The Cozy And Quirky History Of The Onesie; Even before the jumpsuit made its comeback, babies and toddlers weren’t the only ones rocking one-piece outfits

October 5, 2021 – Huffington Post – Onesies, bodysuits, snapsuits. Whatever you call them, if you’ve got a baby in the house then you probably have dozens of these.

Technically “onesie” is a trademarked term that’s been owned by Gerber Products Company since the early 1980s. As the Gerber Childrenswear website states, “The Onesies® trademark, or any confusingly similar variation thereof (e.g., “Onesie” or “Onezees”), may not be used as a generic descriptor or a noun; it should be used only as an adjective, when referring to the Onesies® brand by Gerber®.”

Still, despite Gerber’s “aggressive” approach to protecting their trademark, Americans tend to use the word colloquially to refer to pretty much any one-piece infant outfit. And American parents certainly continue to dress their babies in onesies ― Gerber-official ones or otherwise.

But have you ever wondered where this type of garment came from and how it became so ubiquitous? It turns out the onesie has many interesting precursors and links to historical events.

Union Suits And Blanket Sleepers

While the word onesie tends to suggest those short-sleeved, legless bodysuits, people also use it in reference to the one-piece, long-sleeved pajamas babies wear. And it was that style of garment (minus the foot fabric) that started getting popular in the late 19th century.

The “union suit” was a sort of long one-piece underwear with roots in Upstate New York during the dress reform movement, aka the rational dress movement of the Victoria era. Though earlier versions of it existed, the first union suit was reportedly patented in 1868 with the descriptor “emancipation union under flannel.” This garment offered an alternative to constricting corsets and bustiers for women though it also became a fashionable option for men and children.

The union suit was traditionally made of flannel with buttons up the front and a flap in the rear known at various times as a “drop seat,” “bum flap,” “access hatch,” “fireman’s flap” and other raunchier names. Over time, two-piece thermal undergarments (i.e. “long johns”) replaced union suits as the go-to choice for “under flannels” in the 20th century.

Still, children were rocking a one-piece clothing item at bedtime ― the blanket sleeper. In the 19th century, a Michigan textile worker named Whitley Denton reportedly invented a special “sleeping garment” for children that came to be mass-produced under the name “Dr. Denton’s blanket sleepers.” The design was initially similar to union suits, but it evolved with new developments like the invention of the zipper.

In the 1950’s, a Vienna native living in Pennsylvania named Walter Artzt changed the onesie game when he invented a one-piece sleepsuit with strategically placed snaps to make diaper changers easier. He trademarked the name, “Babygro.”

Read more at Huffington Post.