A Guide to Pencil Skirts

Pencil skirts are among the most popular types of skirts out there. They are a timeless and versatile wardrobe staple that can effortlessly transition from professional to casual or even evening wear. They are known for their form-fitting silhouette and knee-length hemline, which can accentuate the curves of the body while maintaining a sophisticated and elegant look. Whether you are dressing up for the office, going out for a night on the town, or aiming for a chic everyday outfit, pencil skirts can offer you endless styling possibilities.

In this article, we are going to explore more information about pencil skirts, such as their origins, different types, how to choose the right one, and some styling options to help you master the art of wearing pencil skirts with confidence. If you’re interested, read on and discover the wonderful world of pencil skirts.

The Origins of Pencil Skirts

a businesswoman wearing a white pencil skirt

The pencil skirt that we know today has its origins in the mid-20th century. It is closely associated with the iconic fashion designer Christian Dior. But the concept of a narrow, form-fitting skirt can be traced back even further.

Back in the early 20th century, the fashion of women started to change, moving away from the restrictive and voluminous styles of the Victorian era. The flapper era of the 1920s brought about an evolution towards more streamlined and figure-hugging silhouettes. Skirts during those times became shorter, and the concept of a slim-fitting skirt began to emerge.

In the late 1940s, the term “pencil skirt” was first coined to describe a slim, straight skirt that closely followed the contours of the body. But the influential post-World War II New Look introduced by Christian Dior in 1947 was what popularized the pencil skirt and cemented its place in fashion history.

The New Look collection of Dior featured a narrow, high-waisted skirt that emphasized the waist and hips, creating an hourglass figure. It became a symbol of femininity, sophistication, and elegance during a time when women’s fashion was shifting towards more tailored and refined styles. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the pencil skirt gained popularity, and it became a staple in women’s wardrobes. It was viewed as a professional and polished garment for the workplace, as well as a glamorous option for evening wear.

Over the years, the pencil skirt has undergone variations in materials, length, and detailing, which reflect the changing trends and preferences of each era. At the present time, it remains a classic and versatile piece that is loved by many women and fashion enthusiasts worldwide. It continues to adapt to modern styles while retaining its timeless appeal.

Different Types of Pencil Skirts

woman wearing a high-waisted pencil skirt

There are various types of pencil skirts that vary in design, fabric, and detailing. To learn more about these, below are the different types of pencil skirts:

Classic Pencil Skirt

The classic pencil skirt has a simple, streamlined design featuring a straight and narrow silhouette. It usually falls just below the knee, and it is among the timeless wardrobe staples for most women.

High-Waisted Pencil Skirt

This type of pencil skirt sits at or above the natural waistline. A high-waisted pencil skirt can create a more defined waist, and it can also help elongate the legs. This is a flattering style for different body types.

Peplum Pencil Skirt

A peplum pencil skirt has a ruffled or flared fabric detail at the waist. It adds volume and creates a feminine silhouette. The peplum can either be attached to the skirt or as a separate layer.

Wrap Pencil Skirt

A wrap pencil skirt features a front overlapping panel that wraps around the body. It creates a slit or asymmetric hemline. It is a great style that can add an element of interest and movement to the pencil skirt.

Ruffled Pencil Skirt

Ruffled pencil skirts have flounces or ruffles incorporated into the design, mostly along the hemline or as a decorative detail. The ruffles can add a touch of femininity and playfulness to the style of the skirt.

Denim Pencil Skirt

This type of pencil skirt is made of denim fabric, which is great if you are aiming for a more casual and relaxed take on the classic pencil skirt. It can also be styled in many different ways, making it suitable for both casual and smart-casual outfits.

Leather Pencil Skirt

A leather pencil skirt can add a sleek and edgy element to your wardrobe. It is mostly made from genuine or faux leather. You can also style it for both daytime and evening looks.

Printed or Patterned Pencil Skirt

A printed or patterned pencil skirt features different designs, such as florals, geometric shapes, abstract, or stripe patterns. These designs can add visual interest and allow for more creativity when it comes to styling.

These are just a few examples of the different types of pencil skirts available. Each variation offers a unique twist to the classic silhouette, allowing you to choose a style that suits your personal taste, occasion, and desired level of formality.

How to Pick the Right Pencil Skirt

woman wearing a brown pencil skirt

Since there are many types and styles of pencil skirts to choose from, it can sometimes be challenging to decide which one to wear. When picking the right pencil skirt, it is essential to consider certain factors, such as the occasion, your body shape, and your personal style. If you need help deciding, below are some of the tips we can give on how to choose the right pencil skirt that will match your style and preferences:

Body Type

Pencil skirts are known to be flattering on most body types. However, it is still important to pick a skirt that emphasizes your best features. For instance, if you have a curvier figure, it is best to look for a pencil skirt that features stretchy bandage fabric that will hug your curves without being too tight. But if you have a straighter figure, pick a pencil skirt that has details, such as pleats or ruching, to create the illusion of curves.


