Peplums: Curve-Enhancing Designs & the Jewels to Wear With Them

This spring, an important trend in women’s apparel incorporates a fit-and-flare silhouette often achieved with a design element called a “peplum.” The peplum, a short overskirt that extends down from the natural waist, either can be attached to a jacket or top, or can constitute a design feature of a skirt. Peplums are flattering on many women  in that they supply curves on a slender form with narrow hips, and, at the same time, accommodate generous hips and disguise them while highlighting the waist.

In the January 2012 issue of Glamour, the questions are posed: “How did peplums suddenly come into style? And how the heck do I wear one?” The magazine’s style director reports that she started seeing the trend on the street last year, and “knew it would be big when I saw Beyonce rocking a peplum dress at the Vera Wang spring show.” As the caption to the photo notes, the peplum dress camouflaged Beyonce’s baby bump. Glamour adds: “First time trying it? Pair a peplum pencil skirt with a plain white tee.”  Photos from the spring fashion runways of Givenchy, Nina Ricci, and Vera Wang illustrate variations on the look.

The December 2011/January 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar highlights peplum looks in its runway report. Here are looks from Dries Van Noten, Celine, Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, and Alexander McQueen. The Celine look includes a large bracelet on one wrist and there’s a hint of a metal collar peeking from underneath a collar on the Givenchy look.

The February 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar recommends that readers in their 50s “add flaring peplums for a hip silhouette.” Shown with the featured apparel is a cuff bracelet from Anndra Neen and a chunky ring from Yves Saint Laurent.

In providing options for styling a coral-hued button-front shirt, the February 2012 issue of Redbook  includes the suggestion: “Worn under a peplum blouse, the shirt adds a touch of fun while still looking structured and sleek.” The magazine accessorizes the look with a chunky silvertone bracelet from Lauren by Ralph Lauren. The other components of the ensemble are a top from H&M, shirt from J.Crew, skirt from Express, bag from Fashion Bug, and booties from Sam Edelman. The necklace shown on the page with the “retro-pretty” striped full skirt is from Marlyn Schiff.

The February 2012 issue of Elle identifies the peplum as one of the four key silhouettes of spring 2012 (the others being the boxy jacket, pleats, and the maxiskirt). In advising readers how to wear the peplum top, Elle states: “always pair with a rhinestone collar.” The silver-plated necklace  with Swarovski crystals pictured is by CA&LOU. Elle also advises wearing a peplum top with an elongated pencil skirt or cropped pants, chunky shoes, and a colorful bag.

The March 2012 issue of Lucky provides styling tips from the runway, including this recommendation for wearing a peplum top: “Cigarette pants offset the top’s girliness and balance its volume.” The chunky goldtone necklace and bracelet pictured are both from Ben-Amun. The model wears a top from Thakoon, pants from Calvin Klein, pumps from pourlavictoire.com, and bag from Furla.

In choosing jewelry to wear with a peplum look, consider Elle’s recommendation of a short collar-length necklace whether or not rhinestones are your thing. That style is also pictured in Lucky. A bit of dazzle near the face will balance the flare of the peplum. Of course, the appropriateness of a collar-length necklace will largely depend upon the neckline of the garments.

Alternatively, consider wearing a cuff bracelet, as shown in Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Lucky. The bracelet will draw the eye and bring additional emphasis to the peplum and the visually curvy figure it adorns.