Elizabeth and James Yumi Top – can we love it for less?

Despite all of my best efforts to make Summer last forever, this week it looks like Fall is on its way.* So I guess it’s time for me to start confronting the realities of the changing season by consoling myself, like I always do, with wardrobe purchases.

*Although it is admittedly hard (hard, but not impossible) to complain when the weather is a perfect 85 degrees and sunny with a breeze everyday.

One thing I’ve been trying to purchase for a while now is a peplum top. What’s a peplum top? This is a peplum top:

image credit

And this one is looking pretty fierce paired with printed pants and purple pumps.

Sadly, much like my efforts to stall the coming of Fall, my efforts to add a peplum top to my wardrobe have so far gone unrewarded. That’s because finding the right peplum top is quite the challenge. If the peplum starts too high it makes you look preggers. If the peplum starts too low it makes you look hippy. Ideally the peplum would start right below your ribcage, emphasizing the narrowest part of your waist. For whatever reason that has been incredibly difficult for me to find – but I am undeterred!

Today I fell in love with the gorgeous detailing on this peplum top from Elizabeth and James:

Elizabeth and James Yumi Top – $365

The embroidery makes it look like leather without all of the sweating and chafing that comes with actual leather and I am dying over the asymmetrical hemline of the peplum. Now the price… the price I could do without.

So I did what I always do when I come across something I love, but can’t afford – I set off across the internet in search of a suitable substitute at a reasonable price. Join me in evaluating my finds, won’t you?

Tinley Road Vegan Leather Peplum Top – $98

Let me start by saying that there is no such thing as “vegan leather.” It’s not anything leather if there are no cows involved. Vegan leather is a fancy way of saying “plastic.” And therein lies my problem with this top. Otherwise I really like the notched collar and center seaming detail on this one.

Topshop Flower Embroidered Peplum Top – $76

This one is a fairly good overall replica of the Yumi top. My concerns = the floral motif (because I am not a 13 year-old girl) and the low level and full volume of the peplum (because I do not want to look like I put a tutu over a tank top). But still, this one’s a serviceable option.

Express Peplum Shell Top – $40

This is our least-expensive option so far and one that’s basically one-tenth the price of the Elizabeth and James top. I call that a good deal. And I do like the cut-in shoulders. But while I complained about the tutu-like nature of the peplum above, I’m afraid this one swings too far in the other direction and will end up just looking like a stretched out yoga tank.

ASOS Top with Extreme Peplum – $35

Hey look! This one’s even cheaper than the last. And I definitely like the open, scooped neckline of this top. (I take issue, however, with them calling this top “extreme” as though it will be jumping out of a helicopter and snowboarding down a mountain while on fire at some point during the day.) What I miss, however, is the fun embroidery of the original E and J top.

And so, along those lines, I present our final top that I think combines the best of all of the above:

INC International Concepts Sleeveless Lace Peplum Blouse – $44

Let’s check off the boxes, shall we? Cheap? Check. Scoop neck? Check. Lace? Check. Peplum appropriate in both location and volume? Check. Not made out of plastic? Check.

I think we have a winner kids! This top looks adorable with a brightly-colored pencil skirt as shown above. I also envision it looking totally a-mah-zing over a pair of BCBG leather and knit leggings I bought last winter with some knee-high boots and a cozy sweater layered over top. But what do you think??

About Shea Brakefield

Lawyer for pay. Fashion crimefighter for free. View all posts by Shea Brakefield

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