How to Wear Lace like A Grown Woman

I think one day I’m going to get married just as an excuse to wear more lace. Maybe.
Publish date:
June 17, 2014
lace, formal dressing, casual dress, dressing like a grown up

As far as style, do you have a “thing”? A certain thing you always find yourself buying, or a thing your friends associate you with? I have a friend who owns 12 pairs of black booties. They’re her thing, and I think of her when I see a good pair. (Though, when I send her a picture it usually turns out she already owns them.)

My thing is lace. I own so many lace dresses, tops and skirts that I’ve instituted a lace ban for a while. (It isn’t too hard, since I’ve basically been on a shopping ban for six months.) I don’t consider my style excessively girly, and I like the way I can wear lace with more boyish items. I think one day I’m going to get married just as an excuse to wear more lace. Maybe.

Lace can be a little tricky though, because you run the risk of looking like an oversized toddler (not my thing) or a Victorian grandmother who has time traveled to the present to teach all us modern floozies a lesson in politeness. With the right styling though, you can avoid both of these situations and make lace look appropriate for just about any event or mood.

Casual Black Lace

Black lace typically makes me think of Stevie Nicks or witches, but let’s face it; I’m not awesome enough to pull off either of those looks. I mean, I shop at Anthropologie. I will never be cool. Maybe a cool mom someday, maybe.

Black lace can be hot but in large doses it’s overwhelming and music festival-y. Just a hint of black lace, made casual with other neutral colors can be a very good look though. This outfit is something I would wear to get dinner with friends or see "Maleficent" again.

Using black lace in one part of your outfit and keeping everything else simple is an easy way to create a look that’s dark and sexy but still casual enough not to make people suspect you’re a witch. (Are you?)

Sexy, Sophisticated Lace

When you’re wearing a dress that’s all lace, the cut and structure is the most important thing to consider. Anything shapeless, or even an empire waist, can end up looking like a Baby Gap misfit. A lace dress that’s well-fitted, simple and sleek can help you look like the sexy grown-ass woman you are.

This lace, maroon dress has seen me through many a formal event, dinner, and party. Paired with a simple chain necklace and pointy black toes, the dress is very refined looking. A deep red looks good on most people, and rich hues will keep lace out of immature territory.

The necklace is simple -- just leather and chain -- but it adds a little something to the dress without overpowering it. Lace is intricate and detailed in itself, so don’t go overboard with accessorizing. If you do pair jewelry or accessories with a lace dress, keep it simple and don’t go crazy on the colors.

A lace dress that’s fitted, but not bodycon, can be appropriate for just about any formal event. Here’s some more ideas.

Summery, Pastel Lace

I rarely venture into pastel territories because I feel like it usually washes me right out, but with some inspiration lately (ahem, Alyssa) I’ve been feeling better about pretty, washed-out hues.

Summer is the best time to wear light colors, mostly because the darker your clothes the hotter the sun feels and I do everything in my power to stay cool down here in the sweaty South. Most lace dresses I see come in shades of pastel, but a lot of them look very juvenile. I don’t usually want to look like I’m heading to my first communion. (Though, I did LOVE my first communion dress.) Pairing pastel lace with more grownup items, like simple shoes and a button down, can keep the look polished.

I got that skirt at Urban Outfitters four years ago, and I’ve worn it so much since. I love to pair it with a dark top and black boots for a tougher look or, like I’ve shown you here, with a white button-down for a simple daytime look that’s great for grabbing lunch or drinks or lunchtime drinks.

Here’s some more ideas for wearing pastel lace.

Well now that we’ve established lace dresses are my “thing,” and how I wear them, it’s your turn -- what’s your “thing”? Are you as into lace as me? Show me!