Iconic Fashion: Pencil Skirts

first_imgWhere oh where would we be without The Pencil Skirt? How to look smart in a work environment without succumbing to The Trouser Suit? How to look sexy without flashing acres of flesh? And how to look ladylike? This wardrobe staple had its roots in the ‘hobble’ skirt. Initially designed to impede the wearer so much that they were forced to ‘hobble’, it was the contemporary equivalent of last season’s ‘turban’ look: doomed in fashion reality (and quelle surprise, designed by a man, Paul Poiret). The first trendsetter for this look was Katharine Wright, sister of the Wright brothers, who tied a rope around her skirts to stop them flapping about in her brothers’ new airborne invention – practical beginnings for a popular style considering women were still hoiking themselves in with corsets. Pencil skirts returned with a vengeance during the late 1940s and ‘50s: they were considered the ‘practical’ option in a world without trousers. So where does this leave the current pencil-skirt wearer? She is a woman (probably), and proud of it – this is not a style that allows for half measures. She does not cycle (for how does one get one’s legs over the saddle?) and is hopefully wearing heels (never wear flats with a pencil skirt unless you want to look like an overweight hobbit). A bit of Googling also alerted me to its pre-eminence in the fetish market. Nice. Despite this, the pencil skirt is swiftly becoming a byword for high-powered office-wear: this is a lot of effort to go to on a regular basis. But why should this style be restricted to the imaginary fashionista I just described? This is actually the most flattering style of skirt for any shape, guaranteed to accentuate curves for those lucky enough to have them, and create a voluptuous illusion for those who don’t. Pencil skirts tap into a million male fantasies.It seems the designers agree. Hundreds of models minced down the a/w runways in high-waisted, calf-skimming skirts, and looked damned good for it too. Who are we to question Yves Saint Laurent or Hermès? Patents, jewel colours, slight fetish undertones – a pencil skirt will work all these trends and give maximum impact. Even this season’s make-up evokes the pencil skirt and all that comes with it, so shift the Ugg boots, slick on some red lipstick, and be a lady.By Josie Thaddeus-Johnslast_img


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