Hot Or Not: The Reverse-Peplum

Emma_StoneLandmark/PR Photos

First – we had the peplum. A peplum is any piece of clothing that has an extra flap of fabric flaring out at the hip. Supposedly universally flattering, a peplum dress became a hot trend, because it cinched the waist and highlighted the hips and butt. Now – we have the reverse-peplum. Instead of flaring out, this new trend has been seen on dresses drastically cut-in at the waist with boxy upper and bottom sections.

Celebrities seem to love the look. Emma Stone (left) rocked a tight waist on a gorgeous, custom-made Atelier Versace gown at a recent The Amazing Spider Man 2 premiere. The cut flattered her body – making Emma look lean and tall – and the proportions were subtle, keeping the dress elegant.

Not everyone pulled off the trend though. Rihanna (below, left) was spotted in a preppy lilac Chanel dress featuring a constricted waist. The shape of the top – with the cat-eye sunglasses and retro sneakers – makes her look like Barbie, and not in a good way. She seems stiff and uncomfortable. The overall look is far from flattering.

Rihanna_KieraThierry Orban/Startraks Photo

The ever-beautiful Keira Knightley (above, right) also attempted the reverse-peplum. She would have looked completely polished in the black-and-white Karl Lagerfeld creation, if not for the jarring midsection. The trend makes Keira’s tiny waist look even tinier. A slight crop to the top or turning the look into a full dress would have made the look much more sophisticated.

We’re torn on this trend. It can be a hit – à la Emma Stone – or a disaster. Would you give a reverse-peplum dress a try?


Wendy is a senior at USC, hobbyist screenwriter and sometimes model. In her free time, she loves binge-watching teen dramas, drinking green juice and taking baths. Mainly, she’s obsessed with cats (as in cries watching cute cat videos and owns multiple articles of clothing featuring cats — truly obsessed). It’s also been rumored that half her body weight is made up of coffee.

  • PS

    Nice article! I don’t think I would give the reverse-pepium dress a try though…=P

  • Josephine Andrews

    yeah, i agree…i don’t love this look