The History of the Onesie

The History of the Onesie

What is a onesie?

A onesie is a garment that you can wear to cover your child's body. Onesie is a versatile piece that can be worn in multiple ways. It can be used as outerwear to keep baby warm or as an outfit. The term "onesie", although it is commonly used as a generic term, is actually a trademarked term. Winston Churchill was part of the original inventors of the onesie. You may be curious about the fascinating history of the baby onesie.

Pyjamas and Union Suits, Bodysuits, Bodysuits, Boiler Suits and Siren Suits

First, let's look at the history of the baby onesie. This adorable piece of cloth with a wide neckline wasn't created randomly. It comes from an old history of clothing for adults.

The 17th century saw the first appearance of pajamas, also known as pyjamas in Great Britain. It would be interesting to learn what people used to wear to bed before that time. But that is a topic for another article. One-piece pajamas became available in 1880s. In 1930s silk one-piece Pajamas were fashionable evening wear.

However, the one-piece was not only used for sleeping. The Union suits, also known as Flannel Long-Johns, were popular undergarments among cowboys. They kept soldiers warm during Civil War. One-piece boiler suits were worn by railway workers in the Victorian Era. They protected themselves from soot, and any extra clothing that might have snagged on the boiler's opening. After Jules Leotard, a French trapeze artist, created a bodysuit that was suitable for the needs of physically active people, gymnasts, dancers, and circus performers had new freedom. (I bet you can guess the name it got. Jumpsuits or flight suits were essential for pilots in WWI to keep warm in open-air cockpits. These leather one-piece suits were replaced later by electrically heated suits that allowed pilots to fly higher altitudes.

German air raids often took place at night during WWII. This led to England being besieged. Residents were warned to flee their homes and seek shelter in the air raid shelters. These shelters were often far from their homes. The choice was between getting dressed up in their nightgowns or pajamas and running to safety, or remaining in danger. Winston Churchill had a different idea.

Churchill was possibly inspired by the bricklayers on his estate and ordered his shirt-makers create a series of one-piece suits that he called "rompers". What is a "romper"? It was a fashion statement for Churchill. He wore rompers in different fabrics to important meetings with heads state throughout the 1940's, 50's, and beyond.

Churchill's rompers were eventually referred to as siren suits. These are a useful garment that you can pull over your pajamas in case you need to go outside at night to respond to the siren. The suits were marketed as fashionable for women and as warm and comfortable for children. It is now possible to see the foundations of the onesie being built, and it will soon be born.

From dresses to rompers to onesies: The Baby Clothing Revolution

Children were dressed and viewed as "little adults" in the 18th century to combat high mortality rates and get into factories earlier. Queen Victoria, who was a big fan of Rousseau’s views that children should be treated differently to small adults, started dressing her children in sailor suits, and kilts. The world, her nation, followed her lead and soon everyone was wearing dresses to imitate the royal family. These dresses became more complicated and frilly, and less practical for children. Think of traditional christening dresses, but shorter. The boy's romper was an alternative to this. It was a one-piece garment that looked like a suit jacket and was attached to a pair shorts made from the same material. By the 1920's, the romper had replaced many dresses for boys.

The Great War, Great Depression and World War II rationing followed. Great Britain's mothers used coupons issued by the government to buy siren suits for their children. They also repurposed too small suits into other clothing pieces. In the 1950's, Walter Artzt, a native of Vienna, revolutionized the fashion world for children and the lives that were affected by it. The one-piece sleep romper was designed by Mr. Artzt who was then in the US and had a snap front to make diaper changing easier. It was called the Babygro and became a huge success.

The onesie gained popularity and became more common. The 1972 book 2010, Living in the Future, boosted the popularity of the onesie by claiming that everyone would be wearing one-piece jumpsuits made from lightweight, comfortable material in the future. The baby bodysuit is a hybrid of the Babygro romper and the toddler romper. Snaps allow baby to access their diapers easily. The onesie can be worn over an infant's head or slide down the body in case of a blowout thanks to the overlapping neckline. (Yuck!)


There are a wide variety of prints and colors available for onesie. The traditional color for babies was white. Blue and pink came to prominence but not in the manner you might expect. Blue was more feminine and appropriate for girls, while pink was considered masculine and suitable for boys. By the 1940's the colors had changed genders. In the 1960's and 1970's, unisex colors were popular. Gendered baby products dominated the market again after it became possible to predict the gender of a baby's sex before it was born.

