Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Roundup Vol. 16

Hi Belle,

I’m writing to pick your mind about peplums and their recent comeback. I feel like in the link below the women looks stylish and that I could potentially consider wearing one. What are your thoughts? With the skinny almost capri bold colors working mostly on tall rails of girls (I’m a petite girl who does not need her legs chopped) this look might give some nice shape and interest.

Thoughts?  Michelle

Making a peplum work really comes down to two things: volume and placement.  

On the first topic, you don’t want a peplum that us so poufy that it looks clownish.  You also don’t want one that makes you look heavier or thicker.  So look for a peplum with structure, so you don’t get saddled with too much flounce.  Also, unless you have a ballerina’s body, stay away from double peplums, where there is one long one covered by another shorter one.  One layer is probably more than enough if you have even a semblance of curves.

On the second matter, placement is incredibly important.  The peplum should either a) cover the rear end or b) falls with the natural curve of your rear end.  Long-legged women will have an easier time finding the right one than long-torsoed women will.  Because if you’re long-torsoed it’s entirely possible that you’ll wind up with a peplum that falls above the tush giving you the appearance of having two asses.  This is bad.

If you want to give peplums a try, start with something simple.  I would recommend a soft peplum attached to a blazer or blouse or pencil skirt.  


I saw you posted about capes a few days ago. Someone inquired about skirt-lengths when wearing one with a cape. I was wondering something similar – only about bags. Sometimes a clutch just isn’t practical to carry around (although they look cute with capes), and bulky bags just look goofy. Maybe you could clue us in on your… cape thoughts? 

This is a good question.
Obviously a bag with a shoulder strap would look awkward.   And, you’re right, a heavy, bulky bag would look goofy.  While a clutch would be the epitome of 1950s chic, probably not all that practical.  Instead, I’d recommend a sleek, top-handled clutch.  Something narrow with structure and a top handle so it can hang in the crook of your elbow or be held in your hand.  This Talbots bag would do nicely:

Boa Double Handle Tote (Talbots, $259)

You could also try something with a retro, vintage vibe.  I’ve seen a million bags like this one at second hand stores.  It’s not much bigger than a clutch, but it will hold the essentials (wallet, keys, phone, etc.).

Top Handle Frame Tote (Etsy, $18)

Happy Friday! I have and Ask Belle for you. Now that it’s Labor Day do I really have to put away all my white dresses away? They comprise half my wardrobe and I don’t want to hang them up this year. Plus I’m from up north and I’ve heard the rules are different in the South.  Help!


No, you do not have to put all of the white dresses away.  White cotton sundresses with breezy skirts, eyelet, spaghetti straps, other Summer accoutrements must be put away.  If you have a structure white work dress or a dress with a pleated white skirt there’s no need to pack it up yet.
Especially of the dress has structure or is made of a suiting material, you can wear the dress with black tights and black tall boots.  If it’s sleeveless, you can wear it under a jacket or over a chiffon blouse (if the neckline will accommodate it.).
Also, if you want to get a little more wear out of the breezier pieces for casual attire, you could wear a chunky, cable knit sweater in oatmeal or grey over the summery top and let the skirt stand alone.  You could then put on a pair of cognac boots or cowboy boots and a pea coat.  It would be a good look for Swine on the Vine (weather permitting) or a bridal shower at a vineyard. 

And as for your point about rules in the South, the only one that doesn’t seem bendable-to-the-point-of-breaking these days is white shoes after Labor Day.  Even I won’t touch that one.  But as long as you blend in heavier pieces for a bit of interplay, you can get away with white outside of Summer.


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  1. S says:

    What is a peplum?

    September 22, 2011/Reply
  2. Kristen says:

    Hey Belle! Peplums were a big trend on the SS12 runways…check out our mini blog about them!

    September 23, 2011/Reply
  3. TAL says:

    Thanks so much for including my vintage handbag in your blog! I totally agree, handle bags are the way to go with a cape, and vintage looks especially great! ­čÖé

    October 1, 2011/Reply