Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peplum Power

According to fashion bloggers G-Chic and Youth SaVage, peplums have been around since 800 BC.  Originating in ancient Greece, women fastened an extra rectangle of cloth around their waists over the seamless folded robes of the day for modesty’s sake; to cover slits in the robe which extended clear up the sides. In the Middle Ages, men also got in on the style, wearing a long-waisted doublet which dipped to a V in the front, originally beneath suits of armor and chainmail to protect their skin from chafing against the uncomfortable metal apparel, and later as a fashion statement in its own right.

Athena sported one of
the first peplums
Doublets were worn by men
in the Middle Ages
Peplums regained popularity in the 1940s, probably because the look accented a tiny waist, en vogue during that time. The style surged to the forefront once again in the 1980s, which is when I bought this cognac-colored suit-dress by Danny & Nicole while working for JCPenney in northern California (I also have a similar suit in red). And just last year, peplums returned to the fashion runways yet again, appearing on the likes of Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama.

Kate Middleton wearing
an LK Bennett peplumed
jacket over her LK
Bennett dress
Michelle Obama rocks
her peplum suit coat
My vintage piece, cast in a timeless ponté knit, is perfect for spring weather, which I was lucky enough to enjoy during my commute to the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. yesterday for a day of research on behalf of my employer. I paired the suit with a vintage leopard-print scarf which belonged to my grandmother, and nude platform heels by Call It Spring.  I accessorized my outfit with an antique copper bracelet and earrings that my parents brought back from Mexico in 1953.

Peplum styles from the 1940s
My attire got good reviews at the Library, with one security guard commenting that I am always "quite the fashion plate". She added that she wished I could teach the youth of today a thing or two about how to dress appropriately for the workplace. I smiled and handed her my Lynell's Vintage Look card, explaining that she might enjoy sharing my blog with said youth.

Soldiers Delight Friends Group board members meet with Park staff and state biologists on a regular basis
After work I attended a board meeting of Soldiers Delight Conservation, Inc., the "friends" group which supports Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Owings Mills, Maryland (, where I serve as vice president. My suit stayed wrinkle-free and chic despite the long day.

While the peplum style seems to have staying power through the ages, the fair weather was fleeting, as today, the first day of spring, is forecast to bring frigid temperatures back to the area along with snowflakes tonight, making me happy I got to rock rusty-hued peplum panache during yesterday's gorgeous clime.

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