The Hunt: Black Flouncy Skirts

Anne Klein Platinum Pleated Skirt 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.

A pencil skirt will always be a staple piece for a working wardrobe — but it often takes a bit of hard work to find office-acceptable A-lines and flouncy skirts. I’m seeing a ton of them recently — including lots of mini versions, some dramatically wide, some leather, some even more exotic materials. There are, however, a few out there that are office acceptable, though, and they seem so ladylike and fresh, particularly if all you’ve been wearing for the past few years have been the more form fitting pencil skirts. Lovely (so long as you don’t wear it like this). Readers, do you have strong opinions on the A-line/flouncy skirt look for work? Have you bought any great ones recently — and what are you wearing them with?

Limited ponte flounce pencil skirtThis one is the best of both worlds, I suppose: a pencil skirt with flounce details at the bottom. Even better: this highly rated, 22″ skirt is on sale today, with lots of sizes available in both black and red. It’s $29.90 at The Limited. Ponte Flounce Pencil Skirt
Anne Klein Platinum Pleated Skirt I love the little pleats at the bottom of this one — when in motion it’s going to have a flouncy effect, but when just standing still it looks almost like a pencil skirt. It was $89, but is now $49 at (sizes 2-14). Platinum Pleated Skirt
White House | Black Market Ponte Flirty SkirtI was interested to see that White House | Black Market has a whole line of “flirty” skirts (in regular and petites) that have a fit and flare look to them. This 20″ skirt is $88, and available in sizes 00-16. Ponte Flirty Skirt
Diane von Furstenberg Lyra Fit-&-Flare SkirtAt 19″ this lovely Lyra skirt from DvF may be a bit on the shorter side, but of course it’ll fit everyone differently depending on your height. I love the way it moves in the video. It’s $245, available for pre-order at Saks in sizes 0-14. (See also: this gorgeous flared skirt with blue accents.) Diane von Furstenberg Lyra Fit-&-Flare Skirt
Theory Alcine Pleated A-Line SkirtTheory delivers with a very loose silk georgette version at a respectable 21″ — I love the knife pleating and am intrigued by the frayed hem. It’s $265 at Saks, available for pre-order in sizes 00-10. Theory Alcine Pleated A-Line Skirt
Akris punto Ruffle Hem SkirtI know, I know — this isn’t a black flouncy skirt — but it COMES in black (I’m 99% sure this is the same skirt over at Bergdorf Goodman, but without a single good picture focusing on the skirt). I like all of the things that I like about our more budget-friendly picks today, but I see this one as the one most likely to stand the test of time and last for more than a few seasons.  It’s $395 at Nordstrom in “barley” (pictured) and at BG in black. Ruffle Hem Skirt

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  1. Anonanonanon :

    Immediate threadjack: I have an internal lunch/interview tomorrow for a move to a different department doing a related, but different job. It’s with a team that I’ve been working alongside for 6 years. The mid-level manager (who is actually pretty senior) is trying to recruit me to join them & is “sold” on me. The lunch is with him & the head of the whole department. It’s financial services, not banking. My background is legal (I’m a non-practicing attorney) and I have almost 10 years of experience in my industry. I don’t have a ton of interviewing experience & I’ve never had a lunch like this before. I think it is partially get to know you/make sure I like you and partially interview. Any tips?

    • I’d prep for this like a normal interview – do some research on the people who are going to be there, and the new team/position.

      Then sit back, be confident, don’t order something messy or weird, and be your awesome self.

      Sounds like they are wooing you, not the other way around.

    • Agree with all the above, and just wanted to say good luck!

      • Anonanonanon :

        Thank you! Silly question- you wouldn’t bring a resume, right?

        • Never hurts to have one in your bag just in case, but I wouldn’t provide it unless asked, and I highly doubt you’ll be asked. Sounds like they know you and want you.

  2. TO Lawyer :

    Can anyone comment on how clothes from the Limited fit? I love that first skirt (and a couple others online) but don’t want to order in case nothing fits!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I actually have a stretchy pencil skirt from the Limited that lasted for six years, and just bought my new favorite cropped black work pants from them.

