Power of the pencil

Power of the pencil

Power of the pencil

First published in NewsXtra

Prep your legs for spring, pencil skirts are having a moment. Lisa Haynes rounds up 10 of the best.

No longer simply a wardrobe staple for the office worker, the pencil or 'tube' skirt has undergone a spring reinvention.

Think of a trend - florals, metallics, prints and pastels - and it's been covered with this sexy separate.

Deemed the ultimate figure flatterer, the pencil flaunts curves like no other skirt and lengthens the lower body at the same time, making it a wardrobe essential.

So get on the straight and narrow this season with these pencil sensations.

:: Pedestrian crossing Make a statement in stripes with F&F's Limited Edition ponte pencil skirt, £18. Raise the stakes by clashing your lines for maximum impact. Currently available in red, and a yellow version will be in stock end of February (0800 505 555/www.clothingattesco.com).

:: Lace lovely If there's one fabric that will up your fashion game this season, it's lace. Try Warehouse's green number, £40, available in March (0845 122 2251/www.warehouse.co.uk).

:: Pastel power Transform your wardrobe into a mouth-watering medley of sorbet shades. Mix a delicious mint or lemon hue with New Look's rose pink midi pencil skirt, £19.99 (0500 454 094/www.newlook.com).

:: Snake hips Go wild for animal prints like snakeskin and leopard print. Slither your legs into Hobbs Unlimited's python print skirt, £139, available in March (0845 313 3130/www.hobbs.co.uk).

:: Flower power Look bloomin' marvellous with every stride in a fresh-as-a-daisy floral print, like Joy's Louche Larue pansy pencil skirt, £32 (www.joythestore.com).

:: Glam rock Metallic, tick. Pastel, tick, Pencil skirt, triple tick. Work three key spring trends in one hit with River Island's Limited Edition glam leather pale pink skirt, £70 (www.riverisland.com).

:: Tropical temptation This season's power prints will turn your thighs into a walking art gallery. Try Warehouse's look-at-me Palm Mirage pencil skirt, £40 (0845 122 2251/www.warehouse.co.uk).

:: Panel perfect Kate Winslet is a fan, so it's time to master the art of optical illusion dressing with Next's colour block pencil skirt with those side-slimming black panels, £20 (0844 844 8939/www.next.co.uk).

:: True blue Up your love of lace with a contrasting colour overlay to make a style statement. Go for Preen Edition at Debenhams' lace pencil skirt, £45, available April (0844 561 6161/www.debenhams.com).

:: Get spotted Want demure? Go dotty for Topshop's flock spot pencil skirt, £38 (www.topshop.com). Kate Middleton was spotted snapping up the same version in green last year.

Get the look Alesha Dixon is embracing her spring brights during the Britain's Got Talent auditions. Step out in her bold red Axel heels from Carvela Kurt Geiger, £130 (www.kurtgeiger.com).

Buy it now Dog lovers, look away now. Famed for their initial totes, Alphabet Bags are branching out with whole statement sentences and bold typographic designs. Get your paws on The Cat's Pyjamas bag, £12 (www.alphabetbags.com).

Fashion flash :: Make a beeline Monsoon Fusion's collaboration with Burt's Bees is the latest buzz in fashion. A new bee-inspired collection is launching to help raise awareness of the plight of the honey bee in the UK and the work of the British Beekeepers' Association. Customers who make a beeline for selected products will be rewarded with a wild seed flower packet swing ticket and Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm. The 'Bee Mine' range will be in selected Monsoon stores and online at www.monsoon.co.uk from March 1.

:: Eco chic Paul Smith is the latest designer to sign up for Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge. Mrs Colin Firth enlisted the British designer to create an outfit for her to wear at the Baftas for her campaign to champion sustainable fashion. As Director of Eco Age, Livia invites designers to create an original outfit for her, which conforms to environmental and social criteria that define sustainable style. Clearly thrilled with her outfit, she tweeted: "I LOVE my Paul Smith tuxedo and never want to wear anything different from now on! Warm, comfy and so chic!" For more information visit www.eco-age.com

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