Five Pencil Skirts That Are Nearly As Nice as J.Crew's $1,800 Version

Let it be said here, pencil skirts are the best. Tall, short, skinny, curvy--there is a pencil skirt that will look gorgeous on you. You can add volume at the hem or the waist to balance curves in other places, or pick something super-slim to keep things sleek. Not only do they suit every body type, but they can be styled to suit almost any occasion--flats and a sweater keep it casual, an oxford shirt and heels are office-appropriate, but paired with a slinky top, sparkly jewelry, and strappy sandals you can easily head out to drinks and dinner.

So, obviously, I am always on the lookout for a great pencil skirt which leads me from my first emotion (love) to my next emotion--shock. Shock, that J.Crew has an $1,800 sequined pencil skirt available on its website. I mean, I know J.Crew has plenty of high-end, high-priced pieces in addition to its more affordable everyday casuals, but something about the "meticulously airbrushed and painted by hand" python-patterned sequined pencil skirt made me gasp out loud. Sure, it's gorgeous, but Sweet Jesus--eighteen hundred dollars?

Naturally, I was tempted but since I like to eat and sleep under a roof and stuff, I had to move on.

It's not that I don't get it--it's a special piece, a one-of-a-kind that can't be replicated ("only a handful exist", after all). But for those of us who can't spend a month (or two) worth of rent on a meticulously airbrushed skirt, let's take a look at some other options.


Thankfully, J.Crew offers pencil skirts much closer to real-people price ranges, starting around $120. And while there are other, expensive "special" sequined pencil skirts (this admiral blue houndstooth for $695 is spectacular), this gold-leaf dotted jacquard ($225) has it all: shine, texture, pattern, and a terrific shape.

Shabby Apple

The ultimate online destination for cute, feminine, vintage-inspired pieces, Shabby Apple is a site I turn to again and again to solve wardrobe crises. They have a strong collection of pencil skirts ranging from cotton casual prints to sequined party options; many have period-inspired details like an extra-high waist or an exaggerated bow. Much love for this '40s style pencil skirt in blue-and-white polka dot ($94).

Rachel Roy at Neiman Marcus

This is a steal--a $270 Rachel Roy pencil skirt on sale for $160. The color is a gorgeous bright fuchsia, sizes 2-12 are available, and the skirt has a "natural rise" and a contrast band that set it apart from the high-waisted options you usually find. Color block this with a bright yellow or orange top, or do as the model does and go fuchsia head-to-toe.

ModCloth is my latest online shopping obsession (that I haven't actually made a purchase from--yet). I love the clothes, though the site's sorting and searching options leave something to be desired, but I found several pencil skirts I love including the 1940s-style Swing Me Around skirt ($59.99). Not for nothing, this is a simple but spectacular pencil skirt. Not exactly office-appropriate, but certainly date-night ready.

Banana Republic

I had to stare long and hard at this Banana Republic skirt but ultimately I decided that I loved it. The belt and the "Cormorant green" color give it a military vibe, and it's a really interesting neutral--different than your usual black or grey or brown. The front, off-seam pockets give it a casual vibe, and the shape (it doesn't taper dramatically at the knee) makes it more wearable for more body types. Work and weekend appropriate--love it.