Basics for a Bargain: Pencil Dresses Inspired by Olivia Wilde, Dianna Agron, Emma Stone, & More!


Pencil dresses are the perfect way to accentuate your figure!  What’s even more fabulous about a dress like this is that you can show off some serious leg without worrying about a short hemline.  No matter your accessories (platforms, peep toes, belts, or chandelier earrings), a pencil dress recalls Old Hollywood & never goes out of style.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley dons a feminine lace Dolce & Gabbana frock with neutral stilettos to a press event in Shanghai.  The softness of the lace details adds dimension, as well as creating a longer legline.  Emma Stone is trendy in a belted black lace pencil dress by Tom Ford, paired with Fred Leighton jewelry for the New York premiere of Crazy Stupid LoveThe Change-Up star Leslie Mann rocked a LWD with sequin accents by Marchesa with a gold clutch & Jimmy Choo peep toes.  Dianna Agron promoted Glee in a velvet Stella McCartney peplum dress & towering YSL platforms.  Lastly, super Style Darling of the moment, Olivia Wilde of Cowboys & Aliens went siren red in a knee-length Antonio Berardi pencil sheath with satin Brian Atwood pumps.

I’ve selected some super cute & affordable pencil dresses that are the foundation to any cocktail or work look.  We’ll start with the printed belted sheath dress from Macy’s by Charter Club, which costs $44.99.  If you break out your store card & check your local newspaper for coupons, you can reap the rewards of this great deal that can be made to look more professional with a blazer or jazzed up by switching the belt for something metallic.  Also, click here to see this dress is available in sizes 14W – 24W.  Next, @Victoria’s Secret, you can find a form-fitting tee midi dress for $59.50, that can be dressed up or down with just a few simple accessories, but really makes an impression as a stand-alone LBD.  Kohl’s sells this illusion brush stroke dress by AB Studio, which looks like a blouse & pencil skirt, but it is put together in one fashionable piece for only $41.30.

For my fuller-figured Style Darlings, I did find a mega sexy red dress from Torrid which runs in sizes 16-26.  No wonder it’s called Stop Staring! Red Millions Dollar Baby Dress, although it costs $120.50 (which is a lot for our budget, but this is definitely a dress that you can get a lot of miles out of for work or a wedding!).  It can be downplayed for a day at the office with a printed cardigan or simply worn for a fancy night out with black patent pumps, like those pictured.  Over @White House Black Market, I came across an affordable steal of a dress- the white jacquard strapless dress for $39.98, marked down from $158.00! It’s perfect to wear this season or it can be saved for the holidays with a sequined bolero cardy.  Over @ASOS, this cafe creme cowl front pencil dress costs $46.55.  The dress just calls out for a subtle, but complimentary animal print, like a leopard belt or chunky cut-out booties.  Also, it kind of reminds me of the slinky, nude dress that Carrie wore on her first date with Big in the first season of Sex & the City!

For more celebrities wearing pencil dresses, check out Rachel McAdams & Uma Thurman at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in Red Carpet Review, as well as a Darling of the Day post featuring Sophia Bush wearing Ann Taylor. For more Basics for a Bargain, check out my post on pencil skirts inspired by Jennifer Lopez & Kate Bosworth, as well as denim dresses like those worn by Pippa Middleton & Reese Witherspoon! Happy Styling!

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