| February 27, 2014

Want to instantly whittle your waist, enhance curves, appear slimmer, and look chic no matter the occasion? Simple: stock up on the coveted pencil skirt.

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No longer your grandmother’s go-to ensemble, this timeless wardrobe must-have has been boosting the confidence of women everywhere for decades and it’s now hotter than ever, thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Christina Hendricks making it a red carpet staple. And no matter your body type, rocking the pencil skirt can flatter your figure and make the most out of your favorite accessories. It’s no wonder this hip-hugging skirt has withstood the test of time.

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“The history (of the pencil skirt) is quite fascinating,” explains image consultant Thea Wood. “Dior introduced the design to relieve women of the impractical hobble skirt, named after a restraint for horses.”

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Yikes. Fortunately for us, the pencil skirt is a lot easier to wear and is perfectly stylish for day or night.

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“It highly contrasted to Dior’s ‘New Look’ A-line skirt, which is full and allows for movement. (However), if you feel bottom heavy in an A-line, the pencil skirt is your best alternative.”

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Los Angeles-based stylist Laurie Brucker agrees that this simple, yet sizzling hot silhouette continues to be in high demand.

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“Forget A-line skirts being ‘universally flattering,’” says Brucker. “For me and my clients, it’s all about the pencil skirt. I’ve worked with women of all shapes, sizes, and proportions and pencil skirts are ‘for the win’ in every wardrobe. I’ve seen them work on every frame and every shape.”

READ: How to Dress a Curvy Body

How can this once-office must-have work for you? Several celebrity stylists reveal how to make the pencil skirt your new thing for whenever and wear–ever.

Enhance Your Best Features

"If your trouble spots are on your bottom half, sticking to a solid color pencil skirt is your best bet,” explains style expert Hilary Kennedy. “You can pair it with a patterned or textured blouse or sweater on top. However, if your bottom half is slim and trim, try bold patterns to mix things up and add the illusion of curves.”

Look Slimmer with Simple Tricks

Celebrity stylist Ali Levine emphasizes that a pencil skirt can be worn with a variety of blouses, blazers, and accessories, meaning you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck. However, if you’re looking to create a slimming effect, make sure you keep one important tip in mind. “If you’re more curvy, opt for a top with ruffles or a deep V-neck to give you the appearance of being slimmer,” says Levine. “Color blocking is also a fun way to express yourself with pencil skirts.” If you prefer to color block, make sure the darker shade is applied on the areas of your body you’re looking to conceal.

Find the Right Looks for You

“There are so many positive attributes about the pencil skirt that it’s almost impossible not to have at least one hanging in your closet,” says style expert and model Jaimie Hilfiger. “A high-waisted style with a shorter hemline will add height and a style with a ruched tummy panel will also make a plus-size woman look slimmer.” When it comes to pencil skirts, make sure you select the right fight for your body, as a bigger size will add extra volume to your midsection and a too-tight version will not only make it difficult to walk comfortably, but also created unwanted bulges in all the wrong areas!

Get a Custom Fit

Speaking of fit, how can anyone pick the perfect pencil for one’s body type? “First, the waist line should sit high-waisted so that it is flattering to your waistline, which is about 2 inches above your belly button,” explains Brucker. “Second, the skirt itself should fit nicely at the widest point of your hips and then go straight down to the hem. If the skirt starts to curve in under your hip, it will be over-accentuating your hips, so it’s important that the skirt fits straight down your widest hip point.” Brucker also adds that when it comes to the hemline, it’s all about personal choice, but petite ladies, in particular, should find a skirt that sits right about the knee to create the illusion of leaner, longer legs. “For average height or taller women, I recommend for the hem line to hit you at the smallest point of your legs, which is above or directly below the knee,” she states.

Create an Hourglass Figure

Yearning for a highly coveted hourglass figure without squeezing into a pair (or two) of Spanx? Make belts and one other popular fashion trend your friends. “Create an hourglass look with a belt that’s darker than the top and skirt,” says Wood. “You can also try it with a peplum top. Opt for darker colors and, if you’re experimental, vertical prints if you’re bottom heavy.”

Be Daring

“If you’re a bit more adventurous, I absolutely love doing mixed prints or a mono-print look with a crop top and pencil skirt,” says New York City-based celebrity stylist Sara Cooper. “This is a great way to show a little skin, but too much. And a high-waisted pencil skirt is especially flattering, giving the illusion of super long legs. The key is to wearing a form-fitted pencil skirt is keeping the top portion more voluminous and less fitted to balance the look.” While this daring style isn’t meant for the office, you can still tone it down with a matching blazer.

Keep it Smooth

“Your pencil skirt should always look smooth, especially when standing up straight,” says Kennedy. “If you have bumps or rolls, the skirt is too tight. Go up a size. It will make sitting at your desk, as well as getting in and out of a vehicle a much more pleasant experience!”

Wear it for Daytime

When it comes to rocking a pencil skirt for the office, choose a neutral color, which works for nearly any setting and can also be worn for those last-minute happy hour get-togethers. Make sure you tuck in your blouse to better define your waist and give your outfit an overall polished flair. You can also pair it with a fitted blazer or a sleek cardigan.

Wear it for After Work

Have a last-minute evening affair to attend? Add instant glamour to your pencil skirt with sparkling jewelry and pumps to elongate your figure. And if you aren’t a fan of heels, simply throw a pair of matching ballet flats into your bag for quick access to comfort once you’re done for the night.

Wear it on Weekends

“When wearing a pencil skirt for a casual weekend outing, you could pair it with a slouchy sweater or tied-up jean shirt,” says Kennedy. “Add sneakers or slipper-style shoes to make this look even more casual.” You can even wear a classic t-shirt tucked in and pair it with simple earrings and a necklace to go for a more effortlessly stylish look.