Pencil Skirts Are Reentering The Conversation, And They're Nothing Like You Remember

If you hear "pencil skirt" and automatically think "secretary chic," we hardly blame you. After all, pencil skirts are perfect office attire — long enough to comfortably sit in and form-fitting enough to be professional. But in the era of work-from-home jobs and ever-changing dress codes, we wouldn't be surprised if your old go-to pencil skirt has found a permanent home in the back of your closet. 

We're happy to announce that the pencil skirt is back and better than ever, and officewear is only one of many ways to style it. We're seeing pencil skirts enter the casual streetwear scene, used in eveningwear fashion, and styled as summer staples.

Your pencil skirt options have also seriously expanded over the years, and it's easier than ever to snag one in fun prints, fabrics, and colors to match whatever occasion you're needing to style yourself for. Ready to hop back on the pencil skirt train? Then without further ado, let's chat about all our favorite ways to style this fashion staple.

Sequins galore

Want an easy way to jazz up your staple pencil skirt? Add some sparkle to it! Grab a sequined or glitter-embellished pencil skirt and pair it with a casual sweater for lunch, or wear it with a tight black bodysuit and some heels for a night out. However you style it, a sparkly pencil skirt is a standout piece that offers some excitement to your standard pencil skirt.

Try one in leather

If you thought pencil skirts couldn't be edgy, think again! Grab one in skin-tight leather (or even latex) and pair it with your favorite colorful blouse, and you've got yourself a recipe for a stunning look that everyone will be commenting on. Styling a leather skirt is pretty simple and is a fabulous, more conservative way to dip your toes into the exciting world of leather wear. We wouldn't be surprised if you find yourself opting for shorter leather pieces after you break in your leather pencil skirt.

Make it midi

Contrary to popular belief, pencil skirts don't have to hit just at the knee. Keep the pencil shape and add a bit of length by opting for a pencil midi skirt. The midi length offers a more casual feel to your traditional pencil skirt while keeping it office appropriate — perfect for when your workday is followed by some errand runs or a shopping trip with a friend.

Or make it mini

On the flip side, why not go for a mini pencil skirt? Sure, mini skirts may not be great officewear, but they're definitely a warm-weather fashion staple. Pair a mini pencil skirt with a crop top and some heels for a summer brunch, or layer it like a pro during the fall over tights and under a chunky sweater. The pencil shape will keep your figure on display and let you show some leg while remaining versatile enough to easily pair it with pieces you already own.

Bright workwear

Of course, just because pencil skirts are branching out from their typical office attire sphere doesn't mean they're disappearing from workwear entirely. Pencil skirts are always a great, conservative office option, but we think you should take it up a notch even at work. Colorful, bright pencil skirts are one of our favorite ways to amp up traditional office attire (Elle Woods, who?). You could go full power suit and get a matching pencil skirt, top, and blazer. You could also keep it simple and easy to mix and match by getting one or two brightly-colored pencil skirts and matching them with neutral blouses. 

Put a slit in it

Just because pencil skirts tend to be modest doesn't mean they have to be all the time. If you want to add some allure to your pencil skirt outfits, grab one with a slit. Slits can also keep your pencil skirt from feeling too restrictive or difficult to walk in. Plus, there are ways to rock a high slit without baring it all! And depending on how high the slit is, you might still be able to wear this skirt as office attire; at the very least, it'll make for a great going-out 'fit when paired with a sleek, chic blouse or crop top.

Don't forget denim

When you're on your pencil-skirt-buying-journey, don't forget to check out different materials, as well. Denim is one of the most versatile materials out there, especially when putting together outfits. With denim maxi skirts back in style, it's no surprise denim pencil skirts are, too. You can pair it with nearly any other material in every color imaginable. A denim pencil skirt at any length is a fabulous casual staple we recommend you get in your closet ASAP.

Get one in nude

Want to find a pencil skirt you can dress up and down and wear with any blouse you have? Grab one in a nude shade! A nude pencil skirt is easy to style and can be worn professionally or casually, depending on the material you choose. Highlight your favorite blouse by wearing it with a nude pencil skirt and matching it to your accessories.

