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10th Commandment: May 6

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and you know what that means?  College graduation season is officially upon us.  And in celebration of this milestone weekend, I thought I’d bring back Intern Week.

This week, the morning post will feature pieces that cost under-$75.  On Wednesday, we’ll dive right in and talk about how to build a professional wardrobe from scratch.  And today, we’ll be answering a lot of Ask Belle e-mails from some of the blog’s younger readers.

However, if you, like me, are past the “free labor” phase of your career, hopefully, you’ll find a few inexpensive items that you will want to add to your wardrobe.


Anne Klein Pencil Skirt ($55)

The pencil skirt was the foundation of my intern wardrobe.  You can do anything with a pencil skirt; it can be uber-professional or dressed down.  This Anne Klein skirt is a great skirt for the money.  It also comes in grey, off-white and black.

Should you need a suit, Anne Klein also makes a jacket and trousers in the same fabric as the skirt.  With just a little tailoring, you could have three well-fitting, inexpensive suit pieces.

If you have a basic pencil or two, try a colored, printed or patterned one instead.  I love this under-$30 skirt in vibrant purple.  While I don’t usually wear linen, the slightly crazy, watercolor-floral print on this Calvin Klein skirt could make me change my mind.  And I love this simple striped skirt with color-blocking at the waistband.

Plus size? Sejour makes a basic, but stylish, pencil skirt.  Petite?  Calvin Klein skirts are a great place to start.



  1. MS says:

    Hi Belle, this may be slightly off-topic, but do you have any ideas on good-quality (yet cheap!) tops that someone on a budget could wear? I’m looking for ideas for nice tops that can be worn with jeans, in particular. Thanks in advance for answering this!

    May 6, 2013/Reply
  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you! What a timely series of posts – with graduation looming, I’m looking forward to all the great advice.

    May 6, 2013/Reply
  3. SLG says:

    I’d love a post on how to style a basic pencil skirt without looking frumpy. How to layer tops, how to style belts, etc.

    I’m not an intern but I did recently take a career step back in order to take more steps forward (as you talked about a few weeks ago, Belle — great post). So I’m wearing a lot of versatile basics these days, and looking forward to the week of posts!

    May 6, 2013/Reply
    • Caroline says:

      I’m petite and curvy and almost everything looks frumpy on me, but I wear pencil skirts nearly every day because they’re so flattering. It’s important to find a pencil skirt that’s slim enough without being too tight. Also make sure it’s not too long. For me the Limited pencil skirts in size 0 are sized really well for my build. You’ll want to wear pumps with the pencil skirt, unless maybe you have really long legs. Likewise for the tops, you’ll want to wear things that are fitted and not too long. Blouses should be tucked in, definitely, and if you’re wearing a cardigan or jacket over the blouse make sure it’s not too long or big in some area. Scrunched or rolled up sleeves are a good idea unless it’s a formal situation. Hope this helps!

      May 6, 2013/Reply
  4. K says:

    The Macy’s links don’t go through anymore, FYI!

    May 6, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I swear, their website is the worst. I’ll keep that in mind.

      May 6, 2013/Reply
  5. Sofie says:

    I love the Anne Klein pencil skirt and considered buying it, but the sizing on the Macy’s site seems way off. According to the size chart, a size 2 would have a 37 inch bust, 33 inch waist and 42 inch lower hip (most size charts put a size 2 at about 33-24-35). What on earth is up with this sizing?

    May 6, 2013/Reply
  6. Chinarette says:

    I LOVE this Anne Klein skirt. I have the whole suit in navy. It’s substantial fabric for the price. Not as luxe as Theory or Reiss, but hey, at that price…it works just great. I love how all the pieces match and are always available in department stores. At first, I just bought the jacket and skirt. Later I went back and added the pants. With tailoring, they look great.

    Sofie, I am a pear/hourglass and I found the skirt true-to-size, while the blazer ran a little big. I wore my usual size in skirt, and went down one size in the blazer.

    May 6, 2013/Reply
    • Sofie says:

      Thank you!

      May 6, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:


      May 6, 2013/Reply
  7. Lady Lawyer says:

    I recently added two more basic pencil skirts to my collection from Banana Republic and I’m very pleased with them. The Sloan fit skirt: https://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35288&vid=1&pid=428024122

    It comes in a bunch of colors and is structured, but still has some stretch. A few are on sale now too.

    May 7, 2013/Reply