Can we all pause for a moment to celebrate the most universally flattering skirt around? I recently did a closet edit for a client and among the myriad of beautiful blouses, sweaters, kimono style tops, dress pants, leather leggings, premium denim and accessories that would make any woman envious, I noticed the absence of this key piece. This little wonder is the most versatile item in any woman’s closet and would work well with so many of the garments she already owns. So my takeaway for her was to pick up a pencil skirt and try it out with what is already in her wardrobe.
We don’t always take notice of the pencil skirt, especially if it’s in black or navy because it can appear a little lackluster beside the more eye catching floral print midi skirt, colourful blouse or tactile appealing fabrics like leather, cashmere or linen. But this wardrobe staple is a must, must, must, and is anything but boring. When you realize just how versatile it is, you may wonder why you didn’t introduce it into your wardrobe years ago. It is a blank canvas just waiting to be styled.
This one size fits all skirt is a timeless piece that should be incorporated into every woman’s wardrobe. It has the power to make any outfit, and never to break it. It works simultaneously well on every figure type, shape and height. You don’t have to dabble in the dark arts to make this one work for you. It is the hourglass figure’s best look because it shows off the tiny waist (Kim Kardishian is the quintessential pencil skirt wearer), however, straight, boyish figures also benefit because it plays up their long, lean look (Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson prove this time and again). Plus sized gals will love it because it enhances their curves in a positive way by making the waist look smaller and the legs look shapely (think Oprah and Queen Latifa). Pear shaped gals also wear it well, however, may consider looking for a version with side seems that go straight from the hip to the hem or one with a reverse peplum or ruffle at the bottom of the skirt to create balance (J.Lo shows us how the pear rocks the pencil skirt). Apple shapes can wear it too because it highlights their fabulous calves and ankles (Jessica Simpson and Catherine Zeta-Jones are apple shaped women often photographed in pencil skirts). Styling tip is to ensure that it fits at your natural waistline or higher and not below it. The pencil skirt should never fall too low on your waist or hit at your hips.
The pencil skirt is perfect office attire. You’ll never feel like you’ve been caught unprepared for that last minute meeting if you wear one to work. It also takes you from desk to dinner with a quick change of your shoes, bag and jewelry – ta dah, you are ready for drinks afterwards. It is elegant, sophisticated and ladylike, yet sexy without actually trying. It may be the best purchase you ever make . . . . well besides those super comfortable shoes you simply can’t throw out because they are the only ones that don’t make your feet throb.
Pencil skirts don’t have to be boring. If you are worried that it will look a little matronly, think again. Remember we are talking about a pencil skirt and not the straight skirt. That is the ugly stepsister to the pencil skirt. The options are endless in print and fabrics and so too are the items you pair with it. You can never go wrong with neutrals, but if you want that extra oomph, consider picking one up in leather, quilted or the softest of lamb, lazer cut, lace, tweed, colour or print like leopard, floral or plaid. Then think about what you want to wear on top. A basic white shirt is the easiest pairing, but you can take that same top, open up a few buttons, pull it back on your shoulders and you have relaxed glam. Take that same shirt again and tie it at the waist. A current take on the pencil skirt is pairing it with a crop top and showing just an inch of skin between where the skirt ends and the top begins, great for going out at night. However, a shear blouse is a surefire win for day or night. Or try adding details like a bow or ruffles. I am known for loving a good chambray shirt, giving it more of a street chic take on the look, and know that even the pencil skirt comes in a denim variety. Make your Canadian tuxedo more New York by mixing these two. Or pair the pencil skirt with a menswear inspired oxford shirt or with a boyfriend blazer. Add an oversized sweater in a delicate fabric like cashmere for a lovely and rich take on this look. Even T-shirts or statement sweatshirts work. I like it best when you pile on some jewelry or add great accessories to chic it up.
Wondering what to wear on your feet? Pointy toed stilettos are a guaranteed hit, but mules are very of the moment. Equally great are booties, shooties, boots, pumps, cage booties, strappy sandals, even brogues work. What about colour? Try changing up your shoe from the usual black or nude and add in a colourful shoe. Find your style identity and have a go of it based on it. Or style stalk someone you think has great taste and pull inspiration from them.
So let us all take a moment of silence and acknowledge the pencil skirt for the godsend that it is. Praise for the pencil skirt, praise for the pencil skirt, praise for the pencil skirt.