+ Three Ways

Add It Up: An Aqua-Blue Pencil Skirt

One of my favorite summer pieces for the office is a brightly colored pencil skirt.  J.Crew Factory is currently selling their popular cotton pencil in a variety of vibrant colors.  The quality of the skirt is good for the $45 price.  I’ve heard a few complaints about wrinkling, but I’ve also heard people say it’s not a problem.  Regardless, if you’re looking for a colored pencil skirt, they still have the best selection out there.

Other colored pencil skirts in the under-$150 price range include this Italian Flannel Pencil Skirt in ash violet and this pale pink Ann Taylor.  This citron green pencil skirt from Macy’s is an affordable $35.  This Alfani skirt also comes in a good selection of colors for $30.  So how would I style a colored pencil skirt?

I chose the aqua-blue color in the J.Crew pencil skirt because it blends the uniqueness of a non-neutral with the versatility of a neutral.  Plus, it’s not a color I already own, which cannot be said for pink, green, yellow, or purple.  Did I mention I like colored pencil skirts?

For the top outfit, I kept things fairly basic.  The color palette is a refined neutral in a selection of blues.  The top I chose is a really cute pom-pom trim shell from Banana Republic ($50).  If you prefer something you can tuck in, this Cece scalloped shell from Nordstrom ($79) can be worn untucked or tucked.

I added the Factory Clare cardigan ($25) for the topper.  The Clare is a great buy for the price.  They don’t hold up as well as the old J.Crew cardis (what does?), but they hold up as well as the new J.Crew cardis for half the price.  Other readers have said good things about the cardigans at Land’s End and LL Bean, if durability is a deal breaker for you.  My favorite cardigans come from Halogen, the durability is good and the color/print selection is nice.

To tie the whole outfit together, I used this pretty lapis pendant necklace ($52).  I like the way the darker blue plays into the look.  This Trina Turk long pendant necklace also caught my eye.

For the bottom outfit, I wanted a look with a bit more pop.  Red and aqua is one of my favorite color combinations.  The look is a bit unexpected, but oh so chic.  Plus, I really wanted to find a way to incorporate this cool Topshop blouse ($125) into an outfit post.  Not feeling the red?  You could also try dark purple for a sophisticated look.  Or for something more unique, try a sage green or yellow on top.

As for the other accessories, with such a bold color palette it’s best to do a neutral shoe.  This tan Charles David pump ($89) is a good option.  If you’re done with pale-colored shoes, you could also try a grey snakeskin or a charcoal grey shoe.

Additionally, I kept the jewelry a half step above minimal with a larger hoop earring.  I like these Robert Lee Morris edged hoops ($79).  If you’re looking for a sturdier hoop, the kind you can wear for lifetime, try these Roberto Coin hoops.

If you have any suggestions for pieces you like, or how you would style this skirt, leave them in the comments.

Leave a Reply to Jessica · cancel comment


  1. Jessica says:

    Belle, or anyone,

    I am blessed, or cursed depending on how you look at it, with a voluptuous rear end. I’ve never been able to wear a pencil skirt without it looking overly “sexy” and therefore can’t find any to wear to work. Is a pencil skirt an item that I just won’t be able to wear or have I not found the right one?

    June 7, 2017/Reply
    • C says:

      You haven’t found the right one. I am VERY pear-shaped and have quite the rear (after years of being self-conscious, it’s become a point of pride) and I struggled for years with pencil skirts. Just find one that fits the rear and then have the waist taken in as much as needed and boom! perfect pencil skirt.

      June 7, 2017/Reply
      • Allison says:

        Completely agree. I look much better in pencil skirts than I do in pants, and due to weightlifting I have a very round butt, ha. The key is getting it to fit the thighs/rear and taking in the waist. If the fabric folds or pulls across your hips, it’s too small. Also, I see women in too small pencil skirts with that have stressed slits, which makes them too sexy looking for work, when you are standing still the slit should naturally be closed.

        June 7, 2017/Reply
      • Jules says:

        I also have the problem of skirts looking too sexy sometimes, but I pretty much exclusively wear pencil skirts at work. Finding pants is just *NOT* gonna happen, alas.

        I find that the thicker, ‘scuba’ type of materials with full lining and good structure make me look good and professional. Also, on the flip side, some of the thinner, stretchy polyester skirts work well too, because it stretches enough on the butt, but not in the front. I think finding the right length, size and fit is important. For example, I can’t do “high rise” or midi length but mid/low rise and knee/above the knee work for me. hope that helps

        June 7, 2017/Reply
    • L says:

      SAME! I hear so often that the answer is to get a skirt that fits in the hips/rear and then get it taken in, but I would need to go at least 2-3 sizes up just to get it to fit there before taking in the waist, and I’ve always worried that this would be too much for a seamstress to deal with. Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH fabric to take in?

      June 8, 2017/Reply
      • Belle says:

        That shouldn’t be too much. I often have to have skirts taken in two sizes in the waist, esp. if they’re high waisted. I’ve seen a good seamstress turn a size 12 dress into a 4.

        June 8, 2017/Reply
  2. KC says:

    These are my favorite types of posts! Thanks!

    June 7, 2017/Reply
  3. Kim says:

    I am loving these types of posts. So happy to see them coming back over lists of links. I’m sure they’re a lot of work to put together, so thank you!

    June 7, 2017/Reply
  4. Lauren says:

    Loving these posts so practical!

    June 7, 2017/Reply
  5. LC says:

    I would love to get the lapis necklace, but I can’t find the link!

    June 7, 2017/Reply
  6. Whitney Hutchinson says:

    I just did the kermit the frog yeah! happy dance in my office. Not only is this my fav kind of post, but I actually have been hoping that you would do one on this skirt, because I own it and have been struggle with locking outfits I love with it. Thanks for the inspiration Belle!!!

    June 8, 2017/Reply