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history Pencil skirt

A pencil skirt is slim-fitting and completely straight; it curves over the hip and is often finished with a narrow hem at the knee or just below. Made from a woven fabric, it restricts the movement of the wearer and therefore usually has a vent at the back. Launched at an autumn/winter fashion show in Paris in 1954, the modern pencil skirt was a move away from the full and excessive shapes and the narrow waistline that had dominated fashion during the post-war years.

history Pencil skirt

pencil skirt women street
Photo: Getty Images
pencil skirt sketch

Launched at an autumn/winter fashion show in Paris in 1954, the modern pencil skirt was a move away from the full and excessive shapes and the narrow waistline that had dominated fashion during the post-war years. The new designs were influenced by geometric lines, cut to lengthen and streamline the silhouette, and shifted emphasis from the waist to the hips and legs.

A pencil skirt is slim-fitting and completely straight; it curves over the hip and is often finished with a narrow hem at the knee or just below. Made from a woven fabric, it restricts the movement of the wearer and therefore usually has a vent at the back.

Long, straight-lined skirts became popular during the early 20th century, influenced by kimonos, qipaos and other Asian styles. The ankle-length ‘hobble skirt’, sharply tapered below the knee and expressly designed to constrain walking, is often seen as a precursor to the pencil shape that developed during the mid-century decades.