Posts Tagged ‘fashion history’


Pointedly not stylish

July 18, 2012

Okay so, confession time… that is other than the confession that I have not gotten my act together to get pictures taken of me wearing things I’ve sewn and it’s been so hot out lately I haven’t want to be outside at all but that’s where the best photography light is…

My confession is that, after much consideration, I have determined that I do not like the current peplum trend. I know it’s the hottest trend this summer but it’s just not doing it for me.

Shirts like this one from Vogue 8815  just do not appeal to me.
I’ve been trying to figure out what it is because I do like tunics,  I do like A-line skirts and I definitely like to emphasize my  torso at its narrowest point (and de-emphasize what’s below that point).

I also love jackets with peplums and Vogue 8543 is on my NSO (not started objects) list because I love the sleeves and waist.
See…definitely a peplum there.

And peplums are an historical feature in clothing. Jackets with peplums were essential to a ladies suit in the 1890s, and I’m a Victorian fashions fan of the first order.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what bothers me about shirts like the one above and dresses like Tina Fey’s Oscar dress

I think it’s about the proportions and placement. A trend never returns in exactly the same way.

The historical peplum tended to be part of a tailored jacket in a ladies suit.

It draped across the hips, usually with some tailoring to assist the corset with creating the Gibson Girl figure.

It was also often tailored to be longer in the back. I believe the idea was for it to accommodate or imitate the bustle.



The 2012 peplum tends to be part of a shirt or dress. It is of equal length all the way around. It starts slightly higher than the natural waist and ends pretty much right at the hips.

While the bust and torso of a peplum shirt or dress tend to be closely tailored, the peplum itself is generally a-line or bell shaped and it can look boxy if done in a structured fabric.

I just think the placement of the 2012 peplum just above the natural waist makes it look like the wearer is either wearing something that’s too short for them, or trying to hide something. And they’re not quite succeeding because an empire waistline would do the hiding with more grace.

I’ve seen people wear them and I think they look fine in them, but I don’t know if it’s anyone’s best look and I hope it’s a relatively short lived trend (like black and yellow spandex mini skirts)  or morphs into something better.


Foundation garments and body oppression

January 4, 2011

I was just reading Gertie’s latest post and caught the beginning of  what looks to be becoming a great discussion about the impact of the phasing out of foundation garments such as girdles. She refers to a book she is reading and questions whether the end of the girdle in the 1960’s was really as liberating as we tend to claim.

Since this is part of one of my personal fashion and body image hobby horses (right in there with “clothes can be poorly designed, constructed, and fitted; people can’t”, I encourage you to check out the post and join the coversation.