AS ONESIES continue to take over the high street, reporter Jeremy Culley tries out the must-have fashion for himself.

THE fashion craze of the moment — the onesie — was once entirely the domain of women and children.

This time last year, most men looked on with scorn as Joey Essex and the One Direction boys attempted to pioneer the male take on the trend.

“It’s stupid, a babygrow” came the cries, with even more adventurous, extroverted types mulling it over before concluding, “It’s not for me”.

But now the lads are getting in on the act.

Across Bolton shops are stocking — and selling out of — the male onesies.

So, to my initial dismay, since the chaps have embraced the onesie I was despatched to Beales department store in Deansgate to see what all the fuss is about.

Their popularity was immediately clear, judging by their scarcity on the rack.

Coming in three varieties, Beales stocked a dozen of each at £39.99.

With sale prices slashed to £20, Beales provides a luxurious and affordable introduction to life with a onesie — for those of a certain size anyway.

At 6ft 2ins tall and broad-shouldered, I found sourcing a perfect fit tricky.

Available in two sizes, the small-to-medium version was never likely to cut it, yet even the medium-to-large was a bit of a squeeze.

Joe Shepherd, manager of the menswear department, having worked in retail for 40 years, said: “You actually get plenty of women coming in buying them for their partners.

“I had a few come in saying ‘I’m getting this, but I’ll be back in a few days to return it as he won’t wear it’.

“And they’re pretty much the only ones we’ve now got left.

“They have been incredibly popular, much like the women’s range was last year.”

Beales is not alone in pushing the line of male onesies — Next, BHS, Primark, Jacamo, George at Asda and New Look all offer gentlemen the relaxing lounging option.

Still though, decked out in an understated (if a onesie can ever be such a thing) Christmas version, their, up to now, enduring appeal started to make a modicum of sense.

They are comfortable and, despite my onesie debut being made very publicly, you do gradually feel less conspicuous.

But you don’t buy clothes to be surprised that they don’t leave you feeling mortified.

Granted a onesie is not yet meant for outdoor use — but these days boundaries are stretched.

Hen and stag parties have onesie themes, while sometimes people simply put a coat over their onesie or PJs to nip down to the shops. None of this bodes well when you think about it.

In the 1950s, a man was not “dressed” without a tie, blazer and hat — quite what they would have made of trackies, hoodies and Reebok Classics can only be imagined.

Yet these are now all worn as commonplace, and the next generation could grow up with the onesie an institutional part of their upbringing.

I, for one, think that would be a step too far.

Clearly, women no longer hold total dominance over the onesie, although they may often be complicit in dressing their partners to match them.

But you still sense most men would prefer to be safely esconced in a tried-and-tested dressing gown.

After enthusiastically espousing their virtues as the retail pro he is, Joe, from Beales, briefly showed his true colours.

When pressed over whether a onesie might sneak into his wardrobe, he said, after a pause: “No, I think I’ll pass if it’s all the same.”