The Straight and Narrow on Pencil Skirts

Dear Deborah,

I just went back to work after many years at home with my kids and I’m trying to figure out how to dress. I still have a pretty good body ( hourglass shape ) and I want to look businesslike, but feminine too.  Lately I’ve noticed a lot of  pleated skirts in fashion magazines, but I don’t really like them.  Are pencil skirts still in?  Thanks Jill

Deborah BolandHi Jill,

The pencil skirt is a classic style that never dates. I think it would be perfect for you because it will show off your curves but still look professional. Make sure you get a good fit. Your skirt should be wide enough across your hips that it doesn’t pull, but it should also be snug enough around your waist to look sleek.  ( You shouldn’t be able to get more than 1 or two fingers between your waist and the waistband)

If you have trouble with fit, find a skirt that fits your hips and take the skirt in at the waist, not the other way around.

Choose a pencil skirt in a quality fabric. The nice is, compared to years ago, most suits come in versatile year round fabrics. You really get a lot of wear out of them.

Neutrals colors like black, gray, camel, taupe, navy are most business-like, and a pencil skirt with a slight pattern or texture makes it modern and interesting.

Add a silky blouse or fitted top- nothing big and sloppy.  Remember the idea of a pencil skirt is to show off those curves so you don’t want anything bulky covering up your waist.

Blue Trend 1


It’s always good to have at least one jacket to go with your pencil skirt for those occasions when you want to show authority at work. A jacket will instantly elevate your credibility and status. A fitted matched jacket ( same color and material as your skirt) projects more authority than a coordinating jacket. Which one you choose depends on the environment you work in.

For example, if you worked in a serious corporate environment like law or finance you’d need to go with a matching jacket. If you worked in a  business casual environment like sales or communications, a  coordinating jacket would be fine and you could even go with a slightly more relaxed fit.  (A curvy gal may need to belt a relaxed fit)

Closed toe pumps look the most professional with a pencil skirt at work. Booties could work in a more relaxed or creative work environment.

Here are a few tips I’ve put together to help you look Fabulous in a pencil skirt. Jill, have a wonderful time back at work, and dress Fab Boss Lady!  Cheers, Deborah


How to wear a pencil skirt

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