In most working women's closets, you will find a pencil skirt. This wardrobe basic remains a staple because it is flattering on most and appropriate for both formal and casual work environments. Like so many wardrobe basics, it can also get a bit stale over time. Some might even say boring. When I worked in a corporate office, I work a black pencil skirt and a button-down shirt 4 days out of 5. I am falling asleep just thinking about it. To avoid this wardrobe tedium, liven up your black pencil skirt by wearing it in a new way.
#1 Wear a sleek turtleneck and vest.
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A turtleneck and a pencil skirt alone can be a chic, powerful look. Adding a vest to the ensemble allows those who are self-conscious of their tummy areas to enjoy the bold, sleek lines of such an outfit. I used to think vests were the most pointless of articles of clothing. Now, I realize that vests provide the concealing qualities of a structured blazer, without the arm restriction.
#2: Wake up your cardigan with a necklace.
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The ever popular Nic & Zoe 4-Way Cardigan is elevated to business casual when paired with a simple tee, statement necklace, and pencil skirt. It's important to get the proportions correct when pairing a cardigan with a pencil skirt. You want something that is hip length, or a bit shorter. If that cardigan covers your bottom, that is going to create an unflattering, widening effect. I prefer tees to tanks when dealing with office wear, because if you get too warm, you can remove the cardigan and still have your shoulders covered.
#3: Add some edge with a leather jacket.
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Perhaps you'd like to take your pencil skirt out for a night on the town, or you're heading from the office straight to happy hour. In that case, you can easily swap out your cardigan for a leather jacket. A cropped, shorter jacket will look the most proportional with pencil skirts. Add a pair of statement earrings to ensure your look is more "cocktails" than "cubicle".
#4: Skip tucking with a peplum top.
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Like a vest or one-button blazer, peplum tops conceal tummies. A shorter peplum tee works well with pencil skirts because they can be worn un-tucked without a layering piece, making this look ideal for warmer temperatures.
#5: Wear your color on top.
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With a black basic worn on bottom, nearly any color blazer can look fantastic. Why not try an ultraviolet jacket this season? Olive is another sophisticated option for those who prefer autumnal hues. As with the other tops, you want a blazer that hits you at the hip or above.
#6: Get ready for the weekend in a chambray shirt.
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If you want to wear your pencil skirt on the weekends, try pairing it with a super casual top, like a chambray shirt. Adding a leopard scarf will also help ensure the piece looks more weekend than workday. While heels that are at least 2" will always look best with a pencil skirt, a pointed-toe flat is a great option for those who don't wear heels.
#7: For the bold, try a maxi cardigan.
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Our last look works best on those who are on the tall side and slimmer on the bottom. A long-line cardigan worn over a simple pencil skirt and blouse, paired with ankle boots is the cool-girl office look dreams are made of.
How do you like to wear your pencil skirts? Let me know in the comments.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.