In the menswear ROJ

As in yesterday’s posting “Romper buddies”, about an ad for Romperjacks: not RAJ the land of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh, but ROJ the land of rompers, overalls, and jumpsuits. With a photo gallery. To whet your interest, two Romperjacks items:

(#1) The floridly beautiful Jungle Print romper

(#2) The elegant White Chateaux romper

Lexical and sociocultural background:

— from Merriam-Webster online:

noun raj: 1 RULE especially, often capitalized: the former British rule of the Indian subcontinent 2 the period of British rule in India

— the name Romperjack appears to be based on the noun lumberjack. From NOAD:

noun lumberjack: a person who fells trees, cuts them into logs, or transports them to a sawmill. Also called lumberman.

— the jack of lumberjack is from the proper name Jack, used as a proper noun (‘a name given to: a hypothetical man, esp. a representative of the common or ordinary people’) and also as a common noun (‘an ordinary man or boy; a lad, a fellow’)  — glosses from OED3 (March 2018)

The choice of name then links the frankly beautiful and stylish Romperjacks to rough working-class masculinity (what’s more macho than a lumberjack? — cue Monty Python), undercutting what the doctrines of normative masculinity in modern American culture see as the curses of femininity and fagginess that attend beauty and style in men.

A wicked intrusion from Tom of Finland:

(#3) ToF lumberjacks in phallic play, with still another approach to apparel for the working man

R, O, and J. From my 6/25/19 posting “Fashion notes for Pride 2019”, about onesies, jumpsuits, and rompers:

Wikipedia: noun jumpsuit: a one-piece garment with sleeves and legs and typically without integral coverings for feet, hands or head

NOAD: noun jumpsuit: a garment incorporating trousers and a sleeved top in one piece, worn as a fashion item, protective garment, or uniform: she wore a tight silver jumpsuit.

NOAD: noun romper(s): a one-piece outer garment for adults, typically worn as overalls or as sports clothing: cashmere bodysuits and alpaca-jersey rompers.

[rompers are usually short-sleeved and short-pantsed; while a jumpsuit has leg coverings and typically has long sleeves, though short-sleeved and sleeveless jumpsuits are not uncommon]

Wikipedia attempts a definition entirely in terms of form, using perceptible features of the referents. But NOAD properly adds the crucial dimension of (cultural) function: what are these garments used for?

Then, again from NOAD:

noun … (overalls) North American a garment consisting of trousers with a front flap over the chest held up by straps over the shoulders, made of sturdy material and worn especially as casual or working clothes. Also called bib overalls.

Rainbow illustrations from the June 2019 posting:

(#4) A pride rainbow jumpsuit for women, from the TipsyElves site

(#5) The Getonfleek gay pride rainbow romper for men (it has a zipper fly)

I’ll get to overalls in a little while. First:

About Romperjacks. The company offers the full ROJ package: rompers, overalls, and jumpsuits. From its website:

Romperjack is a Men’s Premium Male Romper and Jumpsuit brand.  Our rompers have the perfect tapered fit and are designed to be stylish for every occasion.

Frankly, “for every occasion” is not even a remotely credible claim. Consider the ad from my posting yesterday (showing a romper and a short-legged overall):

(#6) Readers should find it easy to reel off a long list of occasions for which these (admittedly wonderful) garments would not be suitable: attending Easter Mass, officiating at Easter Mass, office work, corporate board meetings, weddings, door-to-door selling, university lectures (I have a previous history of teaching classes in bare feet and remarkable clothes, but that was flagrantly transgressive, and it was the 1970s), and on and on

The Romperjacks explicit selling points are good looks, comfort, and stylishness; the fun is implicit.

Swoveralls, comfy, glorious, and fun too. From the company’s site:

The comfiest thing you never knew you needed.

Combining sweatpants and overalls into one glorious masterpiece, Swoveralls are sustainably sourced, functional, and unbelievably comfortable.

Wearing clothes for fun risks being seen as dangerously un-masculine, so the Romperjacks and Swoveralls folks nervously downplay the fun factors, though obviously a big reason to wear these garments is that they’re a real kick. (Even the more modestly styled ones make me smile. But then I’m a guy who lives almost entirely in t-shirts and gym shorts, both of them chosen because they’re fun — either pretty or flagrant or, whenever possible, both.)

Swoveralls are either cotton or cotton-polyester blends. They are practical garments, coming with adjustable straps, inside zippered pockets, and jogger cuffs. In a range of colors and patterns going from plain butch to whoa-showy:

heather rose, heather grey, midnight black, forest green, dark athletic grey, ginger tiger, Dijon, navy, party red, light heather grey, peach fizz, blanca, tie-dye

Three illustrations:

(#7) In forest green, seen in action

(#8) In navy, viewed in repose

(#9) Kyle Bergman, the founder, in special-issue purple Swoveralls; there are even special-issue Donut Trip Swoveralls (purple with a bright red donut pattern)

Overalls originated as work clothes, designed to protect the (male) wearer’s body and other clothing from on-the-job insults (manure, blood and guts, engine grease, sparks, whatever), but then used as casual wear — a cultural development that similarly took bluejeans from tough workwear to virtually universal everyday informal wear. (When I put on long pants, they’re jeans.) And even as fashion wear.

Jumpsuits have followed a path similar to overalls. Which means that in plain serviceable fabrics and colors, both overalls and jumpsuits retain the masculine cachet of manual labor, dirty work of all kinds. As in these Enzo Jeans denim overalls from Amazon:


(Yes, the shoes are way non-butch. Boots, man, you need boots.)

Given the macho credentials of overalls and jumpsuits, it’s no surprise that they figure as common elements in gay porn (which highly values strong masculinity in desirable sexual partners). I offer you 5 pornstars in hardhats:

(#11) 5 hardhats: 4 fashion overalls and a fashion jumpsuit; a wonderful group display of butch fagginess — hardhat studs in work clothes, but in fashion fabrics and colors (simultaneously hard-driving tough and really queer, which makes them ideal fantasy sexual partners for man-desiring men)

And then Mike De Marko as a Raging Stallion fashion mechanic in a jumpsuit  (preparing for a bout of receptive sex with a co-worker):

(#12) Man’s got the heavy butch boots, but also the cute piping on the pockets of his lovely blue jumpsuit — everything Marko needs to get screwed at the garage

Zesties, outrageous rompers for smartass (straight) dudes who just wanna have (aggressive) fun and feign not giving a shit about what you think: “Zesties, the number one source for outrageous men’s fashion!”. The approach of men’s boxer shorts with comic patterns on them, now turned into outerwear and marketed to regular guys, guy guys, bros, and dudes, with a heavy accent on fun. From the Zesties site:

(#13) Zesties ad: [AZ:] bunch of dudes in Zesties apparel, mostly rompers; the guy down in front gives off the core attitude, even while the rest are smiling

At Zesties, we’re all about challenging the status quo. We aim to supply great products to those who want to live loudly and act boldly, all while reminding people not to take life too seriously.

Our exclusive styles are made with you in mind. We design cool fun styles we know you’ll love, tailored to fit Americans of all sizes. We invest in high grade fabrics and bright printed patterns to make your Zesties purchase make you stand out in a crowd!

The approach might be described as (aggressively) butch goofiness.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: