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The History of the Sleek Pencil Skirt

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Western fashion has a long history with narrow-fitting skirts.

Before the pencil skirt, fashion was dominated by the hobble skirt, a fad with an unusual origin story. When the Wright brothers chose their first female passenger in 1908, they had to tie a rope just below her knees to keep her dress from getting caught in the propellers of the first airplane.Thus, the aptly named hobble skirt was born, and by 1910, they were everywhere.

Due to the restrictive nature of the skirt, walking in one required a tremendous amount of practice. There’s a reason it was referred to as the “speed limit skirt” (hint: you weren’t getting anywhere fast in one).It wasn’t until the 40s that the hobble skirt was cut down to the pencil skirt we know today. After decades of covered legs and ankles, women rushed to adopt the sleek, sexy shape of the pencil skirt.

The first pencil skirts were part of suits, meant to be worn with a jacket, but pairing it with blouses, sweaters and all kinds of other outfits became eventually became the norm. As the years went on, this creation evolved into the sleek pencil skirt we know and love today.

Whether you’re wearing fringe, dots, stripes or lace, Ann Taylor’s collection of pencil skirts has a long and storied history in fashion!

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