The pencil skirt is back - but not as you know it
In recent seasons, fashion has been on a strict diet of oversized, flowing, occasionally billowing silhouettes. There was no room in the normcore movement for the skin-tight shapes that the previous incarnation of pencil skirts embodied.
In the post #MeToo world, though, women are reclaiming every aspect of themselves, including their clothes. Enter the resurrected pencil skirt (let’s call it PS 2.0), and it is bursting with new attitude. Looser than the original wriggler, PS 2.0 is slouchier, less formal, less skin-tight and loaded with fun. Pencil skirts’ new lease of life comes free from the restrictions and constraints (literally) of office attire.
At Prada, where pencil skirts are the bread and butter of the brand, head designer Miuccia Prada created softer shapes, pairing her new style with socks, mini sunglasses and sass. Similarly, Gucci reversed the world order of pencil skirts and sent their creations down the catwalk with an oversized logo sweatshirt. Victoria Beckham opened her show with a sheer dusty-pink pencil skirt worn over a baggy checked shirt, while Fendi opted for leather and embellished options – tinsel-like, if you will. Regardless of their iteration, the message was clear: no longer was the pencil skirt flirting between the lines of submission and sexy, respectful and vamp. Instead, PS 2.0 was reclaiming cool (note: nothing will kill this cool faster than a pair of five-inch patent pumps).
At the top of my list of ‘pros’ for working in a creative industry was that I could wear ‘relaxed’ clothing and avoid my life-long dread of a wardrobe full of corporate clichés. So, when I took on the piece of the season, there was a hefty dose of hesitation. I learnt that length is key. For this look to work, mid-shin is where you should be aiming. And give yourself ample travel time. While your style might be amplified, your stride length will take a slight hit.
Length and apt looseness in tow, I wore mine with a smart sweatshirt (it is possible), leather jacket and white leather trainers. Me, but a revised version. PS 2.0 felt surprisingly empowering: it was feminine without lacking strength, and offered individuality by the bucketload. More power to the pencil skirt, we say.
Longer, looser, patterned – welcome to the new era of pencil skirts
Knitted Cotton Skirt
£354, Calvin Klein 205W39NYC at mytheresa.com
Zara Red Ditsy Thorn Pencil Skirt with Slit
Checked Pencil Skirt
Denim Pencil Skirt
Pink Asymmetrical Hem Pencil Skirt
Bold Poetry Skirt
Gingham Checked Paperbag Pencil Skirt
Sateen Striped Shirred Skirt
Crochet Midi Skirt
£279, Laurel at flannels.com
Sequin Pencil Skirt
Images: Courtesy of brands