Pencil Slim Dresses

Experiencing a renewed interest in its slim and flattering design, the pencil dress originated during the forties in response to war-time fabric shortages.

Illustration of Christian Dior designed suit for Hartzfeld's Ad
Christian Dior Pencil Skirt
My Vintage Vogue
With rationing measures easing, Christian Dior responded to the post-war consumer cry for luxurious fashions with the voluminous skirts and sumptuous fabrics of his "New Look."

Dior's H-Line

After only seven years though, the fickle fashion world once again turned toward slender pencil skirts with the 1954 introduction of Christian Dior's H-line.

The slim style was equally fashionable as an evening gown, cocktail dress, or a business suit.

Suit made by Christian Dior in 1954 displayed on mannequin
Christian Dior 1954 H-Line Suit
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Pencil Skirt Design

The woman's silhouette with its high bust and relatively straight cut from the shoulder to the hip was now shaped as the letter H. Cuffs at the wrist or skirt pockets accented the hip.

As other couturiers followed suit with their own pencil shaped lines, it quickly became the look of the fifties and was copied and presented as ready to wear in department stores around the world.

Fifties' textiles were often nubby woolen tweeds lined with silk fabrics. Sometimes blended with wool, the new DuPont fabric Orlon became popular for its easy care and durability qualities.

Model wearing a robin's egg blue sweater set in February Vogue 1956 Dupont Orlon Ad
February 1956 Vogue Dupont Orlon Ad
Featuring Slim Pencil Skirt and Sweater Set

Whether wearing a Coco Chanel boxy suit jacket and solid black pencil skirt ensemble or neatly dressed in trim suits or shirtwaist dresses, these fifties women made fashion statements at PTA meetings, while shopping, or in the workplace.

Three models for Pendleton Sportswear Ad for 1959
Pendleton Sportswear Ad 1959
The fifties pencil skirt remains relevant in today's fashion world as women continue to opt for the classic straight skirt design.

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