Peplum Defined by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Peplum originates in the Greek word for 'tunic'.  It may also be referenced as a peplos.  In addition to the tunic version of the definition from ancient Greece, the peplum has a secondary and relatively unrelated garment term dating back to the 19th century.  The second version of Peplum is a short overskirt that is usually attached to a fitted jacket.  The early Pwas usually not attached to a jacket and was merely an extra overskirt flounce sewn onto, and dropping from the waist..  A popular version became part of women's suitings in the 1940's.

A peplos is a body-length garment established as typical attire for women in ancient Greece by 500 BC (the Classical period). It was a long, tubular cloth with the top edge folded down about halfway, so that what was the top of the tube was now draped below the waist, and the bottom of the tube was at the ankle. The garment was then gathered about the waist and the folded top edge pinned over the shoulders. The folded-down top of the tube provided the appearance of a second piece of clothing.

The peplos was draped and open on one side of the body, like the Doric chiton. It should not be confused with the Ionic chiton, which was a piece of fabric folded over and sewn together along the longer side to form a tube.

We suggest you also visit the What is Peplum definition at the Wise Geek website.  They appear to have done nice research and have put together an informative definition.  You may want to also read the Should I wear a peplum? article posted on the V-Style blog.  The Guardian also wrote a nice piece about How to wear a peplum that would be a good choice for reading.

Here are a few additional definitions few definitions:

A garment worn by women in ancient Greece; cloth caught at the shoulders and draped in folds to the waist.

A flared ruffle attached to the waistline of a dress or jacket or blouse. 

A peplos, an Ancient Greek garment formed of a tubular piece of cloth, which is folded back upon itself halfway down, until the top of the tube is worn around the waist, and the bottom covers the legs down to the ankles; the open top is then worn over the shoulders, and draped, in folds, down to the waist; compare the Roman ''palla''.

An overskirt, or peplum, is a type of elongated hem resembling a short skirt, worn to lay over another garment, either another skirt such as a petticoat or underskirt, or breeches.

Written by ML at Apparel Search April 3, 2013


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