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Career Style: Skirts for Summer

When it comes to warm weather professional attire, women have it made.  Dresses and skirts are so much cooler than suits and ties that I almost feel sorry for the boys.  But while I love a basic navy pencil skirt, some of the ladies at the Capitol really need to branch out.

Polyvore Set Found Here.

Whether you’re looking to add, color, texture or prints to your wardrobe, you can do that with a pencil skirt.  And on those days when you have nothing to wear and you’re standing in front of your closet wondering how the hell you put something together, a chic pencil and a starched white shirt is an excellent go to.  Best of all?  You can find a cute pencil skirt in any price point, all of these skirts are under $125.  

I especially love the bow skirt in the top row from The Limited and the peach skirt in the bottom row from Antonio Melani, but any one of these skirts would make a lovely addition to your professional wardrobe.  However, there are a number of women in D.C. who need some tips on how to find a pencil skirt that fits.  Because it doesn’t matter how cute the skirt is if you are tugging and pulling at it all the time.  And if it ill-fittingly fails to show off your best assets?  Well, forget about it.

First off, you need to buy the skirt to fit the biggest part of you.  If you’re apple shaped, you need fit your stomach.  If you’re pear shaped, you need to fit your hips and tush.  And if you’re a triangle and disproportionately busty, I suggest you forgo the pencil and look into an A-line, a flirt skirt, or something with some volume to give you balance. 

Once you find a skirt to fit the largest part of you, you need to tailor the skirt to fit the other parts.  A lot of women skip this tailoring, either do to expense or hassle.  We get anxious to wear our new clothes, and we don’t want to wait three or four more days to take them out for a walk.  But skirt tailoring is one of the easiest and least expensive alterations that you can have done, so spend the extra coin and have the waist nipped in or the side seam taken in.

As for skirt length, you need to use the finger method to find the perfect length.  Most women look best if a skirt is hemmed three fingers above the knee.  So when you take the skirt to the tailor, put your middle three fingers together like a Girl Scout and measure from the top of your knee cap.  Hem accordingly.

If you’ve got a closet full of basic black, blue and grey pencil skirts, think about branching out.  A little pizzazz never hurt anybody.


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  1. r says:

    Love the pizazz-y skirts! I'm always tempted to skirts with a bit more “oomph” but usually put them down, fearing that I'll have nothing to wear with them! I'd love to see a post on how to be creative but professional with printed skirts.

    June 20, 2011/Reply
  2. Michelle says:

    I love the colored pencil skirts–and, in fact, own the Tahari one. I'm looking to branch out of the pencil skirt for my work wardrobe; I have several colors and neutrals already. What other cuts do you suggest that are fun, sexy, and of course, work appropriate?

    June 20, 2011/Reply
  3. Jessica says:

    I love my jcrew bright orange w/cream accent 'ribbon' skirt. It is perfect with a crisp white or off-white blouse, some gold jewlery, and a metallic flat. It also looks good with a white blazer.

    June 20, 2011/Reply
  4. Sarah says:

    Love the pencil skirts you've chosen here and I agree, it's hard to go wrong with skirts like this for the office. But my biggest beef with a pencil skirt (or, for that matter, a sheath dress) is the seemingly inevitable horizontal wrinkles that form across the hips after sitting for any decent length of time. (In my case, my commute is so long that my skirt/dress is nicely wrinkled by the time I get to the office.) Any tips on how to combat those?

    OK, another question: best shape of sandals to wear with pencil skirts, for those of us fortunate enough to work in offices that don't require pantyhose?

    June 21, 2011/Reply