Lace For Grandes Dames, Artsy Cousins, And Yes, Even Sturdy Gals


Lace. It’s everywhere. From Target to Neiman Marcus, and festooning the internet. Some trends are all or nothing, one cannot dip one’s toes into harem pants, for example. But lace is a gentle trend, i.e. light on the psyche and the wallet both.

Lace For Everyone!

The Sturdy Gal, subject as she is to bouts of The Cutes, needs to avoid any puffed sleeves, trim, or collar action. Try instead a sweatshirt sort of lace, to throw on with your khakis or shorts. If you can withstand Abercrombie that is. Don’t worry. They can neither spray perfume nor blare music on the Internet.anf_60418_01_prod1I saw this skirt, or one like it, in the San Francisco Target. Came in a few colors. With a tee in a complementary shade? And flip flops? Sturdy heaven. Just like our tennis skirts, only not.Target Lace Pencil SkirtAnd cheap lace, within reason, is OK. I’ve checked these Dolce and Gabbana dresses in person, and unless you inspect closely, they don’t look that different from the lace shifts you’d find here. I suppose D&G may offer higher quality, but not $1K’s worth. However, a splurge to solve a perennial Sturdy dilemma, i.e. What To Wear At Those Dang Bashes People Keep Throwing, would be justified here. Blush lace party pants with a black tee and black sandals. Or white tee and gold sandals. Even pointy-toed pumps if our stylish sisters insist. Uniforms ‘R Us.

Blush Lace Pants Paul & Joe

The Artsy Cousin likes her lace vintage, in all its cheesy early 70s glory. Oh that collar.

lace, vintage lace, trend

Or splashed with pretend duct tape, when her show/installation finally opens in Lower Manhattan. Christopher Kane showed a brilliant series of dresses this season exploring a “tape” concept. Can you say “WANT?”

Christopher Kane Lace Dress with Duct Tape

Artsy bought all the Madewell lace shorts. Every last pair. Just before she turned 30.

Madewell Lace Shorts for the Artsy Cousin

Now, The Grande Dame never stopped wearing lace, but she’s especially happy about her options right now. A skirt? This one comes in plus sizes.

Vince Camuto Plus Size Lace Skirt

How about a just-sexy-enough dress, with the lace revealed, discreetly?10341600_1729413_400

Or even shoes. Black smoking slippers, to be precise.

Manolo-Blahnik-Lace-Smoking-Slipper

Or, wait for it…Rene-Caovilla-Leopard-and-Lace-Shoes

Lace may be the new leopard. Just sayin’.

Pink lace pencil skirt via Target
Lace sweatshirt via Abercrombie
Blush lace trousers from Paul & Joe via net-a-porter
Vintage Joseph Magnin blouse via Etsy
Christopher Kane dress with duct tape via net-a-porter
Madewell lace shorts
Vince Camuto lace skirt via Zappos (on sale)
J. Mendel lace dress via Farfetch.com
Manolo Blahnik lace slippers via Neiman Marcus
Rene Caovilla leopard and lace pumps via Neiman Marcus

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37 Comments

  • 04/09/13
    6:32 am

    Reply

    Marie-Ève said...

    Oh, these are all lovely! The hot pink skirt especially. Unfortunately, I still have to wait 6 or so months before Target finally opens here!

  • 04/09/13
    6:35 am

    Reply

    Dorothea said...

    Of course sturdy falls to cute! I knew it, but had never articulated it. You have just explained years of shopping mistakes on my part and my mother’s entire closet. It seems contradictory, but it is the truest thing in the world! I feel enormously enlightened and inexplicably relieved.

    04/11/13
    7:39 am
    Lisa said...

    Yes. It is not your fault:).

  • 04/09/13
    6:35 am

    Reply

    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

    I think you’re right. It IS the new leopard. Very well put Lisa.
    Sam

    04/11/13
    7:40 am
    Lisa said...

    Thank you!

  • 04/09/13
    6:39 am

    Reply

    tamera said...

    This artsy cousin wants the blush lace trousers (but am sadly over-hipped to wear them) + the j. mendel (nowhere to wear it) + the lace slippers (we have a winner?)

