Way back in February when all the designers were showing their AW15 catwalk collections, amid the 70’s glam rock and 60s Mod, there was another big influence on trends for this season: gothic Victoriana. Now while this might sound quite unapproachable, what with the ruffs and all that jazz, there is something extremely wearable that has come from all this. And that is lace.
Lace doesn’t have to be ‘granny’ or old-fashioned. Actually it can be the perfect antidote to the androgyny that has dominated for several seasons and worn in a modern way, can provide the right amount of femininity to an outfit. Moreover, although we talk about the party season, in reality not many of us have actual full-on events to attend. However, we might still need (or want) a top or dress that has just the right amount of interest to it, without making us look like we have dressed ourselves at the same time as the Christmas tree. Lace is spot on for this – subtle but sexy and interesting. Think of it as understated bling.
You do need to be careful with lace and tread the fine line between cool/contemporary and net curtain. So go for a modern style in lace like this All over Lace Tee from Warehouse £42. This looks much more sophisticated in navy than ever it would do in black and works well with jeans and heels. Chuck on a little jacket to complete the outfit for the perfect balance of dressed up/dressed down.
Now this little Lace Cami from Whistles £95 is absolutely gorgeous. Wear with slouchy or cigarette trousers alike. Pop on some bling in your neck and you are ready to go.
There are an awful lot of these lacey Victoriana blouses around too but I am struggling to like them – for me they are just too literal to be cool and therefore err on the wrong side of granny. I am sure Kate Moss would look cool in one but they just don’t do it for me. However, Whistles has hit the nail on the head with this Chay Lace Shirt £145 – it comes in ivory, black and forest green. Yes it is on the short and boxy side so probably isn’t for everyone and it isn’t cheap, but it is way cooler than anything else I have seen.
Actually hold that thought because Zara has a modern version of the lace blouse in this Combined Shirt £25.99. Great price and great for now.
Lace isn’t just for evening and Zara has several options you could wear in the day and which aren’t prim Victoriana: Plumetis Blouse with lace applique £39.99. This is a good price for something you could wear with leather skirts and jeans alike and from now through to the summer.
The other way to do lace is with knitwear – perfect for now when you need be snuggly. So update a basic crew neck sweater by going for a style with some lace inserts. This Lace Back Jumper from the White Company £89 does the job very well.
This Ginahh Lace Detail Cardigan £99 from Ted Baker doesn’t have to be styled in this very ladylike way. You can dress this down with skinny grey jeans, boots and a little black cami underneath for a softer take on rock chic.
If you are looking for a party dress this season, then look no further than the LLD. For something low key and versatile, Warehouse has this navy Lace Sleeved Shift Dress £60. A great price for an easy-wear dress. Shift dresses work well on all body shapes as they give a nod to the waist while skimming, rather than clinging to, curves.
If however, you need something more formal then this Pleated Lace Midi Dress £80 is another great price for an ultra-feminine dress you could wear from weddings to cocktail parties and more. Either keep the look classic with neutral accessories or have a bit of fun and inject some colour or print.
Now there is more to life than navy and this Olga Lace Insert Shift Dress £150 from Whistles is in one of the colours of the season and would be great for any ‘dos’ you might have.
How about stepping away from the traditional dress and opting for a jumpsuit? This Amorie Lace Top Jumpsuit from Reiss £245 would definitely fit the bill for a cool option for Christmas parties. Jumpsuits naturally look less dressed up – the ideal ‘I just chucked this on without thinking’ type outfit.
The moral of the story with lace: you don’t have to go all out, even a little hint will do the trick. And if you still feel like this is too octogenarian then combine lace with leather ‘cos I am sure that is something your granny is not doing: Zara Faux Leather Dress £39.99