The Peplum Is Back, and Yes, It’s the Trend That’ll Never Die

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I wore a peplum top to my eighteenth birthday party, and the resulting look was one of the only high school outfits I now don’t cringe at. In fact, I wish I still owned that top.

Peplums have long gone and in out of fashion. In ancient Greece, women rocked a garment called a peplos, which featured a bloused effect at the waist similar to the peplum we know today. And in ancient Rome, the peplum was a popular style for both men and women, with the overskirt being made from luxurious fabrics like silk and brocade.

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After falling out of fashion in the Middle Ages, the peplum made a triumphant comeback in the 19th century. During the Victorian era, women’s fashion emphasised a tiny waist, and peplum tops and styles were often used to accentuate this feature. Then, in the 1940s, the style was all about the hourglass silhouette, with the peplum playing a starring role.

Fast-forward to the 1950s, and peplum tops reached new heights of popularity, thanks to Christian Dior‘s “New Look”. This fitted jacket with a peplum emphasised the waist and quickly became a must-have for fashion-forward women everywhere.

Christian Dior’s “New Look” jacket, circa 1947. Photo: Pinterest

It’s no surprise that the peplum came back into fashion in the ’80s — an era known for bold fashion choices. They undeniably added a touch of volume and drama to any outfit, giving the body exaggerated proportions. As the decade progressed, peplums became even more exaggerated, with overskirts becoming longer and more voluminous. The peplum was even incorporated into jackets and blazers, with the addition of shoulder pads to create a strong, powerful silhouette.

Then, in the ’90s and early ’00s, peplum tops and dresses were more of a party outfit staple, rather than everyday wear. Y2K fashion is famous for it’s lack of structure, with minimal styling and relaxed fits. Whereas, peplums add structure to a look, giving the waist a distinct shape.

And now, in 2023, we’re seeing peplum tops and dresses revisited in diverse ways. The current fashion landscape is embracing a more playful and expressive aesthetic, with bright colours, bold prints, and statement-making silhouettes taking centre stage. Peplums fit right in with this trend, offering a fun and flirty way to add some volume and dimension to an outfit.

Robert Wun Spring/Summer 2023 Couture Collection at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Photo: Getty Images

We’re also seeing a fresh take on peplum tops and dresses in high fashion couture, from designers like Robert Wun. Playing around with 3D layering, Wun’s latest SS ’23 couture collection showcased a range of statement peplums that have been worn on red carpets by the likes of Florence Pugh.

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Other celebrities have been embracing peplums too, like Michelle Yeoh at the 2023 Golden Globes, where she wore an Armani Privé sequined gown, with a relaxed peplum style.

Michelle Yeoh wearing Armani Privé at the 2023 Golden Globes. Photo: Getty Images

That being said, we’ve got 4 different peplum tops for you to shop below.

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