How to buy a pencil skirt
A pencil skirt buying guide
The right pencil skirt style is a staple of women's clothing that can enhance your curves in a sleek way at work, at home or out and about. Knowing how to buy a pencil skirt is a matter of knowing your body shape and choosing the right length, materials and designs that will flatter your figure.
>> Where will you wear the skirt?
One of the first steps in determining how to buy a pencil skirt is to decide where you will wear it: at the office, for casual wear or for formal occasions.
- At the office: If you want apparel for the office, look at pencil skirt styles that align with your company culture. For example, if you work in a professional office, you might prefer neutral fabrics and an appropriate length for your environment.
- Casual wear: If you're looking for the best pencil skirts for casual wear or to wear as summer skirts, you might prefer knits, colorful prints and features such as ruffles. Choose whatever length feels most comfortable and flattering.
- Dressy occasions: If you want to know how to buy a pencil skirt for formal or semi-formal occasions, look for those that are made of satin, velvet or other special occasion fabrics. Choose a length that helps you look and feel elegant.
>> Consider your body and leg shape
The shape of your body is important in determining how to buy a pencil skirt because subtle differences between pencil skirt designs can make a difference in how they fit and look. Try to determine which of these descriptions best describes you.
- Apple: Your chest and core are broader than your hips.
- Pear: Your hips are broader than your chest and shoulders, and your waist is comparatively small.
- Banana: You have minimal waist definition and your shoulders and hips are approximately the same size.
- Hourglass: Your shoulders and hips are similar widths, and your waist is comparatively small.
Leg shape and length
Once you consider body shape, consider your legs. Most types of pencil skirt styles fall somewhere between mid-thigh and mid-calf, and length can affect how flattering the skirt looks on you.
- Slender: Minimal size difference between your calves, knees and thighs - overall slender appearance.
- Muscular: Fair amount of definition between your thighs, knees and calves - overall neither broad nor slender.
- Broad: Minimal knee definition and wider or bigger legs - your thighs and calves might also have different attributes, with one being broader or more defined than the other.
With leg and body shapes, remember that your body is unique. The above descriptions might not perfectly describe you. The point is to know your shape so that you can choose pencil skirt styles that play up your best attributes.
>> Consider the waistband
When deciding how to buy a pencil skirt, the waistband width, position and construction can determine how flattering and comfortable the skirt is.
High and low waists
High waists sit above the belly button, which can accentuate and elongate the lower half of your body, meaning that they might be the best pencil skirts for hourglass, pear and banana body shapes. Low waists sit below the belly button and draw the eyes down, making the torso appear more slender in comparison to the hips, which might be ideal if you're an apple shape.
The waistband is also a factor that helps to determine how to buy a pencil skirt. The width can either enhance or minimize curves.
Wide waistbands tend to slim the waist by emphasizing the difference between the torso and hips. If you have a banana or apple body shape, you might find a wide waistband to be flattering. Pencil skirt designs featuring a narrow or non-existent waistband minimize focus on the waist, which can be ideal if you have a pear or hourglass shape.
Waistband construction and materials
More a matter of comfort than fashion, waistband construction will help you choose the best pencil skirt design. An elasticized waistband, or one made of stretchy material, might be the most comfortable as it stretches and moves with you.
Tailored waistbands are not stretchy unless they feature a hidden "stretch" panel. With this pencil skirt style, the right fit is crucial. When you find a design that you like, try a few sizes to find one that feels comfortable when sitting, standing and moving.
Some pencil skirts feature no waistband at all, which means that stretchiness is dependent upon the material. Skirts with no waistband often sit below the waist, which can make them quite comfortable.
>> Consider the length
Best leg shape
Best body shape
|Mid-thigh ||Short and slender legs ||Banana and apple ||This is a recommended option for petite skirts. Consider stretchy materials for comfort. |
|Above the knee ||All ||All ||Try different lengths to see which one is most flattering. Even an inch can make a difference. |
|At the knee ||All ||All ||If you have broad or muscular legs, you might prefer a little shorter or a little longer. |
|Below the knee ||Long, short or slender legs ||Banana and apple ||This emphasizes hip, waist and calf curves. |
|Mid-calf ||Broad and muscular legs ||Pear and hourglass ||This balances curvy hips and can flatter long, short and slender legs, too, depending on your figure and outfit. |
>> Consider colors and design features
Ultimately, colors and design features define the pencil skirt's style, but they should be a secondary consideration after length and waistband.
For work or maximum versatility, the best pencil skirt might be solid or softly patterned black, gray or earth tones. Multicolored skirts might be color-blocked, dip-dyed or made of multiple fabrics and can be ideal for many occasions. Prints are also often multicolored and include floral, plaid, stripe, leopard and other patterns. Keep in mind that vertical stripes tend to slim, while horizontal and wide plaids tend to widen. With prints, choose those that make you feel attractive and confident.
When choosing the best pencil skirt for your body, design features can affect whether or not the skirt flatters you. For example, ruffles at the hem can enhance slender legs, de-emphasize curves or balance out a broader waist. When a skirt features ruffles at the hip, it's called a peplum, and it can make you look curvier, which makes it most flattering for apple or banana shapes.
Color blocking can emphasize or de-emphasize curves, depending on how the blocks sit. For example, if the pencil skirt style has light-colored side panels with dark-colored front and back panels, it will emphasize the hips, which is ideal for banana and apple shapes. When the colors reverse, it can be flattering if you have an hourglass or pear shape.
>> Consider accessories to complete the outfit
- Pumps: Heels are flattering for all pencil skirt designs, and nude colors can give the illusion of longer legs. These shoes are ideal for work and dressy occasions.
- Shapewear: Waist cinchers, high-waist longlegs and support nylons or tights can help to give you a smooth, elegant profile.
- Slips: These help to prevent cinching and clinging, especially under suits or thin materials
- Tops: Ultimately, choose tops that make you feel confident and beautiful. Also, try pairing tailored blouses with jackets and cardigans to enhance your best attributes and to add color.