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Lace Up: How to Wear the Ethereal Classic

We pick our top womenswear items to build an up-to-the-minute lacy look

Very few fashion trends have stood the test of time quite like lace. First used in the 16th century as part of the clergy’s vestments in religious ceremonies, it wasn’t long before lace came into widespread use, both in fashion and home décor. And while it remains a classic choice, fashion houses keep finding new ways to reinvent the romantic fabric into contemporary pieces that feel fresher than ever.

For spring/summer and fall 2019, lace appeared in pale hues – looking ethereal and innocent, yet still sexy – through Sakai’s and Burberry’s designs. Others, like Marco de Vincenzo, Erdem and Christopher Kane, adopted a Victorian, gothic approach by way of edgy, more masculine silhouettes. Similarly, John Galliano used lace in his prairie pieces, with bold touches of punk never far away. By mixing lace layers with chiffons and patterned panels, designers have been taking the traditional fabric’s flowery, virginal nature and turned it on its head, reclaiming it as part of empowered, directional womenswear collections. Elsewhere Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s have been extending the repertoire by using punches of lacy neon to give the party dress an avant-garde revamp. 

Follow the lead of stars such as Emilia Clarke, Emma Watson and Cara Delevingne, who wear this oh-so-versatile look at any given chance. With so many different approaches to choose from, Port’s got you covered with our selection of top lace-fueled outfits.

Paint it White

There can hardly be a more elegant style choice than a light ton-sur-ton ensemble mixed with lace. Alexander McQueen’s ivory trimmed top is a perennial classic; match with a pair of white cotton shorts with a coordinated trim. To add a subtle pop of colour, opt for a pair of light yellow sandals and a headband in pastel hues.

Androgynous Appeal

Nothing says feminine like a man’s piece of clothing turned on its head. Try a lace bomber jacket and a nude silk cami matched with a pair of classic, polka-dot trousers in a darker tone. Complete the outfit with a short-brim straw hat.

Goth Queen

A black lace dress with crystal embellishments; a bejewelled leather chain shoulder bag; a black, sheer headband and go-to leather mules: this is one of those looks that shouldn’t really work, but when thrown together with a lot of attitude, it just does. 

Indie Prairie

Embrace the prairie craze of the season with a mid-length white dress with ruffled neck and floral lace patterning. Adding a black fedora hat will take you straight to a festival, or, equally, a walk in the park. Throw on a pair of black leather braided mules, and accessorise with your favourite wayfarer frames.