    04/11/13
    7:40 am
    Lisa said...

    If you wear lace slippers I require a photo for inspiration:).

  • 04/09/13
    6:57 am

    Reply

    Flo said...

    Rebuttal.

    Just say NO to lace.

    Any-where, any kind, any color, any fabrication.

    NO to lace.

    04/11/13
    7:42 am
    Lisa said...

    Why so?

    04/11/13
    1:09 pm
    Flo said...

    I blurted when I should have sat quietly. That’s two blurting strikes in the last couple of months, I have one more left. Slow learner.

    04/12/13
    1:11 pm
    Lisa said...

    I loved this blurting:).

  • 04/09/13
    7:06 am

    Reply

    kathy said...

    Have been drooling over that Christopher Kane dress for weeks.

    04/09/13
    7:49 am
    Lisa said...

    That’s right! I forgot that you pointed it out to me first!

    04/09/13
    2:09 pm
    kathy said...

    Also love the blush trousers, but they sold out fast in everything but the tiniest sizes. I have no excuse to buy the dress, but maybe you do???

    04/10/13
    11:32 am
    Sandy said...

    Where did you see it Kathy? Am I very out of it? :-)

    04/10/13
    2:26 pm
    kathy said...

    Sandra – On Net-A-Porter, where I see way too much great stuff.

  • 04/09/13
    7:16 am

    Reply

    hostessofthehumblebungalow said...

    I like the look of lace and bought a camisole and will let a wee bit peek out from under my cardigan…I think that some of the lace garments look too young for me to wear…just my personal taste/comfort zone.

    Oh dear that vintage artsy cousin top looks like Mother’s table cloth!

  • 04/09/13
    7:27 am

    Reply

    Jan's Sushi Bar said...

    The lace/pretend duct tape dress? No. Just…no.

    But those pants. THOSE PANTS. Only capris. I would TOTALLY wear them as capris. Yes, ma’am.

  • 04/09/13
    7:28 am

    Reply

    Merry Wife said...

    Oh, that J. Mendel dress is out of this world.

  • 04/09/13
    7:54 am

    Reply

    Linda @ a design snack said...

    Thank you! After reading this I ran up to the closet hoping I hadn’t Good Willed two lace blouses: a 5 year old Karen Millen black lace blouse and a who knows how old thrift shop brown lace item that always garnered compliments. Still in the closet and in good shape, and now, thanks to you, back on active duty.

    04/11/13
    7:49 am
    Lisa said...

    Love finding those things that work again!

  • 04/09/13
    8:03 am

    Reply

    Plainjane said...

    Love the lace skirt from Target as I feel lace will be a fleeting trend. That being said, I wore a beautiful pale yellow lace dress by Collette Dinigan to our daughters wedding seven years ago that I’d pull out in a heartbeat!

  • 04/09/13
    8:18 am

    Reply

    Andrea said...

    I’m admittedly not a WASP but I identify a lot with your Artsy Cousin and I shy away from lace, lest people mistake me for a Grande Dame. I see why now, though, as the lace items I end up buying (and sit in my closet) are exactly those of your Grande Dame. They’re so pretty, but they belong on someone else’s body.

    The lace-at-the-back trend of last year was quite nice; I actually bought two tops in that style and wore one.

    04/11/13
    7:49 am
    Lisa said...

    The Style Archetypes know no bounds:).

  • 04/09/13
    8:28 am

    Reply

    lauren said...

    that christopher kane dress is criminally lovely. i’d wear that to the costume institute at the met, to tribeca for the festival in a few weeks, to the greenmarket…

    you’re also swaying me with the lace shorts. it’s 82 here today, and lord knows i’m not wearing madras any time soon.

  • 04/09/13
    8:36 am

    Reply

    Solange said...

    I say “yes, please!!” to all the Sturdy Gal pieces. And that Christopher Kane dress is to die for… *sigh*

    Happy to have found your blog, Lisa. Just loving it :)

    04/11/13
    7:50 am
    Lisa said...

    So happy to have you here.