Gerber trademarked "Onesies" in 1982. Since then, the term baby bodysuits has become a common term, despite Gerber trying to defend their trademark. Technically speaking, however, Gerber Onesies are the only true onesies. Other options include bodysuits and snapsuits as well as rompers, one-pieces, and rompers. You can continue to call them onesies unless you sell handmade bodysuits online.

There are many options for onesie extensions, including onesies that come in all colors and onesies that have a specific name or phrase. To keep babies warm in winter, romper pajamas are available in fleece and cotton romper sleepers in summer. Baby romper suits can be fitted with snaps or zippers and have either long or short sleeves. You can choose from onesies with frilly sleeves or without sleeves. There are also baby bodysuits that have little skirts or buns. Onesies and pajama-rompers can make a fashion statement. They are not just for babies anymore.

Onesies For The Whole Family

JumpinJammerz, a company that made footed pajamas for rock bands in 1998, produced them in adult sizes. Onesie pajamas became very popular and are now available on Amazon and Walmart. Although rompers aren't as popular as the pajama style, they have become a casual option for women. Baby rompers, and even unique onesies, are becoming more popular. You can even find onesies that have built-in baby monitors.

Onesies have a rich history, whether they are keeping babies warm or making them look cool. Winston Churchill might be the inspiration for your next baby romper.

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Sizing Chart

Since every baby grows at his/her own pace, measure the baby's height for the best fit. It is much more accurate than going off of the baby's age. Call us with any questions and we will be happy to help you determine the best fit for your baby.

Newborn Onesie's

Size Weight Height
Newborn (NB) 5-8 Ibs. / 2.3-3.6 kg 17-21 in. / 43.2-53.3 cm
0-3M 6-12 Ibs. / 3.6-5.4 kg 21-24 in. / 53.3-61 cm
0-6M Up to 16 Ibs. / Up to 7.3 kg 17-21 in. / 43.2-53.3 cm
3-6M 12-16 Ibs. / 5.4-7.3 kg 24-26 in. / 61-66 cm
3-9M 12-20 Ibs. / 5.4-9.1 kg 24-28 in. / 61-71.1 cm
6-9M 16-20 Ibs. / 7.3-9.1 kg 26-28 in. / 66-71.1 cm
12M 20-24 Ibs. / 9.1-10.9 kg 28-30 in. / 71.1-76.2 cm
18M 24-28 Ibs. / 10.9-12.7 kg 30-32 in. / 76.2-81.3 cm
24M / 2T 28-32 Ibs. / 12.7-14.5 kg 32-34 in. / 81.3-86.4 cm
3T 32-35 Ibs. / 14.5-15.9 kg 34-38 in. / 86.4-96.5 cm
4T 35-39 lbs. / 15.9-17.7 kg 38-40 in. / 96.5-101.6 cm
5T 39-43 lbs. / 17.7-19.5 kg 40-44 in. / 101.6-111.8 cm

Cotton Pajamas

Garments are designed to fit snug for child's safety.

Size Weight Height
6M 12-16 Ibs. / 5.4-7.3 kg 24-27 in. / 61-68.6 cm
12M 16-20 Ibs. / 7.3-9.1 kg 27-30 in. / 68.6-76.2 cm
18M 20-24 Ibs. / 9.1-10.9 kg 30-33 in. / 76.2-83.8 cm
24M / 2T 24-28 Ibs. / 10.9-12.7 kg 33-35 in. / 83.8-88.9 cm
3T 28-32 Ibs. / 12.7-14.5 kg 35-39 in. / 88.9-99.1 cm
4T 32-36 Ibs. / 14.5-16.3 kg 39-42 in. / 99.1-106.7 cm
5T 36-42 Ibs. / 16.3-19.1 kg 42-44 in. / 106.7-111.8 cm


New Balance Boys

17-19 inches
39-41 inches
19-20 inches
41-45 inches
20-22 inches
45-46 inches
22-23 inches
47-50 inches
23-24 inches
50-54 inches
24-25 inches
54-58 inches
25-27 inches
58-62 inches
27-28 inches
62-67 inches


New Balance Girls

Size Waist Height
4 17-19 inches 39-41 inches
5 19-20 inches 41-45 inches
6 20-21 inches 45-46 inches
6x 21-22 inches 46-48 inches
7/8 22-23 inches 48-52 inches
10/12 23-25 inches 52-58 inches
14 25-27 inches 58-61 inches
16 27-29 inches 61-63 inches