WHAT IS … PEPLUM DRESS
STYLE NOTES: The peplum dress has a double-layered skirt — the “peplum” itself is an overskirt of extra fabric to the skirt itself. There are two kinds of peplum overskirts: “fitted” (see left image, above) and “flared” (see left image, below).
Peplums were first popular on ladies’ fitted suit jackets in the 19th century. Peplums wouldn’t make a return until the ’40s, when they were popular not only on suit jackets but skirts and dresses, too.
HOW TO WEAR: Wearing the peplum dress in a modern way is a step down from the cocktail dress. The overskirt announces “I am a lady!” as if you were attending a special event where dress between the sexes is expected to be differentiated (think suits for guys, dresses for girls).
So, when wearing a peplum dress in a day situation, it’s important to note just how fancy you look so that you can accessorize appropriately. A cropped white cardigan would downplay the vintage dress (below, left) and a fitted black suit jacket would pair well with the modern version from Modcloth (below, right).
Last note: Always wear a peplum dress with heels. Because the style is a step below cocktail, you want to put your best foot forward!
WHO SHOULD WEAR: The peplum dress is like an hourglass figure whisperer — without having to do that whole “empire waist thing” over and over again!
If the peplum starts higher at the waist and covers the stomach slightly while still allowing the skirt to grace the hips, you’ve got yourself the perfect hourglass-flattering dress. A great example is the vintage style, shown left.
Narrow hip ladies, rejoice! The peplum dress can magically make hips appear on your body! Look for a peplum dress (see modern day example from ModCloth, below right) that covers your hips and not your stomach. That added overskirt layer adds volume to make it appear as if you are more voluptuous.