  • 04/09/13
    8:51 am

    Reply

    DocP said...

    I have the Vince Camuto navy lace skirt and the matching top – they can work as a two piece dress. There is a DKNYC lace moto jacket available in ivory/taupe and black available in plus sizes (and I assume regular sizes) this spring for those who like the moto look.

    04/11/13
    7:50 am
    Lisa said...

    Doc, of course you do!

  • 04/09/13
    9:37 am

    Reply

    Duchesse said...

    Lisa, love your lace picks!

    Why are so many lace skirts made so flippin’ short? I’ve worn out a couple of lace skirts and am hoping to find a new one. They look perfect with tee shirts.

  • 04/09/13
    9:56 am

    Reply

    mette said...

    The lace sweatshirt, the top one, would be fine in the summer ( ? ) at the stable ; ).
    As for the other lace clothes, I really have no use for them.

  • 04/09/13
    10:05 am

    Reply

    Judith/Ida said...

    I rather like the black lace dress…just to look at,as I never wear black.Sorry,but I think cheap lace always looks cheap/tacky.Judith

  • 04/09/13
    11:06 am

    Reply

    Corn said...

    You’re so on top of things….lace it is. Love those smoking slippers!

  • 04/09/13
    11:27 am

    Reply

    Mary anne said...

    Oooh. This post scares me since I’m happiest in khakis and a tee shirt.

    04/11/13
    7:50 am
    Lisa said...

    Well, a lace tee? ;)

  • 04/09/13
    11:42 am

    Reply

    Susan said...

    I have a summery white cotton DKNY button up tunic which is sturdy (not cutesy, if that is possible) eyelet lace at the bottom. Will that do? It’s from two years ago.

  • 04/09/13
    2:25 pm

    Reply

    That's Not My Age said...

    I’ve never worn lace but I do quite like the Paul & Joe trousers, I’d have to wear them with mannish shoes though.

  • 04/09/13
    3:23 pm

    Reply

    Whitney Worthington said...

    Absolutely drooling over that J.Mendel lace dress. Perfect for a rehearsal dinner for a bride-to-be as well as any business woman! Gorgeous.

  • 04/09/13
    7:01 pm

    Reply

    Mia said...

    I always thought cheap lace looked cheap too until I wore an H & M top with Max Mara trousers to a dinner at a friends house and one of the guests asked me “is it Alexander Wang?”. I tell you a darkened room and the right piece you can get away with it. Too funny huh?

    I never thought I was a “lace type” either but I just bought a sweatshirt thingy last week for the coming season. Freshens things up for sure.

  • 04/10/13
    12:41 am

    Reply

    Tiffany said...

    Thanks, I’ll have the Paul & Joe pants and the Christopher Kane dress … And what was it Pseu was saying about fantasy wardrobes?

  • 04/10/13
    2:30 am

    Reply

    Sara said...

    Wow. Thanks for sharing these beautiful items. Yes, I really like looking at lace. So remember to wear it in public. :-)

  • 04/10/13
    5:32 am

    Reply

    Artsy said...

    I sometimes wonder whether I’m a Sturdy in Artsy clothing. Lace is one of the few style elements I almost always balk at–too delicate, too frilly/fussy, too…something. But I was delighted to find this tee at Ann Taylor Loft (sorry about the long URL–not sure if I could cut it short). The “lace” pattern is actually cut-outs backed with sheer fabric. The fit is body-conscious but not clingy, the graphics created by the cutouts are fun and interesting, and it’s a versatile layering piece that could perhaps be incorporated into a work outfit (depending on your office dress code):

    http://www.loft.com/loft/product/product%3A293897/LOFT-Style-Closet-tees/Embellished-Tee/293897?colorExplode=false&skuId=13425296&catid=catl00009&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=9451

    The Christopher Kane dress could make a lace believer out of me!

  • 04/10/13
    6:33 am

    Reply

    mademarian said...

    I would so try on the vintage blouse!

    04/11/13
    7:51 am
    Lisa said...

    I’d try it on, sigh, and hang it back up. But that moment in the mirror would be wonderful.

