Why Does My Pencil Skirt Ride Up? [With Tips On How To Stop That]

Do you find yourself constantly adjusting your pencil skirt? Pencil skirts give your outfit a professional and feminine look. But one downside is that they may ride up through the day. We have some answers to why it happens and how to stop it.

Pencil skirts can ride up when they are too narrow below the waist. The best way to solve this problem is to get your skirt in the proper size for you. The lining material of the skirt can also cause it to ride up. You can wear a nylon or spandex undergarment to prevent friction.

If you are looking to get a new skirt, you should find one that fits you just right. You can find the best pencil skirt size for you based on your measurements. There are also certain styles of pencil skirts that are better for certain body types. Keep reading for pencil skirt tips and products that can help you solve this problem.

A beautiful woman wearing a white dotted blouse and blue pencil skirt, Why Does My Pencil Skirt Ride Up? [With Tips On How To Stop That]

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How do you stop your skirt from riding up?

If your skirt is riding up, there is one thing you can try before buying a new size. Wear a pair of nylon stockings or some form of shapewear. Nylon and spandex are very slippery and can prevent your skirt from bunching.

Click here to see these pantyhose on Amazon.

Sheer pantyhose like these are available in all skin shades. You can even find more opaque pantyhose in black, white, blue, and a few more colors.

Check out these opaque nylons on Amazon.

How do you find the best pencil skirt size?

Everyone's body is different; therefore, our clothing sizes are different. Even with a wide range of sizes, you still may not find one that is a perfect fit for you.

With pencil skirts specifically, the hip and waist measurements are very important. However, not everyone fits the waist to hip ratio for the size skirt that fits either their hips or waist.

A yellow measuring tape wrapped around a black manikin

While shopping, we often go with the size that fits our waist measurement. For pencil skirts, it is better to shop based on your hip measurement instead. You can take in a waist that is too big, but you can't always let out the seams if it is too tight on your hips.

How to downsize a pencil skirt

The best way to get your skirt downsized is to go to a tailor. Before alterations, they will take the proper measurements and adjust your skirt size. If you wear a pencil skirt for work or in professional settings, getting it tailored to fit can make a huge difference in your day-to-day wear.

Other than getting the skirt professionally tailored, you can take in your skirt at home. To do this, you will need a hand sewing kit or a sewing machine if you have one and measuring tape.

How to downsize your skirt at home

A woman sewing her cloths using a sewing machine

Taking in the waist and hips of your skirt can be an easy beginner sewing project. You will just need to know how to sew along a marked line. This can be done by hand, but you may need a sewing machine if the fabric layers are too thick.

First, it's important that you put your skirt on inside out. This makes it easier to go from pinning to sewing. Once your skirt is on, pinch the sides where there is excess fabric. Try to make sure the skirt is centered, and there is an even amount of fabric on each side.

Next, take a sewing pin and pin through where your new hip and waist measurements are. When you are pinching the sides, make sure that the skirt fits comfortably. If there is no zipper, the waistline will also need to be able to stretch over your hips.

After pinning, you can take the skirt off and sew along the new side seams you have created. This picture shows how to skirt will be pinned.

For non-stretch fabrics, add a half-inch to each side. Once you turn the skirt right side out, the skirt will be skin-tight if the fabric does not stretch. That extra space on each side allows you a better range of movement and more comfort while wearing.

How tight should a pencil skirt be?

A photo of a woman wearing a black pencil skirt on a white background

Pencil skirts are notorious for fitting the body fairly tightly. They should be snug but not skin-tight. When your skirt is on, you should be able to fit two fingers into the waistline comfortably.

Pencil skirts taper down toward the knees. If your skirt is preventing you from taking normal steps, it is too tight. You should be able to walk comfortably; look for skirts with vents cut into the hem.

How can I make my stomach look flat in a pencil skirt?

Because pencil skirts are high-waisted, they will cover your stomach area. If the fabric is stretchy, it will not do much to keep the fabric taut around your stomach. If you'd like to make your stomach look flatter in your pencil skirt there are a few products that can help you.

Check out this product on Amazon.

A popular product used for tucking in your stomach is Spanx. Spanx offers shapewear available in a wide range of sizes and colors. These garments are high-waisted and great for reducing the friction that can cause bunching. To control friction, you may want to go for a style that extends down the thigh.

Click here to see these spanx on Amazon.

You may consider purchasing a skirt made of a more rigid material. Fabrics like wool and other natural fibers have less stretch. No-stretch skirts already have a compressing effect that will hold in your stomach.

There are also styling choices that can affect the appearance of your stomach. You can wear a flowy top and tuck it in the waistline of your skirt. This will accentuate the slimmest part of your waist.

A beautiful woman wearing a white blouse and a pink pencil skirt

What body shape can wear a pencil skirt?

There are a lot of sources that say only certain body shapes look good in pencil skirts. The reality is that you just have to find the proper skirt style for you. There are different fits, lengths, and hem styles that will suit each body shape's attributes.


Pencil skirts work well to highlight the legs of someone with an apple-shaped body. Make sure your skirt is not too tight; it should skim your legs, not cling to them. If your waist is less defined, pencil skirts help to accentuate the slimmest part of your body.


A pencil skirt for a pear body shape should have a steep taper from hips to knees. That will give the skirt a straighter appearance rather than a burly one. For a pear body shape, this highlights the hips but does not draw too much attention to the proportions.

You can find this skirt on Amazon.


Pencil skirts accentuate the curves on the hips and waist of hourglass body shapes. If your waist is a lot narrower than your hips, try to look for a skirt with darts near the waistline. Darts help the skirt keep its shape and prevent bunching.



Pencil skirts help to bring out the subtle curves on a rectangular body. Although the body has very straight lines, the skirt will sinch the body in at the waist and around the knees. The sides of the skirt should be more tapered but not too tight around the waist or knees.

Inverted triangle

On inverted triangle body types, the hips are more narrow than the shoulders. A straight hemmed pencil skirt on this body shape would draw attention to your shoulders. If you want to wear a pencil skirt, go for a flared or trumpet silhouette to balance the proportions.

Click here to see this skirt on Amazon.

Do pencil skirts look good on short people?

Pencil skirts look great on all heights; the key is in the length of the skirt. If you are shorter, then you want to avoid wearing skirts that are too short or too long.

The best length for shorter heights is just about knee length. The fit of the skirt also plays into how well it looks on you. Combine the proper length with the styling tips for your body shape, and you will find the perfect skirt.

To wrap it up

The key to avoiding your skirt riding up is the have the right sized skirt. The fabric will try to shift toward where it fits better, so get a larger size if that is the case. If The fabric of your skirt is causing the bunching, shapewear like Spanx or even nylon pantyhose can prevent that.

If you'd like to read more about pencil skirts, consider some of our other articles:

What shoes to wear with a  pencil skirt?

How long should a pencil skirt be?

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