You can wear pencil skirts on many different occasions. However, it is important to pick a skirt that is best for the event you are going to attend. If you are going to formal events like interviews or business meetings, pick a pencil skirt in a neutral color, such as navy, gray, or black. But for more casual events like a day out or brunch, try experimenting with colors and bold prints.

Personal Style

There are different styles and fabrics to choose from when it comes to pencil skirts. But it is important to pick one that will reflect your personal style. For example, if you prefer a classic and timeless look, pick a skirt that is in a neutral color with minimal detailing. But if you want to be on the trendier side, pick a skirt that has bold prints or unique textures, such as suede, metallic, or leather.


Pencil skirts have different lengths, and it is important to pick one that flatters your body type. If you have shorter legs, pick a pencil skirt that falls just above your knee to create the illusion of longer legs. But for those with longer legs, it is best to wear a pencil skirt that falls just below the knee or mid-calf.


It is essential to choose a pencil skirt that fits properly. Its waistband should sit comfortably at your natural waistline, and the skirt should fit snugly without being too tight. But it should also not be too loose as it can create unflattering wrinkles and bunching.

Different Tops to Pair with Pencil Skirts

woman wearing a blue pencil skirt with a white top

The fit and proportions must be considered when wearing a pencil skirt with various tops. If you decide to wear a looser top, for instance, make sure the skirt is tailored to balance off your appearance. In the same way, if you select a fitted top, check to see that the skirt is not excessively tight, as this might cause unsightly bunching and wrinkles.

The secret to wearing a pencil skirt with several tops is to put together a balanced and coordinated ensemble. Here are some suggestions for how to wear a pencil skirt with various tops:


A blouse is one of the classic choices that you can pair with any type of pencil skirt. Pick a blouse that has a neckline that flatters your body type. Tuck the blouse into the waistband of the pencil skirt if you are aiming for a polished look. But for a more casual look, leave the blouse untucked and pair it with a belt to cinch in the waist.


It may seem too casual to wear a T-shirt with a pencil skirt, but it is a good option if you are aiming for a more relaxed look. Pick a fitted or cropped t-shirt and tuck it into the waistband of the skirt. You can also add a statement necklace or a pair of heels to dress up the look.


During cold days, a sweater is a cozy and stylish option to pair with a pencil skirt. You can pick a fitted or cropped sweater and tuck it into the waistband of the skirt. But you can also leave the sweater untucked and pair it with a belt to define your waist.


Wearing jackets is a great way to add sophistication and structure to a pencil skirt. Pick a tailored blazer or denim jacket to dress up the look. Alternatively, you can also go for a leather or bomber jacket if you want a more edgy and casual look.

Wearing Pencil Skirts for Different Occasions

a stylish woman wearing a pink pencil skirt

As we’ve mentioned earlier, pencil skirts are versatile, and you can wear them on different occasions. By experimenting with various tops, shoes, and accessories, you can create different stylish outfits with your pencil skirt. Below are some of the tips we can give when it comes to wearing pencil skirts for different occasions:


woman wearing a gray pencil skirt with white long-sleeved top

For a professional look, you can wear a classic black or navy pencil skirt and pair it with a crisp white button-up blouse and a pair of black pumps. Then, accessorize with a statement necklace and a handbag. But you can also wear a colorful pencil skirt to work and pair it with a neutral blouse and a blazer if you want a pop of color in the office.

Date Night

A romantic and feminine look is perfect for a date night. To achieve this, you can pair a lace or floral pencil skirt with a silky blouse or a fitted turtleneck sweater. Accessorize with some statement earrings and a pair of strappy heels. Another option is to pair a leather or denim pencil skirt with a crop top and ankle boots for a more casual look.


If you are attending a formal wedding, you can pair a floor-length pencil skirt with a silk blouse or a beaded top. Then, accessorize with some pretty earrings and a clutch bag. If you want a romantic look, you can instead pair a midi-length pencil skirt with a lace blouse and wear a pair of strappy heels.


If you are thinking of a casual and chic brunch outfit, you can wear a high-waisted denim pencil skirt and pair it with a striped t-shirt or a lightweight sweater. Accessorize your outfit with a crossbody bag and a pair of espadrille wedges. You can also choose to wear a colorful floral pencil skirt and pair it with a white T-shirt and sneakers for a more comfortable outfit.

Cocktail Party

If you want a sophisticated and glamorous cocktail party outfit, you can wear a sequin or metallic pencil skirt and pair it with a black blouse or a silky camisole. For your footwear, you can choose to wear a pair of strappy heels. You can also accessorize your outfit by wearing statement earrings. Another option is to wear a velvet pencil skirt and pair it with a lace top and ankle boots if you want a trendy and chic outfit.


The pencil skirt is indeed one of the most versatile types of skirt. With a range of styles, fabrics, and details available, it continues to be reinvented and embraced by fashion designers and enthusiasts alike. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its ability to combine sophistication, femininity, and versatility in one garment.

Whether you opt for a classic design or experiment with modern variations, the pencil skirt remains a fashion icon that adds a touch of elegance to any ensemble. Its timeless appeal ensures that it will continue to be a beloved and stylish choice for years to come. We hope this article helped you learn more about pencil skirts.