Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Perfect Denim Pencil Skirt

Since July I've been searching for the perfect denim pencil skirt. After the first few tries, I lowered my goal to simply "a denim pencil skirt that doesn't make me look ugly." Why the concession? Because every skirt I tried on made my hips look huge and my legs short and thick. This is not exaggeration, when I walked out of the J. Crew dressing room a few weeks ago, my sister just scrunched up her face and just said, "umm... that's not going to work."

But I kept searching, because I love pencil skirts but wanted one that I could dress down. Plus, they're so versatile, they look great with everything from ballet flats to knee-high boots, tank tops to blouses, and you can wear them every season. I was not ready to give up just yet.

Eventually I realized that the problem was that the clothing companies cut their skirts the way they cut their jeans, low on the hips, and kept the 5 pockets. The low rise draws attention to your hip area and the pockets bulk you up, but unlike with jeans, a pencil skirt ends at your knees, so it doesn't off-set the bad hip effect by elongating your legs. I had to find a skirt with a higher waist and no pockets if I was ever going to be able to pull of this look.

But in browsing the Ann Taylor website last week, I came across the denim pencil skirt of my dreams: no bulging front or back pockets, high-waisted, knee length, no stupid holes or ripped details. As a plus, it came in a dark wash, which is extra flattering. You can check it out here. It's a little more expensive than what I'd normally pay for a casual skirt, but after 5 MONTHS of searching for this thing, I was not willing to wait for something cheaper to come along.

So Last weekend when I was running a few errands at the local mall, I made a point to stop in the Ann Taylor and try it on. You'll be happy to know that they run a little large (I'm not sure if it's just this skirt or everything at Ann Taylor, but I'm not complaining). I normally wear a size 8, sometimes fit into a 6, but I actually looked best in a FOUR, which certainly made me more excited about getting it. I don't think I've worn a 4 since... ever.

But outside of the sizing, it really is as flattering as it looks. If you have very slim hips or an athletic build, you probably want to stick to a regular denim pencil skirt with the low cut and 5 pockets, to add some curves. But if you're like those of us blessed with more, um, generous hips, definitely check out the high-waisted, pocketless skirts.

On a side note, I'm really happy to see that Ann Taylor has a much "younger" look these days. They still make a lot of classy, stylish professional clothes, but I no longer associate it with shopping with my Dad for a Mother's Day present, I've found a lot of great things for myself there. And they still have a large petite section in every store, for all the short women out there.

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