Is there any fabric more luxurious than lace? With a stunning texture and a feminine appeal, it's no wonder it's managed to stand the test of time. These days, lace can be found on countless catwalks, the red carpet and many of your favorite style bloggers' Instagram feeds. And it's not just a fabric for formal occasions, either: plenty of women are embracing lace in their everyday ensembles.
Did you know that lace has been around for centuries? It's safe to say that this fabric is the definition of timeless. In fact, it first emerged in Europe around the 16th century. Back then, it was considered a luxury due to the fact that it was extremely time-consuming to make: three different specialists were required to develop the designs, translate them onto parchment and then produce the lace from the patterns. Soon, extravagant laces could be found everywhere from men's cuffs and collars to women's gloves and gowns. It's no secret that the royals have long adored lace — Queen Elizabeth I is well known to have been a big fan of the fabric, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon (the late Queen Mum) married the Duke of York in lace in 1923. Through the decades, lace has persisted, showing up on everything from flappers' dresses in the roaring ‘20s to pop stars' stage outfits in the ‘80s. Even Grace Kelly, a surefire style icon, got married in an elegant lace dress.
But wearing lace can come with some complications. After all, it has an inherently formal look and is often associated with bridal looks. Not to mention, lace is sheer, which obviously presents some style challenges of its own. That said, this fabric is well worth the effort: it's surprisingly versatile and can not only elevate any ensemble, but can also achieve a wide variety of looks. Need some inspiration? Here are some clever ways to add lace to your wardrobe.
- Think Outside the Dress
There's no denying that a lace dress is impossibly elegant, and can be the perfect piece to wear to a spring soiree or a dinner date. But there are so many other ways to rock lace. For example, you can easily wear a lace pencil skirt to the office — with pointy pumps, a solid blouse, and a blazer, it's a look that's professional yet chic at the same time. Or, what about a lace blouse? This piece can be dressed up with skinny suit slacks or dressed down with jeans. Lace shorts are totally on-trend for spring and summer and look a tad dressier and more fashion-forward than denim. Lace trousers have also been popping up on the runways and can easily work with a dressy blouse or even a basic T-shirt. You can even integrate lace with your accessories — a lace clutch or scarf may be all you need to infuse some intrigue into your outfit.
- Layer Lavishly
A pop of lace can instantly create visual intrigue, so don't be afraid to indulge in some layering. As an added benefit, layering can help to resolve the issue of lace being super sheer. Throw a long ivory duster over a blush lace blouse, or layer the blouse underneath a denim dress. Also, one of the easiest ways to incorporate this fabric into your ensemble is via some lingerie. For example, a luxe lace bralette looks lovely peeking out from underneath a racerback tank or sundress. Don't forget about legwear, either — intricate lace stockings look striking peeking out from underneath a classic little black dress, while stay-up stockings with lace trim offer a sexy surprise on date night.
- Give It an Edge
While lace has an undeniably ladylike look, you can totally make it look a tad tough by pairing it with the right materials and silhouettes. Why not rock a lace dress with a leather jacket? This gives the lace an instantly rocker chic vibe. You could also pair a lace blouse with distressed black denim, or pair a lace mini-skirt with leather moto boots. Who says it isn't possible to look elegant and edgy at the same time?
- Embrace Contrast
One of the best ways to give lace a contemporary spin is to wear it with contrasting materials — for example, a leather skirt with a lace bodysuit or a vintage denim jacket with a lace frock. This is one of the best approaches you can take if you're trying to achieve a casual daytime look with lace. Don't shy away from trying a graphic T-shirt with a lace skirt or white leather sneakers with a lace minidress. You can create so many laid-back yet chic ensembles by embracing contrast.
- Add a Dose of Color
White lace may be the gold standard, but there are so many other hues to choose from. And since white and ivory lace typically has bridal associations, you shouldn't hesitate to consider other shades. Black lace has a sultry, dramatic vibe that can also look edgy, and gray lace is a lovely alternative neutral that goes with nearly everything. In bright hues of pink, yellow, purple, blue and green, lace has a playful look that's perfect for spring and summer (and is bound to turn a few heads, to boot).
There's a lot to love about lace. It boasts an eye-catching texture, it lends an elegant touch to any outfit, it can be dressed up or down, and it truly never goes out of style. The key, of course, is making it your own. Remember these tips while incorporating this classic fabric into your wardrobe and you're sure to make a chic statement.