Pencil Skirts for Every Shape
If You Have an Hourglass Figure
Choose a slim, but not tight, fit that follows the contours of the body. Opt for a style that hits at or below the navel. “High-waisted skirts tend to exaggerate the bust and shorten the torso,” says Bridgette Raes, a style expert based in New York City and the author of Style Rx ($11, amazon.com).
To try: The pronounced waistband of the James Coviello silk-blend skirt highlights a small waist, while darting ensures an accurate fit through the hips.
Wear it with: A close-fitting top, a nipped-in jacket, or a tucked-in blouse to show off your slim waistline.
If You Have Full Hips and Thighs
Make sure the skirt tapers, but just a bit. “If it goes straight down from the hips, you’ll resemble a square. Too pegged and you’ll look like a lightbulb,” says Raes. Pick a dark solid in a substantial cotton or lightweight wool that has some stretch. (Avoid bulky wool, brocade, or tweed.)
To try: This wool skirt by Brooks Brothers has a roomy fit through the hips but gently tapers at the hem. An acetate lining prevents clinging.
Wear it with: A tucked-in button-down or a belted cardigan will emphasize the narrowest part of the body. Aimee Wolpin-Evans, the women’s design director for Brooks Brothers, likes to add opaque tights in the same color as the skirt to create a long, lean line.
If You Have a Straight Figure
Try a fitted, tapered cut in a pattern or a thick fabric to make the bottom half look more curvy. “Create the illusion of an hourglass figure with embellishments like a high waistband, pleats at the hips, or a belt,” says Ricci DeMartino, a celebrity stylist based in Los Angeles.
To try: The nubby tweed and the front patch pockets of the formfitting Nine West wool skirt “help build up the hip area,” says Raes.
Wear it with: A body-hugging turtleneck or a peplumed jacket will help define the waist, says DeMartino.
If You Have a Tummy
Select a style with a wide waistband to hold in the stomach. Keep the midsection free of eye-catching details, even belt loops and pockets, says Wolpin-Evans.
To try: The wide waistband of this skirt by Eileen Fisher streamlines the midsection. The stretchy viscose blend provides just enough give through the middle.
Wear it with: A hip-length flowy top. “Just make sure to wear a fitted jacket over it. Otherwise you’ll look bigger than you are,” warns Raes.