Intern Post: Unlaced


Alison’s basically running the blog this week in my absence, so let’s give her a hand.  Without her enthusiasm, CHS would be a barren wasteland this week.

We’ll be back to normal next week.



It’s hard to think of lace without conjuring images of vampy women of questionable taste and/or employment, but over the past few seasons I’ve grown increasingly fond of it. It’s taken a bit of acculturation, I might say, but I’ve finally numbed my previously held beliefs that lace should be left under real clothing. Yes, I think lace is quite appropriate for a top layer.

This new-found acceptance comes with some major stipulations, of course; I don’t want anyone here to think for one moment that I am encouraging, let alone condoning, whorish dress. As far as I’m concerned, no matter what you look like or how many platinum singles you’ve sold – I’m talking to you, Lady Gaga – you should consider the following guidelines:

  • Don’t overdo it:  More times than not, if you wear a full ensemble of lace, you will look tacky at best. Some women can definitely pull off a beautiful lace dress, but most women can’t. I say err on the cautious side and stick to one relatively small piece. That way you can avoid looking like my Teresa doll did when she inherited my sister’s Barbie clothes from the 80s (lacey neon fingerless gloves and long-sleeved mini dresses and all).
  • Nuance rules: There’s really no need to shout loudly, “Hey, everybody, look! I’m wearing lace!” The beauty of lace often lies in its subtlety. So try and avoid contrasting undershirts, and definitely avoid foregoing an undershirt. Taste, as many have yet to learn, comes with discretion, and the last thing you want your lace to scream is “I am classless and vulgar.”
  • Stick to neutrals: Nudes, ivories, and even grays: these are the best colors for lace to come in. This works with my previous – and forthcoming – cautions against the vulgar side of this look. The brighter and more absurd your palette, the quicker I am to talk about you behind your back to my friends. Yes, this may be mean, but sometimes it’s hard to help, and by sticking to more subtle shades you won’t invite too much unwanted attention.
  • Try something unexpected: Lace comes in countless designs, textures, and textiles, and I encourage you all to try something out of the ordinary. I’m not hating on the incredibly beautiful baroque needle-work of Spanish mantillas or your Nana’s doilies, I’m just saying that modern design deserves your attention. I like a more Art Nouveau design, personally, but it’s up to you to explore and see what fits your look.
  • Balance it out: We get it, you’re an incredibly sexy, feminine woman, but you don’t have to drive that point home to me. To look smart and romantic instead of saccharine and over-sexed, pair your lace top with a more utilitarian pair of pants or a pair of riding boots, and always exercise caution in the accessory department. No matter what piece of lace you decide to wear, you want to avoid looking like a caricature, whether she be vamp or camp.

Now I understand better than most that we simply can’t follow every rule all of the time, so I offer this advice as mere suggestions according to my own personal taste. One of the greatest things about lace is its immense versatility, and I’m sure one of you rule-breakers out there will convince me shortly that I still don’t have the full picture of it.

Until that point, however, I leave you with my three picks for great lace tops.

Elizabeth and James Mondrian Tee (ShopBop, Sale $157.50) Numph Embroidered Lace Silk Mix Top (Asos, $75.80)

Sheer Floral Lace Top (Forever 21, $22.80)


    leave a comment

  1. TA says:

    I love the grey top the most. Great entries, Alison!

    August 12, 2010/Reply
  2. Meg says:

    Great job Alison, you definitely fit in nicely with the writing style of this blog. And LOVE the Elizabeth and James top!

    August 12, 2010/Reply
  3. Stephanie says:

    I agree with most of your rules, except for one: I think that sometimes, colored lace can really work! I recently got this dress from Anthropologie and I LOVE it:

    It's not a color I'd have picked, normally, but it's actually really flattering. I'm wearing it to a wedding this weekend, but I'm also looking forward to pairing it with riding boots and a cute, belted cardigan once fall rolls around. It's a little bit pricier than I normally spend on a dress, but it's versatile enough and different enough from the other dresses I own that I thought it was worth the price.

    August 12, 2010/Reply
  4. KLo says:

    Love the Anthropologie dress and the Asos top!

    August 12, 2010/Reply
  5. L says:

    Great post, Alison!

    August 13, 2010/Reply
  6. Ana says:

    That fifth comment is spam, and has nothing to do with the post. Perhaps it should be marked, so that the jerk who sent it can't get through again?

    August 13, 2010/Reply