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Pretty in Pencil

© Márcia Rodrigues

Straight and narrow – that’s how we like our skirts to fit. A perfectly fitted pencil skirt is a bit of a paradox, somehow managing to be both incredibly sophisticated and suggestively sexy at the same time. The body-hugging curve is va-va-voom, but at the same time, the long lean length lends coverage and modesty. No matter how you wear it, a versatile pencil skirt is a wardrobe essential.

Christian Dior is often credited as creating the pencil skirt in the 1940’s, and it’s a look that has stood the test of time. Wiggle-worthy slim skirts are rarely absent from the runways during any given season, and Fall 2011 is no exception. Miu Miu may have spearheaded the trend for this season with their very vintage, 40’s-inspired collection of slit skirts and hair-rolls. Jonathan Saunders followed suit, with colorblocked separates and skirts in jewel blue, cognac, and intricate zig-zag prints. Rue du Mail showed impeccable pencils in intriguing knit patterns, and Moschino’s military-inspired collection was rife with snug skirts in navy blue, gold lame, and shimmering brocade.

Don’t restrict your pencil skirts strictly to professional-ware; this season’s skirts are made for work and play.

Warehouse, ASOS, ASOS, Preen, Topshop© Warehouse, ASOS, ASOS, Preen, Topshop

First up is this lovely cream-colored Warehouse Luxe Midi Pencil Skirt. With slit pockets and a wide waistband, this figure-flattering piece exudes elegance. Pair it with a simple black boatneck, pumps, and a strand of pearls for fool-proof chic, or get adventurous and work it with patterned chiffon blouses in bright, contrasting colors.

Go from work to happy hour cocktails in this slick black Gold Button Through Pencil Skirt from ASOS. Every woman needs a great black skirt, and we love the button-down detail on this one. A crisp white collared shirt is the obvious choice – add bright pumps or pointy flats for a punch of color. Dress it down for your days off with fitted halter-tops for a beat-the-heat fifties-vibe, or team it with a cool, cropped slouchy knit and suede booties for a night out.

This Jade Faux Leather Waistband Pencil Skirt from Topshop is another simple skirt with an unexpected detail. The jewel-toned teal is to-die-for, but the leather waist detail is what really sets this skirt apart – and in a heavy stretch jersey, the fit is flawless. Play with colorblocking by pairing this skirt with a silky top in gold, mustard, sapphire, tobacco, or violet, and acessorize with big gold earrings, bangles, and wedge sandals. Or, take it super-casual by topping the skirt with a shredded graphic tee and a leather or denim jacket.

If prints are your passion, check out the painterly Penelope Printed Pencil Skirt by Preen. The geometric pattern is unlike any we’ve ever seen, and the demure color palette is gorgeous. This is a very special skirt, so wear it with your finest pieces – a spun-cotton shirt in a coordinating shade, jewels, and luxe leather accessories like a woven clutch and black super-high suede sandals.

Stripes anyone? This ASOS Stripe Fishtail Pencil Skirt is a fun, fluted take on this classic silhouette and is eerily reminiscent of Prada’s ultra-bright Spring 2011 collection (which we’ve been coveting, by the way.) This skirt is loud, so keep it classic up top with a fitted black blouse and chunky, two-tone stack-heeled pumps.

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