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Actress Lee Meriwether as Catwoman in 1966

A catsuit is a one-piece form-fitting garment that covers the torso and the legs, and frequently the arms.[1] They are usually made from stretchable material, such as lycra, chiffon, spandex (after 1959), latex, or velour, but may use less elastic materials, such as leather or PVC. Catsuits frequently close by means of a zipper at the front or back. A catsuit is regarded as outerwear, but not normally street wear. Catsuits are also used for sexualization or other types of sexuality.

History and use[edit]

A woman in a tight black latex catsuit.
A woman wearing a black plastic zip front latex fetish catsuit and thigh-high boots
Promotional models in sleeveless catsuits

Catsuits were occasionally worn as a fashion item at various times from the 1960s to the 1990s. During the 1970s and 1980s, they were worn for aerobics and disco dancing. Around 1980, disco dance catsuits briefly became a street fashion item in the United Kingdom.

Athletes in sports such as speed skating, bobsled, winter triathlon, ski-racing, cycling, bodyflight and gymnastics wear garments similar to catsuits, called unitards, which are specifically geared to the needs of the sport involved. Also similar in appearance are wetsuits and drysuits used by scuba divers, and the speedsuits used by competitive swimmers before the more extreme forms of the suit were banned. Also, in tennis Serena Williams would sometimes wear catsuits, two examples are the 2002 US Open and the 2018 French Open.

The name "catsuit" is attributed only since about 1955 or 1960.[2][3] Originally, they were called bodysuits. The origin of the name is unknown; it may refer to a slinky, catlike aspect given the wearer by some versions.[4] It may also relate to the association with superhero Catwoman whose costume from the 1950's onward is a modified catsuit. [5]

In popular culture[edit]

The catsuit is often worn in movies, television, music videos, and computer games.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Catsuit – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  2. ^ "cat suit". Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  3. ^ "catsuit". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  4. ^ The Sciolist. "catsuit (n.)". Etymology Online. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  5. ^ "The history of the catsuit". Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  6. ^ Finke, Nikki (11 March 2009). "Another Iron Man 2 Deal". Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  7. ^ "The Catsuit". 20 January 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  8. ^ Hardie, Beth (21 April 2009). "Celebrity catsuit queens –'s top 10". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Jolene Blalock - Biography". IMDB. April 2006., "Without my Vulcan catsuit, Frankenstein wig and pointed ears, I don't get recognized. I love the fact I'm a shapeshifter who can go unnoticed."

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Catsuits at Wikimedia Commons