Showcase your sneakers

A long, form-fitting pencil skirt is a great option to wear when you want to showcase a standout pair of shoes. Because they don't have a ton of volume, they won't hide your shoes, even if you choose a long-form skirt. Wear one to show off a classic white sneaker, your favorite new booties, or the wedge sandals you've been waiting to wear since last summer. Bonus points if your skirt is neutral-toned — that'll let your shoes really shine.

Make a modest moment

A long pencil skirt is also great to have in your closet if you prefer to err on the side of modesty but don't love wearing pants or skirts with lots of volume. Modesty doesn't mean boring, though. Get a long pencil skirt in a bright fashion color to keep the visual interest of your outfit alive, and show as much or as little skin on top as you want. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you want to cover up, a long-form pencil skirt is handy to have around!

Cinch your waist

If you're trying to highlight your hourglass figure, a pencil skirt is a fantastic option to have on hand. Grab one that cinches you at the waist and fits closely to your hips and thighs to really emphasize your shape. You could wear it with a loose blouse for a slightly more understated look or a form-fitting one if you really feel like showing off your curves. 

Cute and casual

Yep, we said it: Pencil skirts are surprisingly great pieces for a casual, breezy ensemble. In warmer weather, you can wear a cotton pencil skirt with your favorite cropped tank or graphic tee, and in the winter, you can pair the same skirt with some tights and a cozy sweatshirt. Grab one in black to pair it with literally anything or a fun color to stand out from the crowd.

Show some leg

Pencil skirts are typically a more modest attire option, but nobody said they have to be. If you want to keep your pencil skirt ensemble on the sexier side of things, let them show some leg. A long pencil skirt with a thigh-high slit is a great way to stay mostly covered up while offering a hint of sexiness underneath. We recommend wearing it in warmer months when your skin can be on full display, but a revealing pencil skirt would look great with a pair of sheer tights in the winter months as well. 

Make it sexy

Of course, if you want to go all-out sexy, there's a pencil skirt for you, too. We'd grab one in red (stay away from black, as that could look too workwear-ish for a sexy look) and give it a slit that goes as high as you like. Make sure the skirt contours well to your body, and if you want to go the extra mile, grab it in a fabric with some shine to it, like leather, silk, or a metallic shade. 

Keep it cozy

The next time you're looking forward to spending all day on the couch binging your favorite TV show (but you still want to look oh-so-cute), wear a pencil skirt! That's right; pencil skirts can be as cozy as anything. Grab one in a stretchy fabric and wear it with some knee-high socks and a sweater for a cozy 'fit that you'll want to nap the day away in.

Wear it in winter

Slit or no slit, long or short, pencil skirts are versatile enough to wear in any season, depending on how you style them. Stay warm by pairing your favorite pencil skirt with knee-high boots and a pair of tights (fleece-lined for maximum warmth), and dress the same skirt down in warmer months by wearing it with some strappy heels.

Bathe in luxury

Want to really make a statement with your pencil skirt? Buy one from your favorite designer, like Chanel or Oscar de la Renta. Snagging a designer pencil skirt will give you a great piece to pair with other designer accessories you may have, or you could keep it simple by pairing a patterned designer pencil skirt with a solid-color tee. 

Grab a knit

A knit pencil skirt might be the most versatile pencil skirt option on the market. Why? Well, knits are professional enough to be worn in work environments but are also cozy and casual enough to wear outside the office. If you come home from a day job and want to immediately become a couch potato, wear a knit skirt to work. It'll be comfy enough to curl up in the second you're done with a long day.

Go for statement colors

Brunch get-togethers, dinner parties, and cocktail evenings are great opportunities to make a style statement with a pencil skirt. The next time you're put on the guest list for one of these events, dig out your best and brightest pencil skirt to wow the crowd! Your bright pencil skirt could be patterned or solid; whichever you choose, we recommend pairing it with a contrasting blouse (so pair a solid-colored skirt with a patterned blouse, and vice versa) to keep your 'fit from being overwhelming.

Keep it classic

Last but certainly not least, there's nothing wrong with sticking to the classic pencil skirt look in a professional environment. After all, a pencil skirt is a workwear staple for a reason, and it won't leave the office anytime soon. Pair it with a crisp button-up shirt for maximum effect. We recommend having one pencil skirt in black and one in white (or cream) for every work occasion. With all the above tips, you'll probably find yourself wearing your favorite work pencil skirt outside the office as well!