The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Luxe vs. Less: The Black Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts make a fab addition to any wardrobe

I realize that I only recently did a post on how to be frugal during this shaky economy we're living in, but what can I say: The blog must go on. Happily, this post has to do with a wardrobe essential, something you will certainly wear dozens--if not hundreds--of times. Ok, maybe not hundreds, but you will certainly get your money's worth. Exhibit A (on the left) is a mid-weight jersey pencil skirt by Only Hearts, available for $84 at The fabric and elastic waist make it a flattering and comfortable choice. Exhibit B (right) is slightly shorter, which might account for the lower pricetag (I jest). The Lux knit pencil skirt has just the right amount of spandex to put some swagger in your step, and goes for $28 at

Luxe: Only Hearts pencil skirt with pockets at, $84
Less: Lux knit pencil skirt at, $28

I must say ... I'm not sure this is an equal trade. If you're wearing a pencil skirt as a statement only and not as work attire, fine, but I just don't think the Lux is interview/professional attire. It's much too short! I know you didn't specifically say this style was for work, but humor me: The high waist on the Lux skirt makes it look a bit longer; in reality, though, it hits in the same mid-thigh spot most mini-skirts do. Maaaybe if you paired it with tights or wore it lower on the waist it could work in an office atmosphere. It's super-cute, but I feel its length and material (cotton lycra!?) make it a business DON'T.

Now that I look at it, I'm not sure about the material of the Only Hearts skirt, either, IF you're looking for office-wear. Maybe I'm just ridiculously traditional, though ... C'est possible ...

That being said, the Lux skirt is just the more casual high-waisted pencil style I've been looking for to wear with a couple of fabulous flutter-sleeve deep v-neck tees I recently purchased, so thanks! You know I love your column to death! :-)
#1 Katie on 2008-08-22 01:24 (Reply)
You're absolutely right that the fabric and length of these skirts mean they're not appropriate for business attire...but not everyone works in a formal, office setting! Here, the pencil skirt breaks free of the boardroom in a young, fresh, modern interpretation that still gives you that same great silhouette and versatility that has made the pencil skirt a classic wardrobe staple, without all the fuss. So, you can wear these to more casual office settings (I definitely could have worn either of these to the last office I worked in), to class if you're a student, dinner and drinks, etc.
#1.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-08-22 09:49 (Reply)
I hear that. A pencil skirt of a certain cut or fabric might not be work-appropriate. But I throw my black one on with my ancient Paul Frank graphic tees for weekend wear, and feel fab!

Dull as it sounds, I get mine almost exclusively from Banana Republic. That nice, heavy twill with a hit of stretch? Perfecto!

You're right, BB, this is an absolute wardrobe must ... even when times are tight.
#2 Sal (Homepage) on 2008-08-22 11:15 (Reply)
Check out the skirt selection at They have a really nice collection of great black skirts, and I think they're all on sale too! :o)
#3 Anusha (Homepage) on 2008-08-22 19:22 (Reply)
Target has a similar skirt in grey, black and denim(ish)..
#4 Lindsey on 2008-08-23 13:08 (Reply)
These skirts really are so versatile!
#5 Tara (Homepage) on 2008-08-24 14:21 (Reply)
this skirt is a must-have item and one of the things you should spend money on, i.e. it should be of really nice quality. i got one years ago at ann taylor for around $80 (retail! shock shock) and wore it for about 10 years, then i got fat and that was that, but my mom took it from me and she wears it now and it's still good. never goes out of style.
so splurge on basics, skimp on fads.
did i just make up a motto?

#6 maggie z on 2008-08-26 16:17 (Reply)
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