Ask Allie: How to Wear Peplums

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Dear Allie, can you give some pointers on how to style a peplum top? I see girls in my office wearing them and they're super cute, but with skinny black pants, I (and, to be honest, some of my coworkers), end up looking like I'm wearing a skirt that's too short with black leggings.

How do I balance wanting to show off my shape with not wanting something so full that I end up looking 3 sizes larger than I am? Thanks in advance!

Peplums, we all thought they would be a flash in the pan but from the look of things they’re here to stay, at least through the spring and summer. Here’s some tips on how to wear a peplum top so you don’t look as though you’re wearing a micromini with tights.

how to wear peplum with skirt

A pencil skirt is slim enough to show the shape of the peplum, but not as skinny as skinny pants so you have some shape. A work-appropriate pencil skirt is actually more of a straight skirt, ending right around your knee. Having the exposed leg below will actually make you look more covered and the peplum more appropriate.

Who says you can only pair a peplum with a skinny pant or skirt? Many a blogger (Atlantic-Pacific, me, Delusions of Grandeur, even Olivia Palermo) have successfully paired a peplum with a fuller skirt and found it to be quite an adorable silhouette. The key is to have the peplum out of a softer fabric (jersey, ponte, silk, sweater knit), so it works more like a ruffle than a shelf.

how to wear peplum pants

I have the Tahari “Hazel” pants and adore them because they are slim in the rear and on the thighs, but then gracefully flare out above the knee. This way they aren’t too bulky at the top, but still keep me from looking like a lollypop. I wore these pants with a peplum before and liked the look. A pant of a softer fabric (gabardine, silk, lighter-weight suiting fabrics) will drape nicely and not add too much bulk at your midsection. Consider a belt at the seam of the peplum top for additional definition.

Denim, even when skinny, never looks as skinny as regular trousers. A heavyweight pair of jeans in a classic shape (straight, mini bootcut) or a lightweight pair in a fuller silhouette (sailor, trouser) balances a peplum top quite nicely.

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  1. I’m with you, I didn’t think they would stick around for very long. Unfortunately, being bottom heavy, they just aren’t very flattering on me. Love these looks though. Especially the red and cream.

  2. I’m with Grace. Peplum tops are cute on other people, but I am long-waisted and I’ve never tried one on that hit me in the right place. The waist is always woefully off-target. I seem to have better luck with jackets than shirts, strangely. These outfits are all really cute, though!

  3. Those are all so cute! I love the peplum look on the rack/on others, but man does it ever not work on me! I think it’s a torso length problem–the seam is just in the wrong place. Like anything else, I guess–not every fashion works for every body!

  4. Looking at your outfit with the “Hazel” pants, it strikes me that a design element that helps your peplum is that the blouse is a bit high waisted. If you’ve got a straight figure it doesn’t matter where the waist hits, you can use the flare of the blouse to create the curves you don’t have. If you’re a curvy gal then a higher waisted top will have the peplum skirt flaring happily over your curves instead of your curves hanging out over the waist.

  5. Hey Allie! Thank you for the sweet shout out! It’s funny that you posted this today because I actually just walked through the door with an adorable peplum top that I found at Target while running errands. 🙂 I love all these looks and need to check out those Tahari pants.

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