      Mine have been cut well for a generous hourglassy shape. Their fabric tends to be a bit stretchy and forgiving, but is thick, unlike a lot of stetchy fabrics. And they wash in the machine with hanging to dry and a touch of the iron, so I’ve been very happy with them. The hook and eye on my pants came off after a season of heavy wear, but it was super easy to just sew it back on, and for the price, I feel like I got my money’s worth.

      Weirdly, though, I think The Limited’s shirts tend to look cheap and terrible.

    • I think they fit similar to Loft. I’m usually a 4 in pants at Loft, Banana, and Limited, and usually a small or extra-small in tops at those places (although Loft’s top sizing has just gone insane lately, driving me to petite versions sometimes).

      I love the Limited Cassiday (Cassaday? Cassidy?) pants. They wash and hang dry very well, and I find that they don’t gap at the waist on me. BR’s Sloan fit also work well for me in this regard, if that’s informative.

      Hope that helps. I’ve actually been pretty pleased with the things I’ve bought at Limited over the past couple of years.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I wear the same size pencil skirts from The Limited as I do in JCrew’s number 2 pencil skirt.

      Tops depend on what it is. Most things fit me in the same size as NY & Company but The Limited’s tank tops are super small in my experience.

  3. Jane Steele,MA :

    As a former Career Assistant and now currently a Reading Tutor I would suggest that you read up on your new lunch partner’s background first and find our what you and he/she have in common. If he/she has an interesting resume that has some experiences similar to yours please take note and bring this to the table if given the chance (and if and only if it is necessary). Watch facial expressions and reactions from both people that you are lunching with. Brush up on your company’s annual report if needed. Also if sports is mentioned ( you could on the sly talk with his secretary/office assistant on this one) it could lead to some more interesting doors to be opened in your favor. Above all dress for success and be yourself. Please let me know how this comes out if you wish. Jane Steele,MA

  4. Anonymous :

    I just bought a great one from LOFT. Comes in colors/neutrals/and prints but I usually wear it on a more casual day. I think flouncy/a-line skirts are more comfortable to sit in all plus we all know that pencil skirts don’t look great on everyone.

  5. BankrAtty :

    As a petite and short gal (5’2) I worry that styles like this often read childish or too “I’m headed out for Sunday brunch” on my frame. Anyone else feel like this? Am I just wearing the wrong proportions?

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m the same height as you and I think it can work if the skirt is not too flouncy. Also, I would be sure to wear heels with this kind of skirt.

    • Cornellian :

      I’m 5’4 and feel this way. In order to be flattering and more adult they need to be a bit above the knee on petite women, which isn’t appropriate in my office.

    • Veronique :

      This is one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of most flouncy skirts (though I do like pleated skirts). Imo, they look less professional and more playful than a classic pencil skirt or A-line. Why is it so hard to find a classic a-line like this?|cat:J84DHJLQkR4 Why are they so rare and so expensive?

      • BankrAtty :

        That skirt–SWOON!

      • There’s this from BB.,default,pd.html?dwvar_WL00075_Color=MDBL&contentpos=4&cgid=0490

      • Well, that one’s expensive because they actually used nice material. The lining isn’t polyester, for once. They’re rare because it’s hard to make a trend out of a simple a-line skirt.

        They are fantastically simple to make though, if you ever found a pattern that you liked. Like, you could make it in a day, or a weekend. Even with the lining.

        • And…they can read a little too school uniform, depending on what else you pair them with.

        • Veronique :

          Great idea! I am sewing challenged, but I know a good seamstress. Imo, not wearing a-lines with button-ups eliminates most of the school uniform look.

  6. I love skirts like this. I have one from BB (a few seasons back) that I tend to wear on fridays and it always makes me happy. I always like them for going out after work, too. It’s a bit easier to transition to dinner without looking too corporate.

