Peplums have been seen on floor-kissing red carpet gowns, on sharp blazers and highlighted on a monokini in a beach editorial. So how do you decide what’s better for your body and personal style?

Firstly, it must be cleared that peplums have the capability to look rather unflattering on the body, if not worn properly. So you have to be mindful of what silhouette suits you, the colours that look good on you and the cuts favourable to your body. That said, they can also be highly flattering if worn right.

The unique aspect about a peplum is that it merely sharpens the already existing shape of the body. It’s not done with additional padding or layering of fabrics, but it’s the frill or flounce that comes down the waist and sits just above the hips, that directs the silhouette.

We gave a broad run-down of the flattering potential of the style in our peplum trend report – now here’s a more specific look at some dos and don’ts surrounding peplums.

peplum dos and don'ts
Above: peplums & pants; colour blocking to minimise hips; on-trend printed peplums.

Do:

  • Wear peplum with trousers, skinny or wide-legged pants, all depending on how long your legs are.
  • Style the colours according to the proportion of your body. For example: wear a darker tone peplum at the top to minimise broad shoulders and larger busts and team it with a lighter shade at the bottom. On the other hand a dark colour on the bottom with a light peplumed top visually slims the bottom half.
  • Allow peplums to make friends with other key trend pieces in your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to style prints, lace or mesh detailing with the peplum.

peplums and pumps
Above: go for peplums & pumps rather than ankle straps.

Don’t:

  • Wear ankle strap shoes or Mary Janes. Since the horizontal line of the peplum is already breaking the natural long lines of the body, avoid another distraction. Wear court shoes or ankle booties.
  • Choose fabrics that cling to you body, especially if you’re conscious. The peplum dress can be nasty in exemplifying every curve of your body. Pick from knits, chiffon and light cotton.
  • Mindlessly shop without giving your body a preview of the peplum. Do go to the shops and try on a few peplum pieces to test drive their fit on your body before making a purchase.
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