Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D.

I know, I know, I was telling you to avoid this trend last season. Who needs all that extra fabric around the hips? But I've since had a change of heart because the right peplum can actually make you look thinner. Just follow these rules:

1. Choose a soft material in a silhouette that isn't too extreme, so the look is more modern, less Mad Men.

2. Whatever you wear below the pouf should be streamlined: a pencil skirt or tapered pants.

3. Accessories should contrast with the ladylike vibe—choose an edgy metallic clutch or a bright stiletto.

Dress, Dressbarn Collection, $56,
peplum shirt

A well-placed peplum can hide a thicker middle.

Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet, $264,
peplum skirt

A peplum can also give the illusion of a smaller waist.

Warehouse, $50,

Next: 4 must-try trends for fall