A Bodysuit, Teddy, or Romper? What's the Difference?


If you’re wondering how a bodysuit is different from a teddy, and when to call it a romper or a bodysuit, here’s how to break it down. The terms used for similar items of risque lingerie and sleepwear are below. 

The Similarities & Differences

There are very few differences between a teddy, romper, or bodysuit. These are all one-piece lingerie styles. That means they have a top and bottom that are connected to each other. Since every lingerie brand defines styles differently, the same style that one brand calls a teddy might be called a romper by another. 

The word “teddy” might feel a little outdated to some younger, fresher brands. While other, more traditional brands use it to refer to similar items. Interestingly, some brands use both, depending on the types of items that they provide to their customers.

Romper and bodysuit seem to be more contemporary lingerie descriptions because of the young, almost childlike connotation that they use. In fact, the styles described with this term also tend to be more casual and less sexy. Comfort is emphasized, over seductiveness.  

Traditionally, a teddy was a sexy date night or wedding night lingerie style, because it’s typically very form-fitting with sexy details or materials like lace, sheer mesh, or even latex. A romper, on the other hand, is often made of comfortable, soft fabric and is intended as to be worn as loungewear or to sleep in. Keep in mind, whatever you or your partner find sexy is up to you! And, every brand has their own set of 'rules' for how they define each style.

One thing is for sure, ever since the teddy has evolved into such a skimpy, risqué style, some new, modern lingerie brands are going back to the loose-fitting versions. Inspired by the vintage teddies of the 1920s and 30s, these brands are creating new versions - and some are calling them a romper or playsuit, especially if they're extra modest.

Is a Teddy a Bodysuit?

A form-fitting teddy can sometimes be called a bodysuit, especially if it has high-cut legs. In most cases, the purpose of wearing a teddy is to look sexy in the boudoir. This is a real "lingerie" item. 

A bodysuit usually has a different purpose. In most cases, a bodysuit is an undergarment or clothing item in addition to being a lingerie item. Plenty of pretty bodysuits that are very functional lingerie pieces, as undergarments. It can also be a shapewear style or a type of clothing worn for exercise. Remember aerobics looks from the 80s? These bodysuit styles would not be called a teddy.

Can You Tell the Difference?

All three styles are represented in the photo above. See if you can guess which style is which.

The first lingerie style, by Eberjey, is technically called a teddy. It's the 'Veronique' teddy, and it was available at Journelle. The pretty summer teal shade is called Emerald, and it has lightly lined bra cups with a lace overlay. It's a soft knit fabric that is comfortable, and the bottom is finished with a pretty scalloped lace trim. This teddy has a more loose fit and casual fabric than most teddies. 

Next up, a romper or 'playsuit,' by Beautiful Bottoms. It's called the 'Flush Drop Back' Playsuit since it has a sexy, open back and is was also available at Journelle. This style is made from a sheer mesh in a pretty peach. It has adjustable straps and a keyhole tie front with an elastic waist. Check out the latest rompers from Journelle. 

The bodysuit is shown last, on the far right. It's far more form-fitting than the other two styles. It's the Rio Violetta bodysuit by La Perla, also previously available at Journelle. It has a built-in plunge bra, with lace straps that criss-cross in the back and includes a pretty lace overlay on the front. Shop more bodysuits, including sexy and workwear styles from Journelle.

While these three lingerie items share several traits, they are each called by a different name. The key thing to remember: no matter what it's called, wear what makes you feel your best.

Updated by Kim "Kimmay" Caldwell 9/30/16