2018 Update: We still think this is a great roundup of stylish pencil skirts, but you may also want to check out our more recent roundup of pencil skirts for work.
Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.
Ladies, here’s something we haven’t talked about in far too long: which are the most stylish pencil skirts for work? I’ve heard the J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirt is on the upswing (reviewers note it’s more similar to older versions of the skirt), and the old reader favorite, Halogen’s pencil skirt, is still getting positive reviews even after the design change — but otherwise it seems very much to be an open field right now. Do you prefer pencil skirts in solid neutrals or suiting fabrics — or do you find colorful pencil skirts to be an easy way to inject fun to your working wardrobe? Do you prefer midi skirts or A-line skirts these days? Which are your favorites?
We’ve rounded up some of our favorites on the market right now — and ooh boy are there some good sales. First, some specialty groups:
- Hall of Famers (the skirts we’ve admired year after year): Limited (luxe), J.Crew (No. 2) — and an honorable mention to the Halogen skirt, which at one point was so well-loved that readers just called it “The Skirt” — it’s still highly rated on Nordstrom but the design has changed
- Under $60: Anne Klein, Halogen (suiting), Loft, Shabby Apple, Target, Lands’ End, Calvin Klein,
- Decent sale: Armani (wool, 60%), Halogen (striped, 65%), Halogen (suiting, 40%), Brooks Brothers (60%), Shabby Apple (50% off), Armani (50% off),
- Matching blazer available: Halogen (suiting), Classiques Entier, Anne Klein, Limited (luxe), Lands’ End, Target, Basler, Elie Tahari, T Tahari, Calvin Klein,
- Machine washable: Eileen Fisher, Limited (luxe), Boden, Lands’ End (ponte), Lands’ End (wear to work),
- Petite: Halogen, Eileen Fisher, Limited (luxe), J.Crew (No. 2), Talbots (plus and petite plus), Lands’ End (ponte), Lands’ End (wear to work), Ann Taylor (tan/khaki), Ann Taylor (coral), Loft (slit), Loft (leaf pattern), Eileen Fisher (knit), Halogen (solids & prints), Anne Klein (black & gray), BOSS (coral), BOSS (stretch wool), Nic +Zoe (stretch-twill print), Calvin Klein (gold/white houndstooth), Ellen Tracy (black or print), Banana Republic (navy), Banana Republic (black), Boden (cotton ottoman), Talbots (seasonless wool, also in petite plus)
- Tall: Limited (luxe), J.Crew (No. 2), Boden, Ann Taylor (coral twill), Ann Taylor (diamond print), The Limited (Collection), The Limited (stretch twill), The Limited (wide waistband), Banana Republic (pinstripe), Banana Republic (tweed), Banana Republic (gray or blue), Boden (wool blend), Boden (cotton ottoman), Boden (colorblock or print),
- Plus sizes: Talbots, Eloquii, Vince Camuto, Sejour, Louben, Basler (black), Calvin Klein (black), Talbots (seasonless wool), Talbots (cotton blend), Talbots (pinstripe), Talbots (floral),
- Cusp sizes: Classiques Entier (0-16), Lafayette 148 New York (2-18), J.Crew (up to 16), Talbots (up to 20), Ann Taylor (up to 18), Lands’ End (ponte, 2-18), Lands’ End (2-16), Brooks Brothers (up to 16), Loft (00-18, slit), Target (2-18)
- Maternity: ASOS (gray), Isabella Oliver (ponte, five colors), Rosie Pope (black), Eva Alexander (brown), Maternal America (houndstooth), Rachel Zoe (blue), A Pea in the Pod (black), A Pea in the Pod (print/texture), Ripe (four colors), Old Navy (jersey, up to XXL), Duo (maternity plus) (check out our guide if you’re building a maternity wardrobe for work)
|At least one of the commenters on our recent roundup of the best suiting brands for women noted how much she loved the Luxe collection at The Limited, and it’s easy to see why — a super classic, basic skirt with matching jacket, available in sizes 00-18 as well as petite and tall sizes. It’s $69.95 full price, but today you can take $25 off every $50 with code night, which brings this skirt down to a very affordable $45. Luxe High Waist Pencil Skirt|
|We’ve featured this before, but I keep seeing this Loft pencil skirt everywhere, and it always looks great (better on real women than the models, I think). Ladies, this may be a unicorn: it’s a pencil skirt with pockets! It’s normally $69, but some colors are on sale for $59 today; if you’re a cardmember you can get an additional 30-40% off today. Slit Pencil Skirt|
|Boden’s Modern Pencil comes in regular and tall sizes, and has a ton of fun prints to choose from. I like that it’s machine washable, has a nice bit of stretch, and finishes just below the knee. It’s $88 at Boden. Modern Pencil Skirt|
|I haven’t quite processed this information, but must share: there are a number of great sales on Armani going on around the web right now. Nordstrom has a ton of pieces marked 60% off (I’m now obsessed with this dress and may have to get it), and Bloomingdale’s also has a decent sale on a number of Armani pieces. This wool pencil skirt — a great basic! — is down 60% (!!!) at Nordstrom, from $495 to $197 — with lots of sizes still left. Pictured: Armani Collezioni Wool Cady Pencil Skirt|
|Their loss, your gain: The disastrous styling of the first Zac Posen / Brooks Brothers collaboration means that many of the pieces from the collection are on steep discount right now. This pencil skirt was $498 originally, but is now down to $199 — and it still has sizes 0 to 16 available. Ignore the fugly shoes (what were they thinking?) and focus on the great deal for this Italian stretch dobby fabric with lovely vertical darting. It’s also available in black, but still at full price. High-Waisted Pencil Skirt|
|Honorable mention: this skirt is more of a midi skirt than a pencil skirt — and it’s a pull-on style — but hello, it has 83 really positive reviews. If you’re on the hunt for a longer style, do check it out — especially since it’s only $69. I’m less of a fan of the brand’s tube skirt for work (be wary of overly body conscious styles, ladies), but it’s also got a zillion good ratings in both regular, petite and plus sizes. Pictured: Vince Camuto Ponte Midi Skirt|
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