Peplum Dress


How to say it:  pep-luh-m  dress

Traditional Features: 

peplum dress

  • usually a 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
  • can have any kind of sleeve or neckline

21st Century Peplum Dresses

Despite the criticism that this style often receives, the peplum dress is all over the fashion marketplace at the moment. Short or long, with the peplum at the waist or the hem, the peplum dress has become a fashion staple in the 21st century with the style infiltrating every area of the market, from designer wear to high-street labels, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

McQ Alexander McQueen Alice & Olivia

McQ Alexander McQueen, Alice & Olivia

Laundry by Shelli Segal Ted Baker

Laundry by Shelli Segal, Ted Baker


…of the style: The peplum has been around since Ancient Greece, but didn’t make an impact on modern fashion until the 1930s and 40s, when the signature flounce appeared on dresses, skirts and jackets. The style faded out of fashion in the 1950s, came back for a short time in the 80s (although it didn’t last the decade), and experienced a significant revival in 2011 which has seen the peplum dress grace the fashion marketplace with its presence ever since.

The 21st century peplum dress comes in many guises, but is generally quite fitted through the body, with the peplum (in various shapes) creating interest around the waist or the hemline. Designers are constantly reinventing the style, playing with the shape, size and fabric of the flounce to create architectural shapes and keep the style fresh and new.

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

For more info on the Peplum check out our posts on the Peplum Skirt and Peplum Top

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