Bringing back the 1940’s peplum

A peplum should be an essential addition to your wardrobe this year. It brings charismatic femininity with a touch of vintage style. But what – exactly – is a peplum?
Jennifer Hudson in Peplum.
Jennifer Hudson in Peplum.

A peplum should be an essential addition to your wardrobe this year. It brings charismatic femininity with a touch of vintage style. But what – exactly – is a peplum? A peplum is a small over-skirt in a garment of clothing. The most common is a dress: but a peplum can be on a shirt, jacket or skirt.

A peplum first became tremendously popular in the 1940’s, and made a brief appearance in the 1980’s. However, it’s back for 2012 – and designers of all levels are bringing it out: from high-end designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Alexander McQueen and Burberry London to bridge designers like Marc Jacobs, Alice + Olivia, Milly and Nanette Lepore to the more affordable designers of TopShop, H&M and Target.

Multi - Grammy award winner Beyoncé and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson have scooped up the style, wearing a color variation of the Stella McCartney dress.

Peplum has caught the eye of so many because it instantly creates the coveted hourglass figure: minimizing the waist and accentuating the hips. That said, peplum can be tricky to wear. It can easily look over-powering, too frilly, or costume-like if you’re not careful.

How can you make sure you stay in style with a peplum? First, make sure you find a peplum garment that is structured. If the peplum looks like it could be a bed skirt or a curtain, stay away. Also, make sure that the peplum doesn’t have too much other styling: no bows, buttons or any other embellishments on the piece.

Second, accessorize. A peplum gives a soft feminine style, so it’s best not to go overboard and pull out your pearls and give yourself an updo. People might think you walked right out of the 1940’s! It is best to modernize the look with either a contrast in accessories: wearing the dress with ankle boots or an oversized clutch. Or – wear things very minimalistic: simple jewelry, hair down, and clean stilettos with no texture or bobbles. If you’re wearing a peplum skirt, be sure to wear it with a simple top. If you’re wearing a peplum jacket or top, wear skinny jeans.

Last tip: with the horizontal line of the skirt, it’s easy for peplum dresses to make you look shorter than you are, so make sure to wear a peplum with pumps. If that doesn’t cut it for you, you can wear a peplum in a jacket or shirt – still getting the look, but not having to worry about the height!

That’s our fashion scoop for this week. Got a thought? Trend you love? Style you hate? Send it my way.

 

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