Until a few weeks ago I had two pieces of lace clothing in my wardrobe; my vintage lace wedding dress and a shirt dress by Biba. Now, I’ve added a third, a 1920’s lace and velvet dress from the wonderful vintage boutique, Donna May Vintage, which I wore for my 40th birthday party. If you’ve never visited Donna May’s glorious shop in Frome, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s a treasure trove of delights.
A good quality lace dress is a pefect party look. It’s a classic and ideal for the over 40s but like leopard print you have to be very careful. Choosing the right lace is essential; avoid shiny, cheap material. And you need to reveal some skin. Not everyone will opt for my 'big pants' fashion statement look but you don't want a solid block of black. Reveal the skin that you're happy to show off.
One of the reasons I love vintage lace is because of its excellent quality; it has delicate knitted characteristics. For my party, the dresscode was Foxy! So I wanted to look grown up and elegant but also sexy and edgy. The delicate lace of the dress is complemented by velvet sleeves and a wide velvet trim at the bottom of the dress; this warm, heavy contrast, makes the dress more demure. You know I never leave a dress languishing in the wardrobe and I plan to wear this again during the day with a fitted waistcoat (to show off the lovely velvet sleeves), black tights, a cashmere vest and brown cowboy boots.
MY TOP FOUR HIGH STREET LACE DRESSES
Left to right:
The Carissima Shift from Anthropologie has super sexy cut outs in the body but is in a flattering and forgiving navy.
This Byron Lars Mona Dress, again from Anthropologie, is a classic shape with a flesh coloured spandex inner lining. It covers your arms so is perfect for daytime wear and parties too.
This Delilah Fitted Lace Dress from Reiss is a simple structured black dress with lace only on the arms and décolletage so perfect for women with great arms and shoulders.
A great fitting dress from Zara, perfect for a bit of leg reveal.
Golden Rules for Choosing Lace
Go for a simple silhouette
Look for structure, something well cut, a snug-fitting dress
Choose a simple knitted lace, or a broderie anglaise look
Choose delicate finishes or elegant additions e.g. velvet
Go for shiny, synthetic lace
Include netting or mesh
Pick a style with excessive diamante or sparkles
Wear anything too fussy because it will look frumpy