I love a good pencil skirt. It’s terribly grown up, office appropriate and beautifully tailored. With the added bonus of being just a wee bit sexy. Basically, an office staple you can take out to drinks.
Pencil skirts make up a good proportion of my corporate wardrobe. I have a couple of black pencil skirts, a floral printed skirt and a sturdy black slip dress that doubles as a very high-waisted pencil skirt. The silhouette works for my body shape and pairs back beautifully with the soft, floaty blouses I favour. Pencil skirts also play well with my collection of belts for extra waist definition.
While I appreciate the ease of a good dress, separates are fantastic for their versatility. And a pencil skirt combines the femininity of a dress with the practicality of being able to make a host of different outfits.
Here’s my guide on how to wear them well:
- The great thing about pencil skirts is that they give you an hourglass silhouette instantly. But I like my hourglass to go out-in-out, not out-in-out-in-out-in courtesy of love handles. So I have invested in some suck-it-all-in underwear. Just not the full body armour. That’s way too uncomfortable for work.
- I love adding a belt for extra wait definition. Belted waists don’t work for everyone, but they do help with that hourglass thing.
- A high waisted pencil skirt looks beautifully tailored and works best when you show of the waist line. Which means that I always tuck the top or wear a shorter top. A certain level of top half volume also works proportionally.
- Because this is such a classic look, a nod to forties/fifties dressing works well. Check out this pinterest board for some ideas.
- To up the glamour factor, pair with seamed stockings. Ooh la la!
- If you are taking your pencil skirt out on the town, try a slinky cami in jewel tones paired with a black pencil skirt and some sky-high, stunning heels. Just make sure you pack the ballet flats for the serious dancing/heading home.
- If you have a great black slip dress in a sturdy, stretch fabric, consider it’s potential as a pencil skirt. I have a dress just like this, that I would never wear on its own, but looks fantastic paired back with cropped shirts. It allows me to wear tops I cannot tuck but still maintain that classic, pencil skirt shape.
- Consider wearing your pencil skirt over a tighter dress. This gives your dresses new leases of life as tops.
- Be careful about the fabric. Stretch is a great option for ease, but it will cling to all the bits. The stiffer the stretch, the less this will occur. I find that the most flattering fabric for a pencil skirt is a structured fabric with a small percentage of stretch.
- Find your sweet spot hem line and stick to it. Experiment with a skirt you already own and play with different lengths in front of the mirror. There will be a certain length that just works. If you buy a longer skirt, hem it to your sweet spot length.
Pencil skirts and curves go hand in hand – whether you are faking them or making the most of them. Such a tight fit can be a bit daunting at first, but I would recommend every woman try it out. You might be surprised how well it suits you.
Also, don’t discount pencil skirts if your working situation is a casual one. It’s a great date night option and can look very cute with t-shirts and sneakers for a casual spin. I have pinned a great range of ways to wear pencil skirts.
If you are a sewer, pencil skirts are a fairly easy project. Look for fabric with a bit of stretch and you will need to get out that zipper foot. Your pattern should have front and back darts for shaping and a vent at the back for easy walking. This pattern from Burda is a great example.
Most retailers that stock office fashion will have a range of pencil skirts. Try Cue, Review, Atmos & Here (online), Shieke, Uniqlo and Veronika Maine for a few different options.
Are you a pencil skirt fan? Any other tips?