23 October 2007

Please don't denim the pencil

There are a select few wardrobe components that, in my opinion, are so utterly perfect in their current iteration that they have reached their style zenith.

In other words, they will not, shall not and cannot be improved upon.

The simple, unembellished black peep-toe, the fits-your-frame-just-right black sheath, the classic trench -- these items hold spots four, three and two, respectively, on my short list.

The one article of clothing that if it were up to me would be remembered and worn only in its simplest, blackest, formal-fabric-ed state, however, is the pencil skirt.

Don't bedazzle it, don't put pockets on it, don't give it an animal-print or weigh it down with chunky buttons.

And please, please don't denim it.

High-waisted or otherwise.

I've made my feelings known for non-jeans denim, and I understand my it's-a-fabric-of-last-resort view isn't universally - or even popularly - accepted. And I'm comfortable with that. Preferences and the strong expression thereof, after all, are healthy, not to mention a necessity for one writing a fashion blog.

Whether you agree with me or not that denim skirts are best left to those who attend rodeos and elementary school, can we at least come together in recognizing that a denim pencil skirt is not the same as its traditional, more professional black wool-crepe counterpart? And if we can align on that view, can we take it a step further and nod our heads in agreement that similar to jeans and a pair of black dress trousers, or a jean jacket and a suit coat, the wardrobe components that best complement each of these skirts are going to be different?

Yes? Good.

Then please help me relay that message to the woman I saw this afternoon on M Street between 19th and 20th who wore her no doubt J. Jill-purchased beauty with black pointy-toed pumps, a navy pinstripe blazer and an off-white silk shell.


longtime fan said...

Classic. Both your writing as your hallmark trait and a denim pencil skirt as an example of DC's horrendous sense of style.

Meg said...

I respectfully disagree. I have seen denim pencil skirts that I like (e.g. dark wash, mid-rise, rather simple design).

They're certainly not a replacement for the traditional pencil skirt, but I think they're definitely good casual skirts -- and finding respectable, but cute casual skirts is hard enough as it is.

Johanna said...


the opinion part of this post is that I don't like denim skirts. I just don't. The critique, however, is in how this particular woman tried to *replace* the dressier version with the denim version without making any changes to the rest of her outfit. It honestly looked as out of place as a cocktail dress with crosstrainers. It was *that* bad.

I'm not really into casual skirts, come to think of it. I'm more a sundress or blousy short shorts kinda gal during the warmer months. To each their own, I suppose, so long as everything fits and flatters :-)


Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of this look. It's neither casual sexy nor sophisticated sexy. It's more Mom who used to be sexy goes to a barbecue. But that's just this guy's opinion.

glammy said...

I can just picture the type of woman who would wear a skirt like the ones you posted, and she lives in the 'burbs, rocks the Crocs and has a shapeless bob.

Hi Mom!

bff in chicago said...

Eeek! To borrow a GFY phrase - those skirts are so very scroll-down fug!

brown bride to be said...

I haven't worn a jean skirt since since freshman year of college. Looks like I haven't missed much...

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend HATES when I wear my knee-length jean skirt! I'm not that attached to it, to be honest, so maybe I should give it up.

cali finale said...

A denim pencil skirt is bad enough, but a denim pencil skirt with pointy black pumps? Seriously, gross.

km said...

I just nodded my head. To myself. I think it's time for bed.

Kiki said...

Denim should be for jeans, and jeans only.

Can we discuss the nastiness of the denim mini skirt that with the unfinished hem that all the college girls wear with Uggs?! It hurts me.

C said...

When Johanna came for my flip-flops, I did not speak up.
When she came for my brown JennAn stacked-heel shoes with tights, I did not speak up.
If I do not speak up for my dark-wash J. Crew denim pencil skirt, who will speak up for me?

(And yeah, I just bastardized Niemoeller to discuss fashion. Bring IT!)

georgia said...

Real Kickers wear Rockies to rodeos. You can't really show the chickens or race barrels in a jean skirt. Plus, you can't show off the booty bounty in a skirt the way you can with those pocketless wonders that come in a rainbow of colors.

*I was never a real kicker, just dated one or two Bronc and Bull riders, so I wore Levis instead. And yes, I still go nuts for Wrangler butts! They remind me of home.

erin said...

I'm totalyl hiding this post from my boyfriend who loves your site (and no, his name is not Brad!!), because I adore my denim pencil skirt and he HATES it. I've actually caught him "accidentally" trying to throw it away on a couple of occasions.

It may not be the most stylish thing in my closet but I just can't let it go!

Meg said...

I agree that that particular outfit sounds bad. It certainly wouldn't be my choice.

I also agree with to each their own, so long as everything fits and flatters ;)

I do like sun dresses (not much of a shorts gal, though).

Candid Cool said...

That 1st one is atrocious.