Republique du Chiffon Dominique

Republique du Chiffon Dominique

A strange thing happens when you wake up one morning and find yourself in your 40s. All of a sudden there seems to be a new set of rules for getting dressed, and you may find yourself second-guessing outfits that you slipped on without a thought when your age started with a 3. ‘Is this too tight for me?’ ‘Is this too short for me?’ ‘Am I turning into MUTTON DRESSED AS LAMB?’

A quick google of 40s-appropriate dressing tells me that while you can still be fabulous, you really need to shut up and do the following:
– Don’t wear black against your face – substitute for charcoal or navy;
– Keep skirts on the knee or lower, unless you’re wearing tights;
– Put the cleavage away please;
– Get a nice white shirt and wear it with everything;
– Cut your hair;
– Save us all from those saggy elbows and flabby upper arms by avoiding sleeveless tops;
– Wear Spanx, thanks;
– Wear a higher heel to avoid looking mumsy;
– Avoid fashion ‘trends’ like jumpsuits and stick to classics;


Republique du Chiffon Dominique


While I’d like to think we’re confident enough by the time we hit 40 to ignore yet another set of rules designed to make women feel insecure and body-shamed, I’ve noticed among my gang of smart, lovely and amazing mates that the fear of turning into mutton is real. And nothing seems to divide age-appropriate opinion more than the humble jumpsuit.

Maybe it’s the name. Jumpsuit, playsuit, onesie, romper – none of these terms really scream ‘grown up’. But if the name is the only thing putting you off, whatever your age, I’d urge you to reconsider the all-in-one. I accept they’re not for everyone, but after quietly sitting on the fence and observing for a good couple of years, I’ve come to the conclusion that jumpsuits can be flattering for many ages, shapes and sizes, as well as totally fun. So I decided to jump in (sorry, godawful pun) with the Republique du Chiffon Dominique – a button-up, 80s-influenced jumpsuit.


Republique du Chiffon Dominique


We’ve made a few RDC patterns here at Bombazine, and love the drafting and lines. Translating the French-only patterns has provided hours of challenges and laughs, but English versions are now available, so future projects may come together more quickly and easily than this one. Having said that, the Dominique is quite straightforward (for a collared garment) and the illustrations are clear, so there were limited ‘MON DIEU’ moments.

Because I’m tall and body length can be so varied, I made a toile before I started this project in earnest. I’m really glad I did, as I needed to add more than an inch to the body – it would have been unwearable otherwise. I think I could have added more, it’s a tiny bit short in the bum. The only other change I made to the pattern was to hand stitch the bottom of the placket rather than run buttons to the end, as I wanted to avoid a bedazzled crotch (no judgement ladies, just not right for me).


Republique du Chiffon Dominique


My fabric is a Merchant and Mills 5oz denim, which is drapey, lightweight and great for summer sewing. I was forewarned by Stitch 56 when I ordered it that the freshly cut cloth is quite shiny until washed – sure enough I could almost see my face in it when it arrived, and freaked that my romper would be a very literal take on the 80s. Miraculously the shine really does disappear in the wash, leaving behind a gorgeous soft denim with just a bit of polish. If you scroll down to the pattern cover pic below you’ll see I’m not really adding much to the conversation about the Dominique by choosing denim – there are many similar (identical!?!) versions out there, but it works well in blue, and I’m a denim tragic.

I’ve been wearing this jumpsuit a lot and I’m really happy with it. It’s comfortable, fun and makes getting dressed so easy – one decision. As for whether it sneaks past the Mutton Police? I’m doing my best not to give a crap – life’s too short for more rules.


Republique du Chiffon Dominique


All-in-one inspiration
Lena Dunham does high and low onesies so well.
I know the bar is set impossibly high when you seek inspiration from a supermodel, but check out Christie Turlington in this denim all-in-one.
Do you think Tilda Swinton ponders the rules before she slays it in a jumpsuit? I don’t.
I dare anyone to tell Barbarella that rompers are only for young people.
We love you forever Ziggy Stardust. With heavy hearts.
And jumpsuit of the century award goes to Solange and her caped wedding onesie. I couldn’t love her more.

Sewing inspiration
I really love this Marilla Walker onesie on the Drapery blog – I’d like to try that pattern;
Jolie Bobines is the Dominique queen – this one is my favourite;
Chambray-loving respect for this Top Notch Japanese pattern hack.


Republique du Chiffon Dominique


Republique du Chiffon Dominique

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  • Kate you look amazing in this. The work-woman-ship is amazing too. That top stitching. Those buttons! And with regards to that list of ways to dress when your in your 40s… I refuse to do any if them. Partially on principle but mustn’t because they aren’t me… The last white shirt I wore was part of my school uniform!

    • Thanks Anna, you’re very kind. I’m trying to work on my details and top-stitching, nothing like close-up photos to force a lazy sewist to lift her game! You were lucky to have a white school shirt – mine was buttercup yellow and made everyone look jaundiced. Maybe that’s what set us up to be wary of rules!

  • Aaaah, the truly magical transformative powers of the jumpsuit! It’s super fabulous – it’s got a real Rosie the Riveter chicness to it that I adore. There’s a reason the most chic are in dark solid colours or denim – they are the perfect combination! THAT needs to be one of the rules! I aspire to be as stylish in my 40’s!

  • I must find a way to keep coming back to your blog regularly because it doesn’t work with my antiquated Blogger reading system, boo. Anyway I totally love this and I’m a bit jealous of your buttonhole cutting tool! And yeah, at exactly ‘mid-40s’ I am still a bit in denial of the rules. Actually one thing I have been conscious of is trying to keep my silhouette simpler, and for that I reckon the jumpsuit is a winner, ha 😀

    • Thank you for your comment Jane – I confess your Marilla Walker jumpsuits sealed the whole jumpsuit deal for me – I love them. Agree that keeping the silhouette simple is the way to dress in this challenging decade. Then maybe go totally crazy and over the top in our 50s…?!