The FT Times in lace back dress


Right now, Valentines Day stuff is EVERYWHERE! Whether you love or loathe the holy-February-trinity that is chocolates, flowers and scratchy pants, it’s the latter that’s in discussion for today’s blog post.

Well, not lingerie per se, but lace!

I personally LOVE it but oh boy is it fashion Marmite!?

Layering all the classics over a lace hem dress. Coat, Missguided £60 | Chanel Matelasse bag (vintage)| Jumper, H&M | Dress, Outrageous Fortune at £17 | Boots, River Island (old stock but click here for a similar style).

I kinda geddit…

I’ve watched ‘Yes to the Dress’ – currently the second born’s favourite telly box programme. I’ve seen the reaction to lace and it more often than not divides the bridal party. (FYI, I had a 3m long, lace cathedral veil for my wedding. Jack me up, Randy!)

Plus, working at The Sun newspaper (back in the days of Page 3) one of my ‘roles’ was to source the girls’ underwear and needless to say, the scratchier they were, the better!

Many of my mates aren’t fans either (black lace in particular) and words like tacky, tarty and cheap are often bandied about (not about me, haha. Well, I don’t think so anyway…? Lemme check!)

Which is why I am here, your honour.

You see, lace need not solely be regarded as wears for the semi-naked squad of chat line-girls.

Of course it’s damn sexy, but it’s also a lot of other things too.

It’s elegant…
Stephanie Seymour in Chanel photographed by Karl Lagerfeld
It’s effortless…
Image from Pinterest
It’s timeless…
Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million, 1966
And it’s playful…
Image from Pinterest

Whether it’s the Latin allure, the artisan feel of the handcrafted texture or the sheer delicateness of lace itself; especially in black, it’s both simultaneously stern and soft, fierce yet fragile.

From a simple trim on a camisole to a full-on, Victoriana-widow-floor-sweeping-frock – what enthuses me the most about lace is that you can totally tune in to whatever fashion frequency you require. Whack it all on or have just a hint.

It’s also one of those textures that truly defies trends and age alike.

As with everything that you wear,  I am militant about the simple fact that it has to be and feel comfortable. So, if the lace is exposed and un-lined, have a good wriggle ‘n’ jiggle in it first, before you commit. If it’s in anyway scratchy, avoid it – along with any protruding coat hooks, handles and definitely bramble hedges!

While some people love loads of leopard print or salivate over stripes -pour moi, lace and broderie (slightly more wearable cotton embroidery and needle work) is definitely MY THING.

Raindrops on roses and all that, innit?

Y.A.S. HIgh Neck Maxi Dress with Lace Insert, sold out from

I bought this dress, pictured above, in the sale on  – a couple of months ago. One of my almighty downfalls when it comes to clothes shopping is buying when there isn’t even an occasion to wear the bloody thing – hence my challenge to stop spending until spring!

But, in defence of this incredible dress by, not only did it have the black lace wow-factor that is stunning, it also fitted perfectly too. And this, friends, is the first and foremost exception I have when it comes to justifying a purchase when there isn’t even a hint of an event in sight to wear it to.

Here – take a look at my three point checklist:

1. Does it fit comfortably and perfectly – no alteration costs required at all?

Check! I’m 5ft 6 and a size 10/11.  This maxi is so flattering plus I’m currently crushing over the silhouette and texture clash of Meghan Markle’s full-skirted, Ralph & Russo £56,000 engagement dress. This is a frickin’ steal in comparison, innit!

2 Is it under £30? (It’s got to be a bargain or it’s an utter waste of money.)

This dress cost £28 reduced from £70! BARGAIN. Say no more.

3 Is it classic in style or colour?

The Victoriana/Gothica/Downtona Abbeya trend (OK, I made that last one up) is here for the long haul. And come on, fashion trends are SO cyclical plus it’s black.

Don’t mess with the classics, innit!

And finally, I know lace seems quite dressed-up so here are a few hint of-lace shopping suggestions that I reckon are really wearable for work or (soft) play.

Now all that’s left is for me to find an occasion to wear my dress to …or else, you’ll see me swanning down Sainsbo’s in it or the Middle-Aisle in Aldi!

Can. You. Imagine?!



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