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The Forever 21 Jumpsuit That Led to the Best One-Night Stand of My Life

Thank goodness for wardrobe malfunctions.

Couples kissing Photo: Robert Deutschman/Getty Images

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I was in the pitch-black basement bathroom of the neighborhood bar that played really good hip-hop when the left strap of my Forever 21 jumpsuit ripped. Had there been any breeze in this bathroom, the triangular fabric once covering my boob would have flapped in it.

Before it fell apart, I thought I was the fucking shit in this jumpsuit. It was black with wide cropped legs (a first for me), and it dipped so dangerously low in the back that going braless was a non-negotiable (definitely not a first). The only other items I wore it with in the summer were a thong, a gold-plated belt purchased for too much from a long-ago-closed Lower East Side boutique to define my waist, and sandals. It cost $27.50; I regularly place Seamless orders for more than this. But something doesn’t need to be expensive to make you feel like the fucking shit — it just has to fit right.

Unfortunately, getting it to “fit right” is what got me into this mess in the first place. (Or maybe steadily drinking for hours on end had, but I digress.) I had put on the jumpsuit approximately 12 hours earlier to attend my friend’s “coming out” party — this refers to the debut of her natural hair after it had been hidden under a weave for years, not her sexual orientation — and at some point during the day, my friends had tightened the straps enough so I could undo the snap closure between my breasts and show off as much sternum/cleavage as humanly possible. It didn’t allow for a ton of movement, but that was beside the point.

Between my friend’s buzzy new hairstyle and our general alcohol buzz, I couldn’t waste the good vibes we had going on even after my wardrobe malfunction. I made my way out of the dark bathroom and shouted a quick explanation to the group over the pulsating bass before marching back to my place, jumpsuit strap and triangular fabric balled up in my fist, determined to change and continue partying.

(This wasn’t even the first time this jumpsuit had broke: That same strap popped the very first time I tried to wear it, on my birthday. But rather than take this as a sign that I had purchased a flimsy piece of crap, I asked my mom to sew it back up for me.)

In the four-block walk between the bar and my apartment, Andrew happened.

“Hey, are you up to anything right now? Wanna get a drink or something?”

I was halfway past him by the time he finished his sentence, so I whipped around to see who was talking to me and to let the jumpsuit dramatically swish around my calves. I looked up, because he was tall. I turned one ear to face him a little better, because the Australian accent caught me off guard and I was also probably a little deaf from being in that bar. He was alone, but not in a sketchy way — like he had just left his own 12-hour bacchanal with his own friends and was on to his next adventure. His outfit was intact, by all accounts; as far as I could tell, he had no clue how dangerously close my boob was to exposing itself.

He was also strikingly beautiful, with a close crop of reddish hair and light blue eyes un-menacingly towering above me. I truly didn’t think anyone who looked like that could be into someone who looked like me. So just like that, my evening was free.

“Yeah, but my outfit is literally falling apart so can we go back to my place first and then go out?” (You’ll have to understand that all dialogue in here is approximated, since this was now almost two years ago, and also alcohol.)

If Andrew was feigning cluelessness at my near-nakedness at this point, he feigned it very well. We rounded the corner and talked about god knows what until we made it upstairs to my studio apartment and I changed from a broken Forever 21 jumpsuit into a not-broken Forever 21 jumpsuit of similar scantiness in the bathroom, like I was being modest or something. Upon my reveal, Andrew made a noise that could only be described as a guffaw to signal approval of my new look. Then we kissed. And if you think we went out after that, you’re technically not wrong — we left with all intention to go to a bar, or so I thought, but decided in the extremely short walk between his place and mine that nothing would be better than the bottle of red wine he had waiting in his kitchen.

What followed is unpublishable here because it didn’t involve any clothes, and this is a site about how and why we shop for clothes. So let’s just say we did some really unpublishable things that night, the next morning after a sleep that’s better described as a four-hour nap, and again that afternoon back at my place after breaking for showers, breakfast, and coffee, until Andrew left to go finish up some work at his Midtown office on a Sunday. So he said.

I rode out the end of summer without the jumpsuit, leaving it balled in the corner of my closet in case I tried to Macgyver a fix myself. I didn’t; instead, I found it online on Black Friday and added it to my cart immediately. More than a year later, this version of the jumpsuit is still in tact and has not directly led to any mind-blowing one-night stands. I’ve even found less slutty ways to wear it (read: I now layer tees and turtlenecks underneath) so I can use it year-round.

But while the jumpsuit re-entered my life, Andrew never did. Stray text messages passed between us that week, all initiated by me (they’re always initiated by me), but they never materialized into meetings. A number of men I don’t care to quantify have come and gone since then, and my closet’s been padded with a few more jumpsuit options, too. But I really can’t wait for it to get warm again so I can wear this one with hardly anything else. And if I find myself particularly adventurous on a summer night when a vibrator just won’t do, I might be ripping that stupid left strap myself.