Staples: The Basic Black Pencil

28 Apr

The sleek, stylish lines of the pencil skirt have earned it a coveted spot on our list of work wardrobe essentials. Just like a pencil’s long and slim lines, this skirt is flattering on nearly all body types.

Confession: The pencil skirt I wear to work at least once a week was purchased in — hold on to your hat — the 1900s. You guys, this pencil skirt was the first investment piece my mom ever purchased for me back in high school.

I tell this story to illustrate that investing in a pencil skirt is a sure bet. It’s a piece so classy and basic you can wear it twice in the same week (with a different top and accessories) and no one will even notice. Now that’s easy.

The key to rocking the pencil skirt is in the fit. If you’re planning a shopping trip, here are some things to look for:

  • A slim fit. The fact that this skirt is tailored for a close fit, especially at the hem, is what makes it so flattering on so many women (that’s our natural shape anyway!)
  • But not so slim that it hugs the buns. There’s nothing professional about that, I can tell you that right now.
  • Knee length or slightly below. If it fits well in the waist and hips, the length is easily remedied (and is the cheapest fix). Since we consider this an investment piece, we recommend shopping for a pencil skirt at a higher-end retailer like Nordstrom who will hem it for free if you purchase a full-priced item.
  • Sits at the waist… or higher, if you dare. You will get the most versatility from a pencil skirt that has a waistline that hits at your bellybutton; that offers endless possibilities for tucking in blouses or leaving them un-tucked.
  • A modest slit. Depending on the flexibility of the material, many pencil skirts have a slit in the back to make walking and sitting easier. Just check to make sure that the slit doesn’t show too much leg when you’re walking. (Also, after you’ve had your pencil skirt a few years, it’s common for the slit to need some simple repairs. That’s not a sign of a defunct pencil skirt.)

If the pencil skirt is your thing, consider taking on one of these variations that we love!

Pencil skirts with pizazz

Details from left to right:

1. The pencil skirt as part of a suit (BOSS Black, $275 at Saks)

2. The high-waisted pencil (street style as documented by The Sartorialist, 2007)

3. With pleats! (MaxMara, $465 at Saks)


6 Responses to “Staples: The Basic Black Pencil”


  1. Four-eyes « Office Pretty - May 12, 2011

    […] are like pencil skirts: it’s all about finding the right fit. I got my first pair of glasses in fifth grade and my […]

  2. Staples: Colored Cardigans « Office Pretty - May 23, 2011

    […] make it possible for you to wear the same basic black pencil skirt to work twice in the same week and not have even one person […]

  3. Pencil Skirt Remix « Office Pretty - June 13, 2011

    […] covered the pencil skirt basics here, so it’s time to take it to the next level. Pencil Skirt Remix by officepretty featuring a […]

  4. Top 5 Staples of 2011 « Office Pretty - December 29, 2011

    […] A black pencil skirt […]

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    […] wear these funky oxfords with something classic like a pencil skirt and button down […]

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