28.10.11

Shall I pencil you in?


 I like fashion but I'm no slave to it. Some fashions come and go, some stay. Forever. Items such as the pencil skirt for example, which is a hugely versatile piece of clothing that can easily take you from day to night. If I could only have one skirt in my wardrobe, just ONE - it would be a black pencil skirt.


 It's fab for the office and super for wiggling the evening away. It's a skirt for all seasons too. In summer team it with a light blouse or a vest top, in winter throw on some stockings/tights a little cardigan and that skirt will look after you all year round.

Skirts evolved in style during the war, rationing had a huge impact on fashion and trends. The need to get the most out of every inch of fabric available was a must. Women wanted/needed to combine smart with practical, skirts would often be teamed with smart jackets to form suits and it wasn't unusual for women to raid their husbands wardrobes and rework a mans blazer into something feminine and elegant.Women still wanted to look nice, great effort was made to look stylish - even if that meant having to fit a gas mask over a head full of pin curls.

In the late 40's rationing was still impacting on the availability of clothing and whilst many fashions do not always work well with practicality (I know I'm not the only one to have fallen ungracefully from sky high wedges) I'm sure that for a lot of women, Christian Dior's designs for a slim fitting pencil skirt were well received.

Not only did this style embrace femininity, it also worked well with the need to continue to make do and mend. It's quite likely that many of the narrower fitting skirts being sported by the everyday girl on the street around this time, had been created from a skirt they already owned. Even though clothes rationing  ended in 1949, food rationing continued until 1954, so making the most of what you had continued well into the 50's.

Christian Dior who is quoted to have said ''Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.''


Dior pencil skirt
Janet Leigh

A popular classic that has stood the test of time, the lengths may vary but a this wardrobe staple is still as popular as ever.

Katy Perry

If you're now in the mood to go out and find a pencil skirt and you fancy going down the vintage route, then my advice before you go out hunting and rummaging is to first of all measure your hips and waist. Why? Even 80's vintage will probably have very different sizing from modern clothes of today. What the label says may not even come close to the measurements you are used to.

There is nothing worse than getting that sinking feeling of not being able to fit into something you were sure would just slip on. So use the label in vintage clothing as a rough guide. If it says a 6 and you're a 14 it's probably safe to say that's a no-no BUT if you're a 12 and the label says 16 ....don't necessarily dismiss it and don't be shy about carrying a tape measure around with you to whip out in a shop to check the measurements.

Think of that tape in your handbag as a mobile lie detector, to test that little clothing label.  In fact even if you're standing in a charity shop with two recent skirts from the high street they will probably still measure up  very differently to each other, because a Topshop 12 is different from a Dorothy Perkins 12 for example.

If you don't fancy going down the vintage or the second hand route? Well, you're spoilt for choice on the high street so here's  a few just to get you started......

New Look £19.99


Next £22
Oasis £30
You can read more about my love of pencil skirts how I wear mine in my post Getting that vintage look

 
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6 comments

  1. I do love pencil skirts, I wear my black one a lot and you're right, evening and daytime, dressed up or down.

    I agree with your tape measure advise it's really the only way to get a good fit, I always work on measurements never sizing!

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  2. I love a pencil skirt too. I have got two black ones, one with butttons at the waist and one without. And a check one. And a denim one. I should really shut up now!! Skirts are so fab in colder weather though as you can layer up. x

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  3. Top post :) Tis true - it never goes out of fashion!

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  4. I love pencil skirts! They ALWAYS work, and can make you look sexy, stylish, or demure, depending on the rest you wear with it. I do prefer when the hem reaches below the knee though...The only annoying thing whit this type of skirt is that they make the seam on seamed stockings move a bit too much. Have to keep those seams straight you know! :)

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  5. Great post. I unfortuntaely don't have the figure for a pencil skirt but love them on other ladies
    xx

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  6. Like wide black trousers, a pencil skirt is totally timeless. I sometimes struggle to find one with a good waist (I have massive waist-hip ratio) but the good thing is, invest in a nice one and it lasts for years and years!

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