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How to Wear a Peplum if You Have Curves

Peplum details for all women shapes

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Okay, usually I don’t write about clothing that I haven’t worn myself, but peplums are so in with the In Crowd, I’m thinking about trying on a peplum dress or top (in the luxury of my own home, through the magic of online shopping).

As you can imagine, I’m not quite ready to try on this new trend in a Nordstrom dressing room where some young sales associate, who I don’t know and shouldn’t care about, might see me.

Read tips about peplums and how to use them to make your body look proportional

Peplum Top With Skirt

What is a Peplum?

If you grew up in blue jeans, you might not know much about peplums. A peplum is a short overskirt or flounce, usually attached to a jacket or dress. Well, if you try to picture Joan Crawford in a suit, your mind will eventually show you a peplum jacket. However, peplums can also be found attached to sweaters, skirts, and even pants.

Why Would Anyone Want to Wear a Peplum?

Although I don’t think I’ve ever worn a peplum in my life, I have an easy time visualizing different silhouettes on various body types. Therefore, you can count on me to search the internet, give you the best info, and shield you from any wrong advice from young, skinny, but well-meaning, bratatatat teenies. (Well, I do make mistakes every now and then, but most of the time, I’m spot on.)

One of the best quotes about finding the right peplum for your body comes from The Telegraph. According to Hilary Alexander, “The secret of a successful peplum is in the cut and fit, and the balance between shoulder, hip and waist to achieve that all-important hourglass silhouette.”

In other words, a peplum can make you look like schnizzlefits if you don’t get it just right. However, do not give up on the idea just yet, because a good, well-proportioned peplum can make your waist look smaller and become the focal point of this modern look.

What Kind of Peplum is Right for You?

Read tips about how to fix your body shape with peplum clothing.

Sexy Peplum Dress

Peplums come in all kinds of silhouettes. There are various shapes and sizes, like frilly and ruffled or stiff and architectural. Some peplums are so small they’re barely noticeable, while others are the only thing that anyone will notice. And, in theory, there is a peplum style that will look great on you, by camouflaging your fat tush or balancing out your top-heaviness. The trick is to find the right type of peplum that flares out in just the right spot (where you’re the skinniest) and ends at just the right spot (so you’re not drawing attention to your least favorite area).

  • If you have an hourglass-shaped body, peplums can exaggerate your, already ideal, proportions.
  • If you have a top-heavy or inverted-triangle body, adding bulk to your lower half will balance out your upper half and make you look like you have a waist, while hiding your tummy.
  • If you have a big-bootied, pear-shaped body, the right peplum will camouflage your hips and butt.
  • If you’re as skinny as a string bean, a peplum will add some luscious curves to your skinny bod…but we don’t really care about you because you look good in everything.  "And, have some more spaghetti, dear."

How to wear a peplum

Here are various tips that may or may not help you in your search for the hottest peplum for your body. Remember that most clothing “tips” are a list of what looks good on the woman writing the article, so take the following suggestions with a grain of salt:

  • Smartly tailored styles are better than loose and droopy garments.
  • Peplum dresses are often extremely short and these look best on women with long, well-shaped legs.
  • Complicated, very gathered peplums can add volume and accentuate your tummy.

    Read tips about how to wear a peplum

    Plus Size Peplum Dress

Here are more ideas presented by Paula Joye in her article, How To: Wear Peplums, from The Sydney Morning Herald:

  • If you use peplums in conjunction with color blocking, you can make your proportions look even more ideal. Minimize your large bust or wide shoulders by wearing a darker color above the peplum and a lighter color underneath. Do the opposite if you have a large tush.
  • If you want a casual look, try a peplum top with skinny jeans or jeggings. (Just make sure to cover your Groove Things if you’re old enough to remember that song.)

Will You Look Good in a Peplum?

In a perfect world, where you had your own designer to custom make a perfect outfit that accentuated the positive and minimized the negative…sure, you would look fantastic in a peplum. If you live in the real world like the rest of us, you’ll probably need to try on several types of peplums from many different companies until you find the right combination. But, once you get it right, you are going to look smashing and hip compared to your other Boomer pals.

If you like this article and my snarky "old lady" humor add this to your Pinterest page.

peplum tips

Main Photo

Photo Credits: Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: Pilot, Simply Be, Very.
  • Peplum Top With Skirt: Marks & Spencer.
  • Sexy Peplum Dress: Amy Childs.
  • Plus Size Peplum Dress: Simply Be.

More Articles for Chic Baby Boomer Women & Fashionable Friends:

How to Wear Leggings if You're Over 40 or 50

Best Swimsuits for Women Over 40 & 50

23 Trendy Plus Size Clothing Sites for Large Women Sizes 1x - 12x

3 Styles of Fashion Corsets for Fall 2017 & Winter 2018

What do you think of this article?  Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

Follow Me on Pinterest Follow My Boomer Lifestyle Blog on facebook

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  1. marjorie

    I like your comments

  2. marjorie

    I like your site very much.

  3. marly

    Do you know where u got that picture from? I'm going to be buying my fourth peplum piece and I love that dark coral peplum skirt. I like the fact that its long.

  4. Tina

    The dark coral peplum skirt is from Very UK.

  5. Chantell

    You give good advice, but one thing I abhor about this post is how you belittle and make snide comments on svelte figured women!

    'but we don’t really care about you because you look good in everything. "And, have some more spaghetti, dear." '

    What makes you think saying something like that is acceptable? I am in no way in-shape at all, I have a large stomach and a muffin top, but it doesn't entitle me to criticize the way someone looks, it is rude and demeaning. What you are doing is body-shaming, and it is despicable.

    • Tina

      Chantell, I am sorry to have offended you. In the states, we call that sort of chit chat "dark humour" or "dry humour."

      Once you learn to read between the lines, you will see that I'm not really laughing at you or others, I'm really laughing at myself. I guess my type of jokes would be comparable to the humour from the old British sitcom "Absolutely Fabulous," but you sound like you are too young to have seen that show.

      Really, if you look around the site, you will see that I make fun of myself much more often than I make fun of others. So, my guess is that the jokes often get lost in translation.

      But, thank you for leaving your opinion. You are neither the first person, nor the last person (I surmise) to let me know that my sense of humour is politically incorrect.

      Tina Boomerina

    • Tina

      Chantell, I am sorry to have offended you. In the states, we call that sort of chit chat "dark humour" or "dry humour."


      Tina Boomerina

  6. Jonna

    There are few stores with peplum clothing in my size.

  7. marjorie lamb

    how do i sign up for your site

  8. Janice

    Love your website.
    You looked gorgeous in your wedding dress!
    the "we don't really care about you, have some spaghetti" line was funny.

    I would like to buy that orange 3/4 sleeve dress with the peplum skirt, but it is no longer on the website of Simply Be. Any ideas?

  9. Tina-Boomerina


    I'm glad you like our site. I wish I could help you with the orange dress, but this article is over a year old. I would look at laredoute.com, debenhams, and M&S because British sites often have that style. It's sometimes called a skater dress... so try that phrase in a google search. You might find something at nordstrom.com because they have Top Shop, but I don't think you'll be able to find the exact dress unless you luck out on ebay or something like that. I'm sure you can find something similar.

    Tina Boomerina