What does peplum mean in fashion?

What does peplum mean and which body types does it suit?

You’ve probably heard the word peplum in conversations about fashion and been confused about what it means, so we’re here to help.

Here, we explain what peplum means, which body shapes it suits, and a brief history of peplum – plus gorgeous outfit inspiration and where to buy the trend now.

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What does peplum mean in fashion?

What does peplum mean?

Peplum is defined as ‘a short gathered or pleated strip of fabric attached at the waist of a woman’s jacket, dress, or blouse to create a hanging frill or flounce.’

The word peplum comes from the Greek word for tunic, and almost looks like an extra ruffle strip attached to a dress, top or sometimes jacket.

Which body shapes does peplum look good on?

Peplum dresses, skirts and tops suit every figure as they accentuate the waist, but they particularly well on hourglass shapes.

If you have an athletic figure with narrow hips, choose a peplum that sits precisely on your waist or an asymmetric peplum that’s longer at the side.

Those with pear-shaped figures should opt for flared peplum as it draws in the waist, while pleated peplum styles suits every body shape.

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Some dresses include a peplum design on the bottom of a dress rather than the waist, which is usually a looser fit. These work well on straighter body shapes, but it’s often about trial and error.

Wear Next encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and try all sorts of different clothes, regardless of what is said to work for you or is on trend.

What era are peplum dresses from?

Peplum designs date back to the 1940s, when they became popular in the US.

They came back into fashion in the 1980s too, before the trend fizzled out.

In the noughties, they were widely worn as a flattering way to accentuate the hourglass figure, with celebrities including Beyoncé, Victoria Beckham, Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian being spotted in peplum designs.

In 2021, longer dresses with peplum at the hem are most popular.

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Outfit Inspiration

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Buy now

topshop Black Textured Peplum Tea Top

Black Peplum Top, £15, Topshop – buy now

Ruffle-collar peplum-hem organic-cotton blouse

Peplum blouse, £115, Ganni at Matches – buy now

Black dogtooth frill hem mini dress

Dress, £36, River Island – buy now

Ruffle-neck leopard-print organic-cotton dress ganni

Leopard-print Dress, £215, Ganni – buy now

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