Pencil Skirt

"How to Wear & Style Pencil Skirts"

A pencil skirt is quite versatile - and with the right accessories and styling, you can easily transform it from a plain librarian look into something more chic and fun.

Black pencil skirt by JCrew
Courtesy of JCrew

What I really love about this type of skirt is that it's flexible enough to team up with most types of tops and shoes. Especially a simple black pencil skirt which can be worn as a part of a conservative office work outfit or for parties - or with your casual denim shirt!

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You can dress it up for work or parties, or dress it down for casual everyday wear. Just put on your sophisticated dress shirt at daytime and take it off and put on a slouchy tee and you're good to go to the movies later that evening! You can also wear it with a basic tank top and a long cardigan for a cool and casual look.

It has (almost) everything you can ever wish in a skirt, and that's why I consider a pencil skirt to be one of your most important wardrobe essentials.

The chic fashionista Anna Villaruel says Mini skirts are also a fabulous way to show off your legs, hosiery, shoes and look sexy, but please, wear a skirt that is no shorter than your middle finger when standing straight with your arms to your sides.

Yes, I'm in my 20's and love experimenting with clothes but I cringe when I see women my age wearing a skirt that is way too short for their proportions - which makes it look like they're not wearing pants... Screams tacky to me.

How to Buy a Pencil Skirt

Now before we dive into the styling part - make sure you've reviewed my fashion advice on how to select a skirt that looks good with your body figure and your personal style. I'll take you from how to build a solid skirt drawer to selecting the best hem length.

More fashion advice & styling tips:

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How Do You Wear a Pencil Skirt?

It suits most body shapes. However, if you have a Pear or Hourglass shape you must be careful with how you style it for formal occasions because of the tapered hemline. It can really, reaaaally accentuate your curves. Just take a look at Beyoncé ;-)

Beyonce in black pencil skirt
Courtesy of Steve Sands/Bauer Griffin

No matter how luscious your curves are it might not be appropriate for the occasion. My tip is to try to balance it out by adding more volume to your upper part with a bright or light-colored blouse and add an extra inch to your shoewear.
    fashion tip Tip: If you want your hips and legs to appear leaner, go for a pencil skirt with two darts in the front.

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Tuck or Untuck?

So should you tuck or leave it?

America Ferrera in pencil skirt
Courtesy of John Kopaloff/Film Magic
If you're wearing a high waist skirt or a skirt with a thick waistband, then you should tuck it in as it complements the look a lot better than wearing it untucked.

Tucking it in:

  • Adds a more sophisticated (looks cuter, in my opinion) touch to your look
  • Elongates your legs if they're short
  • Creates a trimmer looking waist

The drawback is that it can chop up your torso, making your waist look shorter (not good if you already have a short waist) and make you look stumpy, especially if you're Petite.

But you can still tuck it in without shortening your torso by wearing a top in a similar color as the skirt. Eg. Black skirt, dark blue top. Or white skirt with a light yellow blouse.

    fashion tip Tip: If you want to conceal your tummy - look for skirts with a wide waistband to help tuck in a larger part of your stomach.

Angelina Jolie in a pencil skirt
Courtesy of Bauer-Griffin

If you wear the top untucked, it will give a completely different feel to your skirt outfit.

Keeping it untucked:

  • Creates a more relaxed and fun look
  • Elongates your torso
Leaving the top untucked is more fail-safe than tucking it in, because usually, people look at tucking as a fashion statement.
    fashion tip Tip: If you're wearing a slightly loose top the outfit might lose definition. So to look more pulled together, define your waist with a skinny belt either around your hips or your waist depending on what looks good on your body frame. Continue reading for more tips on how to belt it.

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How to Multiply Outfits with a Basic Pencil Skirt?

The beauty of a basic black pencil skirt is its flexibility in creating multiple outfits and fashion looks. Take a look at how Hayden Panettiere does it with the same black skirt!

Celebs in classic pencil skirt
Courtesy of Gettyimages, Wireimages and Celebutopia

But you don't have to limit yourself to classy and dressy outfits. By adding the right accessories and mixing it with the right top, you can turn it into a sassy and trendy outfit.

Let's have a look at 10 different pencil skirt outfits that you can put together yourself:

Sexy and Sleek

Perfect for: Formal to semi-formal office settings, cocktail parties and if you want to exude sex appeal without overdoing it.

Celebs in classic pencil skirt

Fashion tip1. Dress shirt: A pretty classic and plain look by Jessica Alba. Just tuck in the shirt and top it off with a belt and voila. However, I prefer..

Fashion tip 2. Dressy blouse: A cute blouse adds that little extra something. Hayden Panettiere looks classy and feminine at the same time. However, you can swap the plain white with a..

Fashion tip3. Floral top: For a cheerful zest of color during the warmer months, a floral top will spice it up a little. Complete the look with a pair of open toe pumps. If you prefer to look taller and thinner go..

Fashion tip4. Black from top to toe: A very basic monochromatic outfit. But make sure you add something interesting like America Ferrera is doing here; wide belt around the waist and sexy, strappy shoes. You can alternatively play with different textures - such as a lace top and a black croc clutch purse. Or you can add...

Fashion tip5. Light colors: Achieve a light and airy outfit - just take a look at this bright pencil skirt combination on Reese Witherspoon. White and creams will definitely enhance a nice tan.

Now let's take a look at more casual and fun outfits with pencil skirts:

Trendy and Simple

Perfect for: Casual office work, parties, everyday daywear anything casual really.

Celebs in classic pencil skirt, casual outfits

Fashion tip1. Tee with miniskirt: This is a basic casual yet sexy party look. Combine the skirt and top with a wide belt - and top it off with a leather jacket and a pair of strappy high heels. If you want something glitzier try a..

Fashion tip2. Sequin skirt with a plain tee:Whitney Port does it perfectly with a basic white tee tucked in with a beautiful black sequin skirt - highlighting her long, lean and tanned legs. Simple and chic. Any type of trendy skirt will do.

Fashion tip3. Flats and cardigan: For a laid-back everyday look, wear a dark navy blue (less serious than black) pencil skirt with cute flats and casual cardigan. Alexa Chung combines it perfectly with a mix of feminine silk top, short pencil skirt, belt and toning it down with a cardigan and girly ballerina flats.

Fashion tip4. Black t-shirt: A very sleek and trendy outfit worn by Eva Mendes. Team up a basic black t-shirt with a red hot, eye-catching skirt. Keep the jewelry very simple.

Fashion tip5. Leather pencil skirt and blazer jacket: I love this look on Gwyneth Paltrow. For a little edge swap up your regular black cotton skirt with leather. Tone down on the biker look with a basic tee and tights. And to smoothen the edges, top it off with a sophisticated blazer.

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Related Content:

How to Buy and Wear Dress Shirts Shop the latest White Dress Shirts - How to Wear a Dress Shirt and Look Chic How to Buy and Wear Fashion tops Shop the latest Dressy Tops
Shop the latest Ruffled blouses Shop the latest Denim Pencil Skirts - Tips on how to wear a pencil skirt Guide to buying and wearing fashion hosiery Shop the latest Pencil Skirts - Fashion advice on how to buy and wear pencil skirts

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