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Sharpening the Pencil Skirt: Your Guide to Business Casual Skirt Outfits

Sharpening the Pencil Skirt: Your Guide to Business Casual Skirt Outfits Of all the words in the English language, no two have been as vexing to fashion fans as "business...

Sharpening the Pencil Skirt: Your Guide to Business Casual Skirt Outfits

Of all the words in the English language, no two have been as vexing to fashion fans as "business casual." The ubiquitous corporate dress code can mean anything from nice cropped pants and a structured tee to a full-on pantsuit and kitten heels. Despite these many possibilities, it's easy to slip into a dull work wardrobe that no longer makes you feel like you can take on the world.

One way to get out of a professional fashion rut is to experiment with business casual skirt outfits. Think beyond the iconic pencil skirt and branch out to flowier options, balancing the silhouette with a structured top. You can level up these looks with work-appropriate accessories, too. Here's everything you need to know about incorporating skirts into your business casual looks.

What Skirt Length Is Appropriate for Business Casual Skirt Outfits?

Before talking fashion, it's important to clarify tricky norms around skirt length. There are several reasons you may want to err on the side of slightly longer skirts for the office.

Let go of outdated, school-principal's-office measurement systems such as "fingertip length" or measuring the number of handspans above the knee. They simply don't work, because everyone's arm, hand, and leg proportions are different! Instead, err on the safe side with a skirt that hits around knee-length or below.

You may be concerned about a longer skirt cutting off your legs or shortening your line, but this worry is usually overblown. There are many ways to counteract the potential shortening effects of longer skirts. Singer Nicole Scherzinger looked tall in a calf-length pencil skirt with a three-pronged style strategy: bright color, strappy shoes and a fantastic top-of-the-head chignon.

A platform loafer or low wedge heel can easily give a bit of extra height to balance out the effect of the skirt while keeping the outfit comfortable. Plus, unconventional skirt lengths such as mid-calf or ankle length can keep an outfit's silhouette interesting and contemporary.

How Do You Dress Business Casual With a Skirt?

Once you have the right skirt length, it's easy to put together the rest of your business casual skirt outfits. First, you'll want to contrast the skirt in some way with your professional top. Then, you can decide on a theme for shoes and accessories.

Introducing Contrast

To achieve contrast, think about silhouette, texture and color. A tight pencil skirt pairs well with a looser top or sweater, while a flowy skirt can easily skew business casual with a nicely tailored top and prim accessories.

Incorporating an interesting texture, such as vegan leather, into your skirt can really amp up an outfit, especially contrasted with another bold texture up top. To flip the typical business casual color scheme on its head, try a muted or neutral top and a bold, colorful skirt, or make the entire outfit colorful.

Adding Accessories

If your professional outfits feel a little stifling or stale, experimenting with accessory themes can help you get your style mojo back. Choose softer, more classic accessories for a retro-inspired look or go contemporary with eye-catching metal and shine.

A bold belt is a welcome addition to any skirt outfit, and for business casual, it can contribute to a tailored and put-together look. Make sure to match shoes and jewelry to the metallic tones in the belt, and see if you can't pull your trusty work tote's aesthetics into the mix as well.

5 Business Casual Skirt Outfit Ideas

Now that you have the basics of business casual skirts down, here are some style ideas to perk up your professional looks.

1. Oversized Button-Up Shirt and Pencil Skirt

Though the formality of office wear varies by industry, modern business casual leans towards the less dressy end of the spectrum. Introducing an oversized button-up instead of the standard fitted shirt adds just the right amount of "casual" to bring a pencil skirt full into the modern day. To take the look one step further, unfasten one extra button on the shirt and add a small statement necklace.

2. Flowy Skirt and Structured Blouse

Flowy and loose belong in business casual skirt outfits, too! They're perfect with a heavyweight fabric shirt in a crisp, tailored cut. Pull out a linen polo shirt or a structured, lightly shoulder-padded blouse. Complete the outfit with sleek low heels.

3. Fitted Skirt and Big, Dramatic Sleeves

Another way to contrast a pencil skirt is to put all your stock in sleeves. A romantic puff-sleeve look is a great way to feel fashionable yet professional at the office.

Even a sober color scheme can be stunning with the right out-there sleeve. Lady Gaga took this idea to its natural extreme by pairing a black ankle-length pencil skirt with a black-and-silver printed blouse so magnificent, it contained about as much fabric as an evening gown.

4. Midi Skirt and Longline Cardigan

Extend the line of a midi skirt with a comfy cardigan that goes all the way to the ankle. This is a fun way to play with both texture and proportion in a business casual skirt outfit, and as a bonus, it's great for days when you'd rather be tucked into bed instead of at your desk. Pair these pieces with a neutral t-shirt in a soft and comfortable fabric and some coordinating knit socks.

5. All-Black Business Casual

While bright colors are a great way to punch up a business casual look, you can also take your style in the other direction with all-black everything. Pairing a black blouse, skirt, tights, shoes and bag together in the same outfit makes a dramatic workwear statement.

Make sure you play with the textures in the outfit to keep it from getting one-note. Velvet or lace are even on the table since the rest of the look is so understated. A bright red lip can also add visual interest.

Find Everything You Need to Build Interesting Business Casual Skirt Outfits

Business casual doesn't have to bore you to tears. At Kate Hewko, we believe in the power of fashion to bring confidence and individuality to every area of your life. Browse our collection of interesting tops to get started on your new business casual skirt outfits.

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