With seven pages of peplum on the Topshop website and everyone from Scarlett Johansson to Kate Middleton being seen in a version of peplum (whether it be in skirt, dress or even jacket form); it can safely be said that the peplum has become a dominant part of fashion in the last few seasons and is continuing to be on the most recent fashion weeks and therefore the season to come. Yet one cannot deny they are a part of the fashion spectrum, there has still been much debate:
To peplum or not to peplum?
You’d have thought peplum would have been a one hit wonder, seeing as it’s an entirely unnecessary bit of extra fabric added onto the waist area and seems, at first look, entirely un-wearable. The last time the peplum was fashionable was the 1980s and was worn with massive shoulder pads, but nobody is trying to recreate that look (thankfully). The advice this time round is subtle; don’t go too big and puffy. Mary Katrantzou told Elle magazine, “keep the top part simple and waisted so the focus is on the silhouette it creates”. So basically if your dress has a peplum that’s probably the only sartorial display it needs. Justin from Preen suggests, “They need to have the right amount of gather, and they need to be short”.
Yet even with all this advice the peplum is very particular with so many scruples to consider and therefore not the easiest piece of clothing to wear. It could be said that one should proceed with caution if you have a bosom or don’t have a waist, if you have a body that’s short or hips that are voluptuous or legs that aren’t giraffe like. In fact, be on the safe side unless you have perfect proportions. It is safe to say I am not too sure on the peplum. I am not entirely convinced it would do anything to my figure but make getting dressed more difficult. Because, as most women will probably agree regarding their own figures (we all have things we’d like to change), my figure is not perfect. My legs are fairly short and I think a peplum would do absolutely nothing to rectify this.
But maybe I just haven’t found the right peplum for me. In all its variations there must be one that suits my figure. Designer Roland Mouret also told Elle, “the peplum tricks the eye. It is the modern way for a woman to disguise a part of the body that she might not love. For someone who does not have a lot of hip, it gives you a bit more of that attitude and for someone who’s got a little bit of stomach, it hides the situation”. Maybe I’ve been looking at the peplum in the wrong way. Maybe it can be for any shape or size if done in the right way for my figure. Mary Katrantzou thinks “there is something very elegant about classic in the proportions it defines”. Her lampshade dresses helped establish the exaggerated structured silhouette, which led to peplum phenomenon. It’s also pretty popular with men. Men love the hourglass figure and a peplum is very feminine and sexy. Kim Kardashian, for example, is a big part of the “bootylicious” culture we are currently experiencing and her fantastic curvy figure could be emulated with the peplum effect. It could be said that fashion is finally embracing curves in a big way. The soft feminine shape they elude is a huge testament to a Marilyn Monroe-esque figure and vintage glamour.
I think the peplum is definitely a question of proportion. It can be a wonderful way to evoke curves a woman never dreamt of but on some people it could look like what it is- an extra bit of pointless fabric which adds nothing to their figure. Therefore I would suggest to proceed with caution but do not let this put you off. The easiest way to embrace the peplum trend is with a top with a light peplum paired with some high waisted jeans and some heels. I myself think I need to go hunting for my perfect peplum and it may or may not work out, such is the nature of the peplum.