Although there are many shining moments of which I appreciate from the Devil Wears Prada, my favorite line comes from the ever-so-good-with-words Nigel as he helps Maranda select pieces for an upcoming shoot. When Maranda solicits Nigel’s opinion on a tulle, ballerina-like dress that you know would make the average person look like an overstuffed macaroon, Nigel responds, “Well, you know me. Give me a full ballerina skirt and a hint of saloon and I’m on board”.
While I don’t share Nigel’s unparalleled love for adult ballerina ensembles, I do however have a similar affinity for that same billowy elegance that inspired one of my current favorites; the peplum top. A mix of purposeful shaping and lackadaisical movement, peplums are a hybrid species. However, this duality can also make them a challenging breed to sort out, especially if you prefer a more subdued and casual look. It’s not unfair to say that peplums often come off as too structured, and for me personally, too frufru.
Finding the perfect peplum comes down to two things; cut and fabric. I found my peplum top while scouring the racks at TJMaxx, supposedly looking for my mom’s Christmas gift (classic only-child move). I have always had a thing for white tops and while I’ve tried to curve my appetite for them, this one was special, unique, and need me (this is the type of nonsense that goes on in my head while shopping). The most satisfying aspect of this peplum is the gradual curvature. Unlike stiff fabrics, I can tuck it into jeans and the fabric won’t turn into an awkwardly shaped formation resting on my abdomen. While some prefer very distinct lines that outline their bodies, I always opt for something with more material and give. Much like your run-of-the-mill 5-year-old, I hate restricting clothing and I prefer the look of an oversized t-shirt or blouse over that of a fitted blazer any day of the week.
But if you’re looking something a bit more polished, you might opt for a peplum made of a more sophisticated fabric. This peplum is flowy, not too structured, and overall looks very effortless. Its greatest strength is how instantly it can transform a pair of jeans or leggings into something with a bit more dimension. This look in particular is ideal for long days of travel or walking about as the fabric not only is loose fitted but also allows enough wiggle room for a cozy sweater or jacket layered on top. This chick looks like she regularly rides her vintage bike across Parisian neighborhoods with a baguette and small dog in her front basket and hey, who doesn’t want a little of that?
While I’m normally weary of stripes on anything but a classic nautical top, the balance of super tailored top and laid back bottoms draws the look together nicely. The outfit is better fitted for drinks out or some other type of ritzy leisure activity but it’s not so forceful that you couldn’t get away with standing on the bar if you’re a few mojitos in.
Ug and this. Love. Yes, it’s very structured but the cotton makes the whole top look uber bohemian. This would 100% fly at a music festival and qualify as ‘appropriate office attire’. Bing, bang, boom. That is the tell-tale sign of a quality investment piece. Also the sleeves are billowy, fit for the queen that you are, and the high-neck makes it great for jobs where you’re constantly moving and leaning over computers.
Long live the peplum.