If it’s winter, getting dressed is easy. No matter what day it is, I know exactly what I’ll be wearing: the Universal Standard Next to Naked bodysuit. I own four. It’s my blank slate for getting dressed.
As soon as I learned about Universal Standard and its inclusive range of sizes (which include everything from 00 to 40), I immediately wanted to support the company by buying something. I chose the Next-to-Naked bodysuit because I loved its streamlined look. Because of its sweat-wicking, antimicrobial fabric, Universal Standard groups the bodysuit with its Activewear collection. And at first, that’s how I wore it. I put a tank on over it and went to barre class, where I no longer had to worry about yoga pants riding down or a sports bra riding up. What I really appreciate, though, is the comfort this one-piece gives me while bike riding. No matter how low I bend forward over my handlebars, my back is always warmly (and modestly) covered. On days when it’s too windy or icy to ride, forcing me to walk along the river instead, I wear the bodysuit as a base layer under track pants and a thermal jacket.
After exercising in the bodysuit, I was so comfortable that it was hard to convince myself to change back into regular clothes. Instead of fighting that feeling, I gave in. I bought a second bodysuit and started experimenting with everyday use. A week later, I bought two more. If I’m just working around my house or running errands, I wear it with a tee (or a flannel shirt) and a long grandpop cardigan and stompy boots. Because I wear a lot of unstructured pull-over dresses in the winter, the bodysuit goes on first — one smooth column of color that eliminates the need for distracting and uncomfortable paraphernalia like camisoles, slips, or tights.
It is simultaneously utilitarian and luxurious. The adjustable straps (which never slip), the higher neckline, and the upper-rib-cage seam give some breast support, and the contoured waistband keeps the bodysuit flat across the midsection, where no one wants any extra fabric. It is insanely soft, comfortable, and liberating. If I didn’t appreciate it so much, I might actually forget it was there.
When I explain my bodysuit’s versatility to my friends, most seem to be fixated on one thing: Do I have to pull it down for bathroom breaks? Yes, is the answer. I do. But I am not a toddler. I can figure that out, and it’s absolutely worth it.
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