The peplum is the latest look in cocktail dresses and formal wear. Michelle Williams was the darling of the runway at this year's Oscars in a Louis Vuitton peplum style gown.
Originating in the 19th century, the peplum first took the form of a short overskirt attached to a short jacket. The "modern" peplum became popular in the 1940s, when suits were a staple in every woman's wardrobe.
Last prominent in the 1980s, the peplum style was accentuated with big shoulders to create a look of balance. Prime time soap operas like "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" started the craze. (Who wasn't in awe of Sue Ellen's wardrobe?)
On the runway the peplum created the instant hourglass figure, but don't expect it to make you look thin! The additional horizontal line across the hips tends to shorten leg length. It can be a fair trade for adding glamour and drama to any piece.
There are some peplums that just don't make it. If it looks like a frilly valance found on windows or a bed ruffle, take a pass. Look for something that is sleek and more sculptural in design.
When you choose to wear a peplum, the best place for your skirt to end is at the knee, or just below at the point where your leg shape narrows. Ankle boots pair well with this design. If you have shorter legs, wear a peplum style jacket with trousers.
Consider making a fashion statement-add flare to your look with a peplum design.
Jacquie Bennett, formerly of Milroy, writes from her new home in California. She can be reached