What Is It?

Can you believe that I am still rolling out pando acquos? That would be Pandemic Acquisitions. Some of the more confounding purchases have taken longer to bring into the light.



This grey flannel Marni piece — bustier? cummerbund? belt? — appeared at some point on The RealReal and I said, You were meant for me!

When it arrived, it was a little too snag, requiring Fatima’s fine hands. Once it fit, I did start to wonder what exactly I had obtained.

You were meant for me, whatever you may be

With fit resolved, other questions emerged
But who could resist this kicky peplum?


Have you seen Lilo & Stitch? If so, you know that a case of mistaken identity can bring joy and contentment. After a few bumps in the road.

So many things to love: grey flannel, a beautifully folded design that enables the peplum to hold its flared shape, contrast trim. But what is it? It’s a little small to be a true bustier — see how low it sits on my torso? Maybe it’s just a waist garment.  Is that . . . a belt? A cummerbund? But there are clearly cups in the design. Belts don’t have cups.

Wait, you are wearing this and you don’t know what it is?

Yes! And no! I may be wearing Georgian stays



It kind of looks like a doll’s dress.


Let’s call it a peplum-belt for now.

I was going to wear the peplum-belt with cropped trousers, but realized (when I looked in a mirror) that a person wearing a doll’s dress and short pants looks like a person who has accidentally shrunk her clothes while traveling and has nothing else to wear. The little top — I mean peplum-belt — needs some garments of longer proportions to balance things out. Hence this large white blouse and grey wool jersey trousers.


Note the graceful hem
The back of the peplum belt raises more questions than it answers


This white blouse came from a COS end-of-season sale in 2022. It’s capacious, requiring some capture, but has wonderful details: clever hem, dramatic cuffs.

Come closer to see the necklace that breaks up all the white space. The outfit needed a necklace, right? It could probably support a clutch of necklaces.

An alternative: multiple necklaces!

Come a little closer and see
Is this too close? Is the peplum-belt vaguely obscene? Non, Directrice, non

The necklace is very long and I wear it looped; being long enough to wear outside the collar of this blouse is perfect — the collar is holding the necklace in place
Don’t worry, Mom; it’s not glass

Finishing things off, a pair of assertive slingbacks. I won’t be wearing these shoes until March, but thought they were perfect for this vaguely steampunk (Miss Scarlet?) ensemble.

These shoes are nearly identical to a much more expensive pair of shoes that I had been admiring (coveting, really) for awhile. I have mixed feelings about knock-offs, but the quality of these is very nice. I will continue to wrestle with the morality of corporate intrigues, but I figure that the corporations involved in this triangle have the ability to protect their own interests.

Shoes, simultaneously a source of delight and shame

8 thoughts on “What Is It?”

  1. Is it inspired by a Japanese obi?

    Love the COS blouse and the shoes. The cummerbund/belt/obi/peplum is simply amazing and I am so glad you’ve gotten it out of the house and around DC.

  2. As always, I love your writing.

    I laughed out loud at your observation that the “doll’s dress” with cropped pants might make the outfit look like a girl who has accidentally shrunk her clothes while traveling.

    So, I am intrigued with this peplum-belt. ANY CHANCE it could be used- without a blouse (or anything) as evening wear- with a pair of black slacks? A fairly racy bustier?
    Or am I misjudging the size?

    • Hello Carolyn! Alas, I could only wear it without a blouse if I also were wearing grey flannel pasties — which, if not illegal (misdemeanor), would be in poor taste? And in violation of even the most permissive office dress code? Tant pis — because a grey flannel bustier would be Very Effective at a fancy event.

  3. I thought the item in question was attached to the white blouse – the white edging looks like a beautiful seam / joint between the parts. Very nice!


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