One of the latest fashion trends surging through American society is the peplum. It has been found on countless celebrities in recent months, and certainly doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. Peplum has been seen on stars such as Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson, and Blake Lively. Since this trend seems to be here to stay, at least for a while, it begs us to look at what it is and where it came from.

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What is Peplum?

A cute and certainly chic style, peplum is defined by The Free Dictionary as “a short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress.” The peplum originated in Ancient Greece, and it has struck the fashion industry with a vengeance. The style can be seen from the high-end fashion runways to the streets.



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Where did Peplum come from?

Peplum derives from the Greek word péplos, which was a loose fitting outer garment draped in folds that was worn by both men and women in ancient Greece. The overskirt that defines the peplum look was created by belting a chiton. This was a large rectangle of fabric pinned at the shoulders. The overskirt effect that belting the chiton created was called the péplos. By attaching a circle of fabric, the peplum re-claimed femininity in an era previously dominated by the masculine influences of war. Throughout the 30’s and 40’s, the peplum is showcased by icon Joan Crawford and Wallis Simpson. But designers Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli were the ones to transition the look to the runway.


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The peplum is a flattering style, highlighting aspects of femininity such as a small waist or a curvy figure. This idea was prolonged in Dior’s New Look line in the 1940’s. Of the time designer Christian Dior said, “We were leaving a period of war, of uniforms, of soldier-women with shoulders like boxers. I turned them into flowers, with soft shoulders, blooming bosoms, waists slim as vine stems, and skirts opening up like blossoms.”


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Since then, peplum has evolved over the years, appearing in many different women’s styles—including dresses, suits, tops, and skirts. The fashion has resurfaced again as styles have changed. And now it’s back in the spotlight.

Why is peplum so popular?

Peplum has been circulating fashion trends for a while now. The big reappearance of the peplum outline came in the Spring 2012 New York fashion show. Featuring the peplum at that time were designers such as Jason Wu and Stella McCartney.


Photo courtesy of Jason Wu Spring Fashion Show

What seems to bring the peplum back again is its stunning femininity. It can be flattering on any figure, and immediately brings style and chic glamour to any outfit. But it is also sleek and even sexy. It is form-fitting to the alluring aspects of the female body, and just enough fit and flare to lead the eye. Since the concepts in fashion styles of late are classy yet feminine, its no wonder the peplum is shining so brightly.

In fact, peplum has become so popular again that it has infiltrated bridal couture. Peplum wedding dress designs have appeared in the runway shows of the Spring 2013 collections of Romona Keveza and Carolina Herrera, among other designers.


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Peplum is clearly a fashion design to be reckoned with. It has shown through the ages of couture. The style is flattering, feminine, and fun—a fashion statement any woman would love! It seems to be a lasting trend to put in the record books.

What do you think? Is peplum here to stay?