+ Look for Less

Morning Line: November 17

This week, the morning posts will feature my wardrobe staples–the pieces that I cannot live without.  These are the pieces that I reach for when I want to feel my best or don’t know what to wear.  Let’s start with the black pencil skirt.


Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt ($69, also in petite)

I used to be loyal to J.Crew pencil skirts, but when the hem on my last one shredded after fewer than ten wears, it was time to move on to something else.  Halogen sells a solid, well-made pencil skirt for a very reasonable price.  If you prefer a smoother look, they also make an un-seamed pencil skirt.

Another stylish, affordable option is this sleek skirt from Jones New York.  Banana Republic also offers two nice choices, the first in ponte and the second in a cotton-blend.  If you buy them today, they’re 40%-off with code GIFT.

If you want to splurge a bit, I recommend this DvF New Koto skirt.  If you need something under-$50, Jones New York offers their basic pencil skirt for $49.

Plus-size? This Sejour Ela Pencil Skirt is a good pick.  Tall? Ann Taylor sells an all-season pencil skirt for $79.



  1. YouSaucyMinx says:

    What are good skirt alternatives for women who can’t wear pencil skirts? They’re always on the lists of wardrobe staples, but with my hips, I look crazy in them, and other skirt options look frumpy. Am I cursed to a skirt-less existence?

    November 17, 2014/Reply
    • Leigh says:

      I buy pencil skirts to skim my hips and then take in the waist to fit and the bottom to look more tapered; so they just skim my figure, if that makes sense. (I sew though, so I do it myself; it might not be worth the expense for someone that doesn’t sew.) I am sort of an apple/hourglass (tapered waist, but larger stomach), but I do get what you say about some not looking good, especially with certain tops. I wear skirts exclusively, so I have a pretty large collection. A-line skirts are sort of universally flattering in my opinion, but YMMV.

      November 17, 2014/Reply
      • Anna says:

        Yeah, I’m hippy and skirts are a waaaay better option for me than pants. I like that the Halogen skirt isn’t too tapered. I thought it was pretty flattering on me, if anything, the waist could be taken in a smidge, but it just fits a little lower instead. I do wish it were easier to style a-line skirts. I have trouble making them look as sleek and professional as a pencil.

        November 17, 2014/Reply
      • RS says:

        Yes, I am hippy/pear-shaped, and I do something similar to make pencil skirts work with my shape. I typical buy a size or two larger than I would normally wear for pants or dress, so that the skirt isn’t squeezing my hips/butt. I then take it to a seamstress and have her fix the remaining portions of the skirt so it fits otherwise. I’ve done this with four or so of the Halogen skirts – buy larger to accommodate the hips, then tailor the rest.

        November 19, 2014/Reply
  2. Maria says:

    I wanted so badly to like the Halogen pencil skirt after reading all the praise on CHS, but it just didn’t work for me. First, I couldn’t find a size that fit me properly. I’m usually an 8 or 10 but neither option looked great. I finally decided to buy the one that looked less bad (note to future self: when it doubt, just say no), only to have it begin pilling really badly after just one wear! Has anyone else had a similar experience? Or did I just get the only poorly constructed skirt they’ve ever made?

    November 17, 2014/Reply
  3. Paula says:

    Maria, sorry for your experience! I joined the Halogen fan club this summer – bought two of the lighter summer weight ones and wore the heck out of them. Made the plunge to buy 4 colors for the winter, and they are all looking good after wearing them regularly since Sept – so 8-10 times each so far? Catch them on sale in the pre sale in Aug or in the clearance sale which may have just finished?

    November 17, 2014/Reply
  4. Kate says:

    Love this skirt! I bought my first one last year during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, and I bought two more this year. Absolutely a wardrobe staple. I haven’t experienced any pilling and just like with any pencil skirt I buy, I have to have the waist tailored.

    November 17, 2014/Reply
  5. thephillydiva says:

    Jones New York & Eloquii are great too. I am plus size, and if you combine the discounts in the paper, you can get an entire suit for less than $100. I also like Lafayette 148, but that is the type of suit if you spill something on it, it is ruined!

    November 17, 2014/Reply