  • 04/10/13
    7:27 am

    Reply

    Sheryl said...

    Ok, I need the money and an excuse to go out and buy that white dress. Too amazing. I’m pretty sure that the affordability of the pink skirt will have to console me for now.

  • 04/10/13
    7:57 am

    Reply

    magpie said...

    Oh, how delightful are those dresses!=. Again the curse of having Grande Dame tastes and a Sturdy budget–we’re just MUCH too sensible to spend as such on trendy fripperies. :) The Christopher Kane is especially lovely–I’m glad you featured it; I’ve never taken much notice of the designer before.

    Glad you’ve focused mostly on knit cotton lace here. From both a Dame and Sturdy perspective, it’s such the better choice: more beautiful, and not so fragile that one feels limited by one’s clothing. IMHO the poly/etc. stuff never ever holds up to washing–dry cleaning fries it, wet washing scrunches or shrinks it, and just breathing on it seems to make it pill.

    Btw, I love that you leave the links to your photos at the bottom. It divorces the image from the label somewhat, and cuts down on the “shop shop shop!” pressure when fashion blogs or mags are doing the talking. A much purer way to experience a trend roundup (yours is one of my favorites this season). Enjoy your lace! San Francisco is such a good climate for it…

    04/11/13
    7:53 am
    Lisa said...

    Oh, I’m glad you approve of how I deal with links. Thank you.

  • 04/10/13
    11:33 am

    Reply

    Sandy said...

    Love that dress but could never wear it. I think you have to be a few decades younger. But those leopard trimmed heels!!!!! Again, I’m sure I could only wear those to sit down and cross my legs in full sight of the room. But oh, I love them.

  • 04/10/13
    3:24 pm

    Reply

    RoseAG said...

    Tennis skirts have shorts underneath. You may be treating the world to more flabby thigh than they’d care to see but your undies are shielded. I’d have to put bike shorts under the lace skirt.

    04/11/13
    7:53 am
    Lisa said...

    I love you.

  • 04/10/13
    6:23 pm

    Reply

    flwjane said...

    I am in love with all of it.

    Ohh, that shirt, those pants and that dress.

    Each and every piece is perfect in it’s own way.

    You did it again.

    xo jane

  • 04/10/13
    9:54 pm

    Reply

    Candace said...

    I have a “dang bash” to attend next week, and this post helped me remember I have a peplum lace top to wear. I love the pink skirt and new leopard heels!

  • 04/11/13
    11:45 am

    Reply

    Jill said...

    Leopard and Lace!

  • 04/13/13
    3:05 am

    Reply

    pve said...

    My wedding dress did not have a stitch of lace. I visited my Grandmother who was in the hospital after a fall and she only had eyes for my older brother who reminded her of Grandpa. I called my Mother from my honeymoon asking if Grandma said anything about our visit and she said, “Yes, Grandma thought you could have had some lace.”
    Now all I want is lace and in fact have lace pants, lace dresses, lace cami’s, lacy bras and undies and lacy frocks.
    pve

  • 05/12/13
    2:19 pm

    Reply

    Andrea said...

    Many thanks – a few weeks later. I, sturdy gal to the core, have lacked a good spring luncheon outfit. Inspired by this post, I found what is described as an “seaglass-blue eyelet pencil skirt,” which I paired with a slightly masculine white shirt with French cuffs, and a cardigan in a reserved kelly green. I added my one pair of legit heels, black with a discrete flower on the heel, and carried a straw bag with black grosgrain trim. I wore mixed gold & silver, new & vintage jewelry – my grandmother’s rock crystal cuff links (ice blue with gold wire), new and cherished Mariquita Masterson earrings and a necklace (ice blue in sterling).

    I’ve never written (or even thought) quite that much about an outfit, but I felt I owed you a word of thanks for the inspiration. Others will have to suffer seeing me in this outfit again, because I love it. Thank you.

    05/13/13
    4:43 pm
    Lisa said...

    This sounds so, so, snappy! Which is the sturdy gals greatest compliment. Having an outfit that you love is not to be discounted. Thank you for reporting in from the Sturdy Gal frontier. On trend all the way.

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