How to say it: pen-suh l skurt
- slim fit through the body
- straight, narrow cut
- finishes at or just below the knee
- kick pleat at the back to allow for movement
…of the style: The pencil skirt was first introduced to the fashion world by Christian Dior in 1940. Originally worn as part of a suit, the narrow, fitted skirt is thought to be inspired by the hobble skirt released by Paul Poiret around 1910. The style brought curves back into women’s fashion after the shapeless flapper styles of the 1920s, whilst still adhering to the fabric rationing of WWII, and while they were less restrictive than the original hobble skirts, they still created the ‘wiggle’ when the wearer walked.
This ‘wiggle factor’ was particularly popular with voluptuous celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor, however the style wasn’t just for those wanting to flaunt their figure- Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, not necessarily known for their curves, also donned the pencil skirt as it created curves for those who didn’t have them. As fashion progressed, the skirt began to be worn with blouses and fitted tops to achieve a more curvaceous silhouette and even crossed into popular culture, with Betty and Veronica from ”Archie” often wearing the style. The pencil skirt continued to gain popularity through the 1950s, and was particularly favoured by working women as it created a feminine, yet professional look.
In the 1960s the pencil skirt went mini with the trends, pretty much disappeared from the fashion stage in the 1970s, and returned as part of the now iconic Power Suits in the 1980s. Nowadays, the pencil skirt is now a classic skirt shape and designers regularly adapt the style to fit in with the current trends. High street stores also regularly offer pencil skirt options and it is no longer just the realm of the working woman. Casual pencil skirts in varying lengths, cuts and colours are now widely available to whom ever wants to wear them, working girl or not.
…of the name: The slim silhouette of the skirt mimics the shape of a pencil, hence the name.
- when Dior released his pencil skirt it was part of the ‘H’ collection
21st Century Pencil Skirts
In the 21st century the pencil skirt is a constant member of the fashion landscape and restyles itself to suit the trends – lengths, colours and fabrics may change, but the iconic silhouette of this classic skirt remains the same.
Alexander Wang, Burberry Prorsum