+ Three Ways

Three Ways: Colored Pencil Skirts

Last week, I asked you for ideas for the Three Ways posts.  Several of you asked for tips on how to wear colored pencil skirts.  And since you specified the colored skirts currently available at J.CREW, I thought we’d start there.

When you’re wearing color on your bottom half, you have two choices: bold or neutral.  Do you want to ‘go big or go home’ with more color?  Or do you want to break out the neutral pieces and balance out the color?  

Since pairing a bold skirt with a neutral, basic blouse is fairly simple, I thought we’d focus on the bolder side of the colored pencil.  

Polyvore Set Here.

This skirt is in a color called ‘flame,’ it’s a vibrant orange-red.  Pairing the skirt with a patterned blue blouse and a coordinating cardigan softens up the rough edges.  Toss in a nude wedge and a stack bangle to complete an end-of-summer look that is right on trend.  

I really like these bangles.  They’re sold individually, but meant to be worn in multiples.  They can also be engraved to suit, so they would make a great gift.  And they’re an interesting shape that you don’t see every day, so you could wear them on their own as well.

Polyvore Set Here.

Last season, DvF offered a gorgeous combo dress that was a dynamic purple on the bottom and a punchy coral on the top.  For this outfit, I recreated that color palette using separates.  Add in a neutral shoe (you don’t want to overdo it with such bright pieces), a gold clutch and a cool, but affordable, gold earring and you’re all set for a late summer night on the town.

Polyvore Set Here.

Yellow is a tough color for a lot of people.  Their instinct is either pair it with neutral colors (white, navy) or other shades of yellow.  Neither instinct is wrong, but I like to do something a bit unexpected.

Here, I added a lavender blouse, which is a nice compliment to the deep yellow.  And if this blouse had sleeves, I might just stop there, throw on a belt, and call it a day.  However, this is a sleeveless blouse, so I want to cover up.

Setting aside that this jacket is linen, grey is the best neutral color to pair with this skirt.  Switch out the lackluster, flaccid belt and add something with some more structure.  Then add a coordinating shoe.

To finish off the look, add a dark green purse and a dark amethyst earring.  If this all too much color for you, you could buy an amethyst sweater or emerald sweater to wear with the skirt and still maintain the integrity of the palette.


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  1. Broads of the Beltway says:

    My only issue is that I wouldn't wear a cardigan with a pencil skirt unless it was cropped – otherwise, I'd go for something with a bit more structure, like a blazer. Considering how fitted pencil skirts are, having a longer cardigan makes the silhouette frumpy (it just sort of blouses over the waist,) or makes little rolls and the waistline more visible.

    August 9, 2011/Reply
  2. Genevieve says:

    The grey linen blazer in the last set is absolutely gorgeous! Love the asymmetry and softness.
    WRT the above comment, I was picturing the cardigan being worn unbuttoned, which I think would balance the structure of the pencil skirt quite nicely.

    August 9, 2011/Reply
  3. Belle says:

    Genevieve- You are correct, I would wear it unbuttoned. That way the longer cardi will bisect the tush making it look smaller.

    August 9, 2011/Reply
  4. vanessa says:

    love the first one! I recently purchased an orange pencil skirt from J.Crew and it's been so hard to style it! It would go well with a blue top now that I think about it.

    August 9, 2011/Reply
  5. Kate says:

    I recently purchased the first skirt, but I haven't worn it yet! Would a white scoop neck top be too plain? I have such a hard time with matching =(

    August 9, 2011/Reply
  6. Maggie says:

    purple green and gold just scream mardi gras to me, but i love the other two! i'm a big fan of yellow and blue, so i might go that way with the last one.

    August 10, 2011/Reply
  7. amy b.s. says:

    i am also loving that grey blazer in the last set!

    August 10, 2011/Reply