Right after the end of World War II, women wanted to embrace new fashion styles and display their femininity. French fashion designer Christian Dior took notice of this and created the first, classic pencil skirt in the 1940s. The skirt immediately became very popular, especially for office wear.

A pencil skirt usually falls to, or just below, the knee and is tailored for a close fit. It is long and slim, as a pencil and therefore its name. Designers, in their spring/summer 2014 collections, gave the pencil skirt the “thumbs up” and presented it in different looks.

Blumarine Spring 2014 collection
Blumarine Spring 2014 collection

Karl Lagerfeld, for Chanel’s Spring RTW 2014 collection, combined art and fashion and gave the mid-calf pencil skirt a split on both sides to ensure free movement. Anna Molinari, for Blumarine, created an innocent yet provocative look using flowers embedded in sheer tops to accompany just below the knee funky pencil skirts. And, Rebecca Minkoff, gave a bohemian vibe to the pencil skirt by mixing a crocheted skirt with an athletic knits top.

Pencil skirts are really elegant and figure hugging. They can really compliment a woman’s figure displaying confidence, style and elegance. However, many women believe that unless you have a slender, slim, tall figure, wearing a pencil skirt is a serious fashion faux pas!

Is it true though? Women should have a specific body shape to wear the pencil skirt? The answer is no.

This type of skirt can be worn successfully and stylishly regardless of your body shape as long as you keep the shape and the length of the skirt right:

  • the best length of a pencil skirt, whether you are petite, tall and leggy, slim or extra-curvy, is somewhere around the knee area (a bit above or a bit below)
  • it should not be too tight. If horizontal wrinkles appears across the hips then the skirt is too tight. It should “hug” the body not cling it

What is truly important and need to always remember is that every body shape has its own advantages and that NO body shape is perfect. Apple, pear, hourglass, inverted triangle or rectangle/straight; any body shape can overcome pencil skirt intimidation.

No body shape is perfect. Learn to love yours!
No body shape is perfect. Learn to love yours!


Women with this body shape are more filled in the midsection and usually have very beautiful legs. If you fall into this category, choose a pencil skirt in a bold color with a side-split. The split will draw attention to your lovely legs and not your fuller waist. Match it with a feminine pleated blouse (should not be very loose, only just enough) and a pair of skinny heel shoes to further elongate your legs. Remember to:

  1. avoid belts or pockets around your midsection
  2. always go for a fitted jacket


Women with this body shape have a defined waist and are larger at the bottom and smaller at the top. The way to wear a pencil skirt elegantly is by moving attention away from the hips. A black pencil skirt is one that you can easily wear but prints, patterns and colors are not off-limits either, as long as they do not add width, like horizontal lines. Pair your skirt with a blouse with ruffle details or, a belted cardigan over a simple top to balance out your curves.


This is the easiest body shape to dress according to most stylists. The waist is much smaller and well-defined than the bust and hips. The high-waist pencil skirt is ideal for this body shape as it will accentuate your curvy figure. Go for a slim, not very tight fit that just follows the contours of the body.

Prints in dark colors, like medium-sized polka dots on a dark background, paired with a tucked in V-neck shirt make a perfect combination. For a more casual look, choose a turtleneck and a pair of booties, or even a belted casual cotton T-shirt to go with your skirt.

Strawberry/inverted triangle

When the bottom half of the body is smaller than the top, with little definition between the waist and the hips, stylists say you have an inverted triangle body shape. To wear a pencil skirt successfully , you need to add volume and attention at the lower part of your body and beautiful patterns are the thing for you. The width of your shoulders can easily balance out any pattern, pleats or embellishments. Pair your skirt with a sleeveless V-neck tucked in blouse for extra style.


This body shape is often referred to as “cylindrical”. It has very few curves and minimal waist definition. So the primary goal is to create an illusion of curves through pieces of clothing and this can be done with a peplum at the waist pencil skirt.

The same “cheating curves” effect you can achieve with a skirt rich in embellishments at the waist and as this body shape works very well with heavy materials, leather is an excellent choice too. Pair your skirt with a body-hugging turtleneck to further define your waist and mission accomplished!

Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original alwaysladies.com founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.


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