Pretty in Peplum
by Lauren Schmeer
Peplum has proven to be a trend with staying power, appearing on spring and fall runways alike, from Marni to Balmain — but this isn’t the first time the flirty flounce has made a style statement. Peplum-style dresses first became popular in the 1800s, flaring out over hoop skirts for ladylike demure. But it was Christian Dior’s New Look ensemble, introduced in the 1940s, with its nipped waist and padded hips, that made peplum truly iconic. Peplum continued to be a staple in the ‘50s and ‘60s, popular for the enhanced hourglass shape it created.
Modernized for the 21st century, Jil Sander’s Spring 2011 runway collection initiated the latest peplum revival. The collection maximized proportions with short, voluminous flares on tops and long skirts. This fall, peplum graced the runway at Tory Burch, Peter Som, and Zac Posen, and the trend only seems to be growing as we make our way into spring. Thakoon, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and Oscar de la Renta are just a few of the designers that embraced peplum for spring. The fun flares appeared in many different styles, ranging in length, fabric, structure, and pattern, from subtle to dramatic, and their variety leaves room for experimentation with different looks and fits.
Peplum can seem like an intimidating silhouette for the rest of us to embrace, but with the right fabric and length, it’s actually a style that flatters most women. Peplum plays with proportion to create a sophisticated hourglass shape, and best of all, it slenderizes by making the waist look smaller. Pair peplum tops with pencil skirts, wide-legged trousers, and ankle cropped pants or top off your look with a peplum jacket to cinch in your waist even while you layer. If you already have the curves, avoid more extreme styles in favor of a medium-length flare, and because peplum tops shorten the distance between your bust and hips, those with a short waist will be a fan of peplum skirts. Whether they’re subtle or structured, patterned or monochrome, a few peplum pieces can be the perfect update to add some flounce to your winter wardrobe and transition into spring.
A few of our favorites:
This article is featured in the January 2013 issue of WHIRL Magazine.
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