Peplum Skirt

I couldn’t find any relevant skirt styles starting with ‘Z’ so I have decided to go back to a style that I think deserves a mention – the Peplum Skirt


How to say it:  pepluh m  skurt

Traditional Features: 

Peplum Skirt

  • usually straight or fitted shape through the body
  • flared, gathered or pleated piece of fabric added to create a hanging frill or flounce
  • flounce can be attached at the waist or the hem


…of the style: The act of adding an overskirt to create fullness around the body has been practiced as far back as Ancient Greece, where the women would tie a shawl (called a peplos) around their waists to create folds in the fabric over their hips, thus enhancing their womanly figure. Centuries later the men of the Renaissance period copied the Greeks, changing the position of the shawl so that it would emphasize the V-shape of the male torso, essentially doing the same thing for the male figure.

In the mid 19th century, after the hoop skirt and before the bustle skirt periods of Victorian fashion, women’s skirts were more conical in shape and often had a short peplum to emphasise the hips. These Victorian overskirts were not attached to the garments as they are now, but they were definitely the predecessors of the modern peplum.

The modern peplum became extremely popular in the 1930s and 40s and was regularly attached to dresses, jackets and skirts in various shapes and sizes. The curvy, feminine look created by the peplum remained in fashion in the early 50s but the style faded out of favour before the decade was over.

In the 1980s fashion turned towards highlighting and exaggerating the figure – big shoulders, small waists, long legs. This trend brought the peplum with its hip and waist enhancing attributes back onto the fashion stage for a brief period as designers like  Thierry Mugler and Yves Saint Laurent created peplums that were bigger and brighter than anything seen in the 30s and 40s.

The peplum’s popularity fell towards the end of the 80s, but since then the style has never really disappeared from the fashion stage. It has, however, experienced the highs and lows of changing trends, with the most recent high starting with the Jil Sander Spring 2011 collection. This collection is attributed with creating a revival of the feminine look that is still going on in the mid 20-teens. Peplums can now be found on almost every piece of women’s clothing and are so varied in their shape, size and styling that the Victorian roots of the design is often nothing more than a vague memory.

The 21st century peplum skirt is generally a straight or slim-line shape with a peplum of varying degrees attached at the waist or hemline. And while the who’s who of fashion are constantly debating over the pros and cons of the look, the everyday woman has definitely taken to the style and it doesn’t look like the peplum skirt will be going anywhere for a while.

…of the name: Peplum comes from the Greek word peplos meaning ‘tunic’ or ‘shawl’.

For more info on Peplums try Dandy Lioness, wiseGeek or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

21st Century Peplum Skirts

Despite the added width that the peplum directs at the hips, this style is strangely flattering and has made an impact in all levels of the market; from high-street teen brands to high-end bridal. Whether you prefer your flounce at the top or the bottom, the peplum is a classic, feminine skirt that will be wearable for many seasons to come.



GUESS Ralph Lauren

GUESS, Lauren by Ralph Lauren


***and that is the end of May. Finally. Thanks for your patience as I catch up on my alphabets! ***

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