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Detail inspiration: the peplum

There is no doubt about the peplum having returned into fashion’s good graces the past few seasons. It’s a detail that has a vintage charm to it and can add a bit of fullness or layering over the hips. Not just relegated to use on dresses, it’s been showing up on separates like blouses and skirts as well. I pulled some of my favorite modern and vintage peplum inspiration to share with you—maybe you’ll be inspired to add one to an upcoming sewing project?

This dress from the spring/summer 2012 Alice McCall collection shows that peplums don’t have to be cut straight across. This one embraces the other trend for “waterfall” or cascading hems. A fun shape adds movement to the design—and the wide facing helps highlight it against the skirt.

This lace-trimmed peplum accenting a 1940s rayon dress is a bit of an usual example. But one I think is a great idea! Especially if you had an odd length of wide lace in your stash and want to add a little texture to you garment.

Ruffled peplums seem to rule in the world of vintage garments, but this blue dress from the 1930s shows that a flat, tailored peplum is a great alternative. I think it counteracts the oh-so-sweet polka dots nicely! When attached at the waistline of a dress such as this, it gives the look of a two-piece garment rather than one that is connected. Genius!

While technically this would probably be categorized as an overskirt, I think for those that feel shorter peplums wouldn’t quite suit them, this is a good example. This lovely pink checked example from the 1950s shows that peplum’s lengths can dip a bit and still look just as effective. The description also states that the peplum/overskirt has a layer of tulle netting to help with the fullness—a useful idea that can easily be incorporated into your own projects.

Images: Alice McCall s/s 2012, 1940s dress, 1930s dress, 1950s dress.

Casey Cartwright



June 27, 2012 #

I dont feel like I can wear garments with Peplum details as I am a pear shape and it just highlights that my bum is bigger than my top half. lol


July 3, 2012 #

I just watched a show where a very famous (can’t remember his name) states that a peplum is excellent for a lage bum or hip area and that it hides it, have you tried one on?


June 27, 2012 #

The lace trimmed peplum on that 1940’s dress is so pretty. I’m loving the look of peplums at the moment – in fact just yesterday I spotted a gorgeous navy lace pencil skirt paired with a simple black peplum top. Definitely one for my inspiration board, although being on the shorter and curvier side, I’m not sure how much it would actually suit me!


June 27, 2012 #

I just went to a clothing swap last weekend, and I got the most adorable white eyelet strapless bustier top that has a ruffled peplum that is edged at the bottom in red bias tape. I wouldn’t have thought that it was going to work for my curvy figure, but it looks great on me. Think it is because the peplum starts at my natural waistline, so it highlights the smallest part of my frame while covering my “pooch”. Try it out, you might be surprised.


June 27, 2012 #

That top sounds really cute! Good point about a peplum that starts at your natural waistline hiding bits you’d rather not display!

Maris Olsen

June 27, 2012 #

I LOVE peplums, tho I realize I have none in my closet currently. And I think they actually help camouflage the “pretty pears” of the world – especially if the fabric is soft and drapey. I just might need to make something with a peplum this summer….thanks for the darling inspirations!


June 27, 2012 #

I love peplums and flounces! I’m currently in love with peplums that are attached to the top of peg/straight pants ( They add such an interesting and feminine detail. I actaully wrote a post on peplums (or flounces) so check it out if you have time :)


June 27, 2012 #

I love that peplums are making a come back. I had a purple suit back in the late 80’s that had a peplum shape on the jacket and I just loved it. As they have been making a come back I made myself a top with a layered peplum in the back, and I just love how it turned out.

Oh and I love that first one you show above. It is such an interesting shape.


June 28, 2012 #

I’m starting to really think these are cute. There is one that is almost irresistable on Peggy Lee when she sings Why Don’t You Do Right (on youtube) :

love it


July 3, 2012 #

That surely is a beautiful dress on Peggy Lee but is that a true Peplum or a Bustle Back?


June 28, 2012 #

The Alice McCall dress actually made me think of the skirt drape on the Truffle dress – nice

Karen Hinson

July 3, 2012 #

The pink dress is my favorite. I love this look, since I have a straight shape, it gives me form.


July 3, 2012 #

If you want to see Peplums try this:–peplums-peplum-dress-24449.html



July 12, 2012 #

wow,it’s beautiful.i like that so much.


August 8, 2012 #

Just FYI, Burdastyle recently post a tutorial –

I have always loved peplums, in spite of the fact that I have narrow shoulders and a bit of a tummy. If they are not gathered (more like an A-line or circle skirt or somewhere in between) they actually do a great job at camouflaging! In fact, I would only wear a pencil skirt if it had one.