A peplum is a short flared piece of fabric that is attached to shirts, sweaters, jackets and dresses, adding a feminine flounce that accentuates the waist and hips. In the case of a dress, the peplum functions as a sort of short overskirt, adding embellishment to an otherwise plain silhouette.
Looking back through history, we see the peplum accenting 18th century gowns, giving further definition to corseted waists and bustles. The modern peplum style appeared in the 1940s in dresses, jackets and women’s suiting. And we can’t even think about a 1980s party dress without envisioning the ubiquitous peplum! More recently, the trend has taken a more sophisticated turn with tailored, pleated, and asymmetrical peplum designs.
Peplum dress design is pretty varied, with a number of different silhouettes featuring the style. You can find peplum tank dresses, peplum body-con dresses, peplum sheath dresses, peplum gowns . . . you name it. With so many silhouettes to choose from, it’s easy to find a peplum style that works for you. Look around for a peplum design that plays up your best features and minimizes any problem areas. The great thing about peplum is that it can both accentuate and hide!
Peplum brings something special to a dress, and completing an outfit doesn’t really take much, since the design really speaks for itself. Special occasion or cocktail peplum dresses, especially those with metallic or lace embellishment, look great with a strappy sandal and simple clutch. A black sleeved peplum dress makes great office wear, and pairs well with a colorful pump and statement tote.