the essential pencil skirt

One of the closet items I cannot imagine to live without is a well fitted pencil skirt. Whether you dress it up for a corporate meeting or dress it down for a casual brunch, the essential pencil skirt is a very versatile piece that is on a constant rotation in my wardrobe. Let me show you some of my favorite pencil skirt pairings and a few tips on choosing and styling the pencil skirt.

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A pencil skirt is more formal and slimming, compared to an A-line skirt that is more camouflaging and playful. Both however, are very feminine. Before choosing pencil skirts in different textures and prints, I like to have some basic, versatile colors like camel, grey, black or navy. They are so easy to pair with any of your favorite tops or blouses.

The pencil skirt is flattering on most body types. You just need to get the fit, style, material, and closure that best suits your body.  Make sure to always try pencil skirts on in the store.  Sizes will vary by fabric.  Walk around, bend over, and sit down in the skirt to test how comfortable it is.  The right skirt should hug your curves and smooth your silhouette, not squeeze anything.  It should be comfortable and flexible, too.  The perfect pencil skirt will very possibly end up being your most favorite, most comfortable, go-to piece.

I have a few criteria or must haves that I think makes the essential pencil skirt:

  1. It has a high waist. A high waist doesn’t just elongate your body but it also gives your outfit a classic and elegant feel.
  2. The fabric is a lightweight wool or cotton with a stretch for a comfortable fit.
  3. The hemline is right around your knee or a little bit above. Since the pencil skirt already hugs your curves, it is essential to keep it knee length without any deep slits when dressing for work.
  4. Subtle slit in the back. you cannot have a classic pencil skirt without a small slit in the back.
  5. The skirt begins to taper at your thigh. It gives you a beautiful and polished shape. Make sure to be comfortable though.

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How do you style your pencil skirts?

Photos by Rick Robillard

the essential pencil skirt

  • Julia

    I love it ! Especially the last picture, in olive blouse and animal print belt. Great combo. Pencil skirts are my wardrobe staple too. Thomas Pink shirt + pencil skirt+ heels is my usual work outfit. And I have to admit that I started wearing midi skirts because of you, you’re an inspiration !

    • Red Reticule

      Awww, so sweet! It took me a while to take the plunge and wear midi skirts for work, but they really are a great option when you want to change things up a bit. When it comes to office style, I try to stay away from skirts that are super full or the ones with lots of patterns on them (I have a skirt with London printed on it). As long as you keep the colors subdue, midis work great with blouses, shirts and crop blazers. Have a great week, Julia!

      • Julia

        Oh, no, not for work, even though in some cases I might take the plunge too :) I started to consider full midi skirts after seeing your pictures, as I was afraid my current weight might not support that. Bought two and tomorrow some more :) Hope you are having a great weekend too.

  • Blaire Bingham

    You can’t beat a great pencil skirt! You look amazing in all of these options!

    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

  • Carylee

    Soooo much goodness in this! You have quite the pencil skirt collection! I have to agree though that the silhouette is quite flattering, even if I’m not feeling the skinniest! Great roundup of looks! You’re beautiful!
    Carylee |

  • Grise

    Great tips! Pic number one has to be my fave, the blush pumps really add interest to the neutral outfit.

  • Victoria Fox

    Seriously what great tips! Love these pictures so much!

    • Red Reticule

      Thank you so much, Victoria! Have a great week! Bogi

  • Lindsey Puls

    These looks are all gorgeous! I have yet to take the plunge and buy a pencil skirt…your tips will come in quite handy once I do! :) I hope you have a lovely weekend!


    • Red Reticule

      I hope these help in your next purchase, Lindsey! Comfort and good quality fabric are must haves for me. Have a great one! Bogi

  • for seven seasons

    I love pencil skirts, and I wear them almost every day! You have such an awesome selection.

    • Red Reticule

      Thank you! I sure love to wear skirts. I realized the other day that I only have 2 pairs of pants for the office. Hope you have a great week! Bogi

  • ADA

    You have a great collection of pencil skirts. Such chic and elegant looks. Love the striped one and that ombre red one the best. I have some of the same criteria as you for the pencil skirts. High waisted for sure!

    Happy Monday Bogi! Ada. =)

    • Red Reticule

      Oh, yes! High waisted skirts just take the elegance up a notch. You can’t go wrong with a well fitted skirt. Have a great rest of the week, Ada! Bogi

  • Jeanie

    Gorgeous looks! Perfect for the office!

  • GlamistaHome

    Loving all of the outfit ideas. I am a big fan of the pencil skirt. I think it always looks feminine and elegant. It’s such a classic perfect for any shape.

    • Red Reticule

      I agree with you. You can get so much wear out of a good quality and well fitted pencil skirt. Have a great week! Bogi

  • SheelaGoh

    I’ve only just recently fallen in love with pencil skirts, they’re so flattering :) I love mine in knit or jersey or anything with a smidge of stretch, and I love them midi length.

  • betty maye

    Pencil skirts and jackets are two things my wardrobe must have in it. You always wear them well!

  • Natassia Crystal

    You’re an expert combining outfits with skirts! :)

    And an expert in choosing the right shoes for each outfit! :)

    Twitter | Blog: Geekette in High Heels | Instagram

  • jess

    I love pencil skirts too and you style them in such a glam way. The cobalt sweater with the pencil looks amazing !

    Thanks for linking up with Turning Heads Tuesday

    jess xx

  • dan

    A pencil skirt really is a key piece! I like how you have styled yours. You look gorgeous in every photo!

  • StyleDiaryByOsy

    All styled so beautifully.