I’ve worked in fashion long enough to know that trends are cyclical, blowing up in popularity, then going firmly out of style before coming back around once more. But I have to admit, even I was surprised by the return of the peplum top. It just holds such a distinct place in my memory as the go-to silhouette of the early 2010s and is hard to imagine without also picturing a bold statement neckline, skin-tight skinny jeans, wedge-heel sandals and an oversize clutch. And while I definitely don’t plan to recreate that look in 2023, there’s no denying that peplum silhouettes are incredibly flattering and in many ways fit right in with the current comfort-core aesthetic. They give the illusion of an hourglass figure without the aid of a restrictive cinched belt, and glide effortlessly over your stomach and hips. So while I may find the comeback surprising, I’m certainly not mad about it. Here, six ways to style peplum tops in 2023 for a fresh, modern look that’s equal parts flattering and comfortable.
Ready or Not, Peplum Tops Are Back—Here’s How to Wear One Like It’s 2023
The flattering silhouette was bound to come back en vogue
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.
1. Embrace Looser Silhouettes
While the early aughts peplum was all about emphasizing a dramatic shape, for 2023 we’re leaning further into loose, casual silhouettes. Swap those skinny jeans or leggings for a pair of wide-leg trousers or straight-leg denim, and opt for a peplum top that gently flows away from the waist rather than one that juts out. The overall look should feel softer and less formal than it did in 2010.
2. Opt for a Structured Jacket with Jeans
If flowy, boho-style tops aren’t really your vibe, you can try rocking a structured jacket instead. I advise opting for something other than a slim fitting peplum blazer—they still feel too tied to the fashion madness of the early aughts—like a cropped ladylike silhouette or a utility jacket cinched at the waist. If the jacket itself feels more formal (like the one pictured above), offset those posh vibes with some casual denim and an easy shoulder bag.
3. Ease in with a Mini Peplum
If you’re not yet ready to embrace this trend in its entirety, why not try a petite variation? A top with a cute little kick hem is a fun way to test the waters without going all out. You can pair it either with a slim-fit skirt or pants to further emphasize the silhouette, or you can try an A-line skirt that follows the same line for something a bit more subtle.
4. Pair Sporty Shorts with a Flowy Top
Try an “opposites attract” approach with a loose top and some sporty Bermuda shorts. An easy way to ensure these disparate pieces work together is to choose a single color or fabric. As for accessories, continue the mismatched fun with a chunky sandal or loafer and a sleek leather tote or kitschy mini bag.
5. Try a Monochrome ‘Fit
Speaking of choosing a single color, I firmly believe you simply cannot go wrong with a monochrome outfit for basically any and all occasions. Opting for a bold hue, like pink, green or trendy fiery red, makes a statement all by itself and softens even the most dramatic peplum silhouettes. That said, a rich neutral hue, like chocolate brown or deep navy, would look just as fabulous.
6. Fake It with a Belt
Not quite ready to invest in this throwback trend? You can always DIY your own by cinching a belt over a looser blouse or jacket. Opt for a top that has some flow to it to ensure the fabric below the belt drapes nicely over your hips rather than bunching. I also prefer matching the color of your top and your belt (or at least getting pretty close), but you can also try a contrasting hue to create more of a stand-out look.
Don’t: Pair an Exaggerated Peplum with Skinny Jeans
As much as we love a good throwback, we don’t recommend styling your peplum tops in exactly the same way you did back in 2010. That means swapping skinny pants for a looser fit, opting for a gentler peplum rather than a structured flare and updating your footwear to something more modern.
Want to know which buzzy products are *really* worth buying? Sign up for our shopping newsletter to uncover our favorite finds.