Fashion: The staying Power of the Peplum


Famously associated with the peplum top, the peplum is defined as an over skirt that is attached to a top, dress, jacket, top even pants. It was originally created to accentuate the hips by highlighting the waist. This style can almost be hailed as miraculous, not only does it provide a slimming effect it also creates curves!

Peplum on flared style… With a leather top. Image from

Like most trends, we first spotted this trend on international celebrities as it made a strong resurgence in 2012 and it slowly came trickling into the country. It was a highly sought after style, that earned plenty of shop owners good returns but with true Kenya business practices soon every shop had peplum everything. If there is an Mpesa shop around each corner, at that time there was a peplum around each corner. The glut soon came in and you could not count how many peplum styled items you could spot in the CBD on any given day!

Like most fashion trends it was safe to say would soon fizzle out, right? Nope the peplum has a firm hold on this country. Bloggers have been calling for the masses to retire this style, wait for it, in 2014,2015 and still in 2016!Don’t get me wrong, I have peplum top that I pair with a pencil skirt for an effortlessly stylish look. I suspect that is the enticing charm of this style that makes it hard for Kenyan women to shake off, look stylish in seconds. Who doesn’t want that?

There are certain days when you don’t want to think too hard about your outfit but still want to appear at work looking good. Almost as if the clothes should chase you down and rearrange themselves on you. I suspect the peplum could achieve this fete. Plus the icing on the cake, this style looks good on every body shape, from petite to plus size there is a peplum for you. It creates curves when they are no curves, accentuates curves and is gentle on any bulges.

Peplum top -african print with white pants – Image from

I may be part of the problem as I not advocating you discard your peplum style but before you add another peplum, please have these tips in mind

  • Try different material combinations, a peplum dress or top that combines lace, pleather, chiffon or sheer material will bring a different element to your overall look. Don’t be afraid to mix prints and textures.
  • Be very mindful where the peplum begins and ends, this fit and flare style can work in reverse making you look larger than you actually are. No one enjoys the sly questions “You must have eaten well this weekend? Eeeh!” Sadly some imported peplum items are seating awkwardly and creating a clunky silhouette, you want to create the shape from a 300ml bottle of soda not the 500ml!
  • Combine your peplum top with unlikely pairings, such as a peplum top with a short flared skirt, belted with a slimming belt to bring the outfit together. If you are petite, pair you peplum top with palazzo pants or a maxi skirt for a very chic look.
  • Play around with color combinations – from bold pairings pink & red, orange & purple, classic pairings such as black & white or subtle layering of similar colors- greys& blacks, caramel, creams &browns.
  • Peplums now have a variety of shapes to choose from; soft and flowing, structured, side peplums even asymmetrical peplums. Choose wisely the shape that best suits your body type.
Peplum top with coated jeans – Image from

The peplum was first introduced to the world by the ancient Greeks and the peplum we are now more familiar with gained popularity in the 1940s and like a true fashion trend it keeps being reinvented and resurging. So it’s not all gloom and doom with the impressive pile of peplums you have amassed.

This quote by designer Alber Elbez got us laughing “I created the peplum so you can eat in it. You can have a dessert, you can have another sandwich” We couldn’t agree more!

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