to-be-reduced-to-yet-another-number shebang. But no, it’s absolutely nonsensical and against all cloth-cutting logic.

Yet, these offsetting qualities seemed a necessary roadblock in the attainment of a quasi-nirvana level of satisfaction. I knew the one” would never be wholly, one-hundred-percent perfect. I had to assess my options, not merely settle for what was there. I knew true love was all about the chase and the challenge.

My first rendezvous with the romper was flawed, awkward and uncomfortable. Essentially, it didn’t fit. It didn’t compliment my body, it didn’t play off my prominent features and again, it was a downright bore.

Like a tragically awful first date, it was all wrong. What’s worse was that I tried to like it. I searched endlessly for its redeeming qualities, and by the time I counted seven offsetting attributes, I knew the end wasn’t near, it was there.

Though I don’t doubt the first romper prompted me to test my limits, it was suffocating in ways I knew would hurt us in the long term. But eventually, one day when the sun shines overhead, or in my case the April showers quickly escalate into a torrential downpour; sometimes, when you least expect it, you’re seeking shelter in a department store. You glance to your left and there, on a mannequin, waiting to be ripped off, is the one.

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