Ask Belle: Machine Washable Pencil Skirt

Jun 2, 2015

Hi Belle,

I realized recently that I somehow do not own a black pencil skirt.  I went to buy the Halogen skirt you rave about and noticed that it’s dry clean only.  Do you have any recs for a pencil skirt I could throw in the washing machine?  Under $100 would be awesome.

Thanks! SK

This is the second request for machine washable garments that I’ve featured this week, and one of a dozen I received over the past few weeks.  More and more women seem to be rebelling against dry clean only clothes.  Is it the cost?  The hassle?  Both?

Whatever the reason, here are a few pencil skirts in a variety of colors (including black) that can go in the washing machine.
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Alex Marie Suiting Skirt ($89)

This skirt is part of Dillard’s Alex Marie suiting collection.  It’s basic, but well-made.

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Boden Modern Pencil ($88)

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Charter Club Lined Pencil Skirt ($49)

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Thalia Sodi Mesh Stripe Skirt ($39)

This skirt is kind of fun for dinner out or a casual wedding.  It also comes in cobalt and canary.

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Alfani Pencil Skirt ($29)

This skirt comes in ten colors from the neutral to the bright.

Plus-size? Try this INC Concepts skirt and this dotted Michael Kors skirt.  Petite? Alfani makes a petite skirt, as does White House Black Market.

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  1. Shelley says:

    For me, it’s the hassle. I do not have time to drop clothes off at the dry cleaner. I have two small children and a full time job. I shop online because I don’t find the time to do it. SO dropping clothes off at the dry cleaners just seems like a hassle.

  2. Zenworld says:

    As far as dry cleaning goes, the cost and the hassle are the least of my concerns. I worry about the safety of the chemicals used, I hate the smell, and none of my clothes ever feel truly clean after dry cleaning. I refuse to dry clean anything, please keep showing machine washable items on your blog. Thanks!

  3. Megan says:

    Thanks for posting machine washable items. I’m always looking to buy washable versus dry cleaning!

  4. Amber says:

    I have 6-8 of the Halogen pencil skirts and I have been able to wash them with no problems. I do the gentle/handwash cycle and hang to dry.

    • MissMaple says:

      Yeah, me too. They’ve lasted a couple years at this point and I don’t think they look too much worse for the wear.

  5. MK says:

    For me it’s cost above all, followed by hassle. At $9 every time I dryclean a dress, bills add up fast. I buy dry clean only skirts, since most professional-looking skirts tend to be dry clean only, but I generally refuse to buy dry clean tops. At least I can get a few wears out of a skirt before it needs to be cleaned, but it’s hard to envision wearing a top all day and into the evening and then wearing it again without cleaning it. It would be nice if more professional-looking dresses were machine washable. That’s another thing I find ridiculous about J. Crew — they want you to dry clean basic pieces, like t-shirts and cotton sweaters. If anything should be washable, it’s a t-shirt or a casual cotton sweater.

    • Kate says:

      Thanks to this blog I was introduced to MM LaFleur and about a 1/3 of their dresses are machine washable. If a professional dress equals tailored/structured cut to you, you might be pleasantly surprised with their offerings.

  6. Addie says:

    I’ve had success washing a lot of dry clean or hand wash only items in the washing machine by putting them in laundry bags, washing on the gentle cycle and laying flat or hanging to dry. Some things like blazers and certain dresses and sweaters I still dry clean. But most of my clothes go in the washing machine. For me it’s both about the expense and the hassle.

  7. Rae says:

    Definitely agree about washables. Don’t have the time or money for dry cleaning! Sorry Belle!

  8. EHF says:

    YMMV, but I really think hand washing or washing bags (such as https://www.thelaundress.com/mesh-bag-bundle, but I purchased my washing bag at the grocery store!) with some Woolite eliminates the need for dry cleaning. It’s the dryer that really kills clothes–dry on a rack, and use a steamer when you’re done.

  9. Clare says:

    I think it’s a combination of both. It’s a hassle, especially when you work early/late hours, forget the ticket, don’t have the cash (for those prepay in cash dry cleaners), and time. As a clumsy eater, (or just person in general), stains magically always appear. Constantly running to the dry cleaner became an expensive habit. Keep up the “machine washable” posts- so helpful!

  10. Cait says:

    My secret is J. Jill knit pencil skirts. I’m not a fan of other J.Jill styles, but these are awesome. I live overseas and they have stood up to brutal foreign washing machines without getting stretched out or pill-y. They don’t show panty lines and are very flattering.

  11. anon says:

    Also, Ann Taylor usually has a good black ponte pencil skirt every season. I have a great one from about 3 years ago that I machine wash and lay flat to dry.

  12. ak says:

    The only things I ever dry clean are made with sheep’s wool, which in theory is the only material that can’t get wet without losing its integrity. More often than not manufacturers are just lazy and don’t test other methods, or cut down on quality so much that pieces will fall apart in the wash. So I’ll even wash dry-clean-only stuff on gentle, and only buy it if I know I can (which 99% of the time is true). I don’t know if the halogen skirts have the “only” or not, but they do fine in the wash for me.

  13. Shannon says:

    I have the Jones NY machine washable pencil skirt in black, navy, and grey. They fit well and I wash them in the normal cycle, and lay flat to dry. Easy peasy.

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