Perplexing Peplum – How to wear it ?

April 28, 2014

Tina Fey gets peplum right, Michelle Williams gets it wrong

The peplum is the most irrational fashion trend since super-low hipster jeans. It has the potential to look terrible on every body type and seems to confuse, rather than attract the opposite sex; despite this the peplum has graced catwalks and burst onto the high streets in a big way.

Dior, Louis Vuitton (to name just two) have offered up peplum stylings and most of the chain stores  have followed their lead, from Topshop in UK to Sunny Girl in OZ and Glasson in NZ. But just because it is in all the stores doesn’t mean we actually know how to wear it.

First of all, what is a peplum? A peplum (pep-lm) is simply a ruffle or frill, usually around the waist, mid-waist, or lower waist, which covers the hips. It is thought to accentuate the shape of a woman by highlighting the curves from bust to hip. If done badly it simply causes a woman to look flouncy, complicated and dated. The most important tip is to try to avoid looking like you stepped out of an 80s Dallas rerun and attempt to channel 1940s Dior chic instead.

The easiest way dabble with the peplum look is a jacket. Teemed with a belt to cinch in the waist, skinny leg pants and heels to balance the shape the look gives a timeless silhouette with modern edge. A peplum jacket is a fairly safe option and those feeling brave should opt for fiesty colours or even floral, vibrant patterns. Cropped jackets look the best.

A little trickier is the peplum top. Try to avoid tops with too much fabric in the skirt. These can add pounds rather than shielding problem areas. Patterns and horizontal stripes on the lower half can also be a problem if you have a fuller figure. The frill should start lower if you want to elongate your waist. The peplum can be difficult to team with a jacket as the ruffle can look bunched underneath but you may find a cropped jacket or blazer, which works.

Tina Fey And Michelle Williams In Peplum Dress

Tina Fey And Michelle Williams In Peplum Dress

The peplum skirt or peplum dress is risky business. If you nail this look it’s a showstopper. A peplum skirt or dress creates a jaw-dropping silhouette. Get it wrong you will look like a granny’s bed spread (see Michelle Williams above). The modern peplum dress is about being sculpted, think bold and almost futuristic lines.

The peplum itself should be more of an accent than a ruffle or a frill. A peplum with less fabric will help to slim hips rather than adding to them. Stick to bold block colours or try accentuating curves by colour blocking. Minimize large hips and rear by wearing a darker colour below the peplum and an eye catching colour that pops above. To down play shoulders or bust, wear the dark colour up top. For an all-out slimming effect try a peplum dress in black.

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