This Controversial Silhouette Is Preparing for a Surprisingly Chic Return


(Image credit: Brandon Maxwell; David Koma; Tory Burch)

During arguably my most questionable style years (aka when I was in high school in the early 2010s), I had a burgundy peplum top that I swear I wore once a week at least. At the time, it was, to me, the perfect shirt, elegant and stylish with just the right level of drama. Even so, when the controversial silhouette was deemed "out" not long after, I shunned it. For years after, whenever I stumbled upon one of the hundreds of digital camera photos I took in it, I shuttered, traumatized by my own style choices.

It wasn't until a few months ago that the idea of wearing anything peplum-related even entered my mind. Inspired by two things—the U.K.-based brand Liberowe's velvet, peplum lady jackets and Proenza Schouler's hourglass-style peplum offerings from fall/winter 2022—I began to question all the undeserved hate I'd thrown at the peplum trend over the last decade. Modernized and stylized, the new-age versions that the aforementioned brands and more are introducing in recent years are more than worth a second thought, and in turn, a second chance.


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

What I wore: Liberowe Nobel Peplum Jacket ($1808); Vintage Levi's; Chanel heels; Miu Miu Nappa Matelasse Old Mini Wander Hobo Sabbia Caffe ($1885); Linda Farrow Cara Oval Acetate Sunglasses ($359)

Shop my peplum jacket:

I chose New York Fashion Week earlier this month as my chance to finally take the peplum style—in the form of said Liberowe peplum jacket—out for a spin. And while it took a second to get used to the additional fabric, it really was only a second, as excitement over the interesting and lavish silhouette took over. Making it even better (whilst I was wearing it and later) were a handful of brands debuted similarly sculptural pieces, from Brandon Maxwell to Tory Burch. In London the following week, peplum was showcased as well by David Koma, Tove, Christopher Kane, and Simone Rocha. 

Scroll down for all the proof you need that I'm not the only one acting on the peplum's return to fashion's good graces. 


On the runway:
(Image credit: Brandon Maxwell)

For a brand that's known for designing classic, timeless apparel for the modern woman, it's rare that truly controversial pieces make it into the mix. Yet Brandon Maxwell didn't shy away from sartorial controversy for fall/winter 2023, pairing a peplum tube top with Bermuda-length jorts, tall socks, and kitten heels. The result? A look that's going directly on my fashion month mood board. 



(Image credit: @annabelrosendahl)

Remember when I said my high school–era peplum top felt utterly elegant and stylish? This is what I thought it looked like (it, of course, didn't, but considering that I believe it cost something like $12, it was unlikely to ever look this chic). 



On the runway:
(Image credit: TOVE)

Tove's collections are always things of beauty, but this season's selection was particularly stunning. For proof, see this off-white, satiny peplum top that's sure to turn even the most boring of outfits into a work of art. 



On Instagram:
(Image credit: @endlesslyloveclub)

This Paco Rabanne peplum dress lives rent free in my brain, not only because it's gorgeous, but also because I see it daily on my Instagram feed. 



On the runway:
(Image credit: Tory Burch)

Tory Burch's fall/winter 2023 collection was by far one of the fan favorites from New York Fashion Week, but I haven't heard anyone discuss this simple, monochrome look that features slouchy cords, a long-sleeve peplum top, and matching accessories. That's a mistake—it's perfection. 



On Instagram:
(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Leave it to Khaite to make one of the chicest peplum options on the market with this longline, draped, strapless top with an almost rococo-style print. 



On the runway:
(Image credit: David Koma)

David Koma's fall/winter 2023 collection is likely to be remembered most fondly for the ever presence of the season's most prominent color, but it's key that we don't forget another trend that dominated its runway show: peplum. 



On Instagram:
(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

If you're trying to come up with outfits to inspire the return of peplum to your wardrobe, this look should be at the very top of the associated mood board.



On the runway:
(Image credit: Christopher Kane)

This Christopher Kane look is giving serious '80s vibes and I'm 100% here for it. From the pop of red to the neck scarf to the peplum silhouette, it's a chic example of '80s style, an era that often gets overlooked fashion-wise. 


Next: Prepare to See This Embellishment on All Your Shoes, Bags, and Clothes This Year

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.