    A related question about knifepleats: I recently bought a gorgeous Trina Turk dress with knife pleats that is “dry clean only.” The woman at my dry cleaners told me that the pleats will come undone more and more with each cleaning. I had it cleaned only once so far and it’s already happening. Is this something that always happens with this kind of pleat? Is this common knowledge? Can anything be done to avoid this? And if anyone is eyeing the Theory skirt, I guess keep this in mind as a cautionary tale…

    • Interesting. I always thought a skirt could be repleated (with new “permanent” pleats) if necessary. Perhaps it depends on the fiber content or the weave.

      • How do you repleat the skirt and where? Maybe this one can also, although my dry cleaner didn’t volunteer that this service could be performed.

        • I never had it done, but once someone told me it’s possible. I always assumed a decent dry cleaner could do it. I’d guess it depends on the fabric (i.e. it might work fine on wool but not on silk).

    • Even if the stitches have been stitched in, the pleats will definitely become less crisp with each cleaning. Natural fibers will typically lose pleats more easily, than synthetic fibers. And the pleats are basically just set in with heat (and maybe steam).

      And this is one of those reasons I avoid clothing with garment length pleats. They are a bitch to maintain.

    • I thought the dry cleaner was supposed to keep the pleats crisp

      • I was told that was impossible. I don’t know. It’s too bad if that is the case. It’s a really, really cute dress.

    • anon in tejas :

      this depends on the fabric.
      I have had my ponte knife pleat skirts come undone after several years of dry cleaning (10+) trips. I have had my silk knife pleat skirts stay, and come back sharper from the dry cleaners.

  7. Help - need Ann Taylor sizing advice! :

    TJ – I’m in the market for a new suit and was thinking about trying Ann Taylor while the 40% off sale is on. I’m 5′ 4″ (so right on the border for regular/petite sizes) and was thinking about ordering a petite jacket and pants online, but I’m not sure if I should size up (the size 6 pants and jacket fit well in the store, but were both a little long). Anyone have any AT sizing advice?? Would love to hear back before the sale is over tonight!

    • Ann Taylor petite sizes can run small for those with a little booty, in particular the petite skirts. Otherwise, I love AT suits. At 5’0, 106 lbs I need a size 2p for the skirts, but can manage a 0p in pants.

    • T. McGill :

      I don’t think the 40% off applies to suiting. I did some online shopping this weekend, none of the suiting in my cart was marked down; promo code only discounted the non-suiting items. Afterwards, I vaguely remembered that last time there was a big 40% off sale, a salesperson told me that those sales never apply to suiting. Boo.

      • Help - need Ann Taylor sizing advice! :

        Ugh, really?? Darn. Good to know, especially since I was starting to consider braving the mall after work!

        • Buckeyeesq :

          I bought a couple of suiting pieces on Friday and the discount applied, but I’ve found their online system can be wildly inconsistent in applying coupon codes. May want to call ahead if you’re thinking of going to the mall.

      • The promo code doesn’t apply to their “Power Pieces,” which includes some of the suiting in the all-season stretch pieces. But I managed to score 40% off a Triacetate suit this morning. I would double check which suit you are eyeing to ensure the discount applies.

    • AT Sizing :

      I size up in Ann Taylor petites. I’m 5’2″, but sometimes I can wear a regular in their dresses (which are sometimes cut a little short). In regulars, I’m a 2, but I take a 4 in petites.

    • Help - need Ann Taylor sizing advice! :

      It turns out that the tropical wool suiting is included in the promotion. Just sized up and ordered a jacket and pants online – $130 off! Thanks for the quick tips, ladies!

  8. Love the featured skirt from The Limited. It wears, washes, and packs extremely well. I have it in both black and red. Excellent length for work, but with a little extra detail, it transitions very well from desk to dinner. Highly recommend, particularly at the sale price.

  9. OK but what is UP with the shoes in that last picture? We wear our high heels untied? That’s a recipe for a broken ankle!

  10. Size Matters? :

    Maybe to be less exclusionary, since women over a size 14 can be professionals that read this site, you could include some extended size clothes?

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