Lace and Leather — Without the Sleaze

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Lace and leather are a perennial fashion favorite. I first noted the combination during re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in the years since, the trend has faithfully cropped up every few seasons. But despite its popularity, leather and lace can seem a bit… tawdry? Cheesy? Cougar-ish?

Maybe not.

Navy Lace Dress: Free People | Black Top (Layered Over Dress): Rick Owens (Consignment) | Leather Jacket: DvF (Consignment) | Flats: Jenni Jayne (Consignment) | Bracelet: Lulu Frost
Navy Lace Dress: Free People | Black Top (Layered Over Dress): Rick Owens (Consignment) | Skirt (Layered Under Dress): American Apparel | Leather Jacket: DvF (Consignment) | Flats: Jenni Jayne (Consignment) | Bracelet: Lulu Frost

For this outfit, I kept the hooch factor to a minimum by choosing a lace dress that was long, flowy and conservative navy  — instead of skintight and neon. I actually saw this dress in a catalog, and it took all of 15 seconds for me to press “Submit Order” online.

Because it buttons from top to bottom, there is huge flexibility to layer sweaters over the dress or even pants underneath. It’s luxurious details that take an outfit from “meh” to marvelous. The best part of the dress is easily the intricate flowers and stars strewn across the dress. (This dress was very affordable, but the level of detail looks very expensive, reminding me of this all-white Givenchy version.)

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One important factor: This dress, like any all-lace ensemble, is transparent. Layers are essential. In some instances, I wear a slip underneath and call it a day — but that can be pretty revealing. I wanted to mix it up with some over/under action, with a stretchy pencil skirt underneath the dress and a black sweater tank on top. I stuck with my all-time favorite fall color palette — navy and black.

The “leather” in the leather+lace equation was my trusty puffed-sleeve jacket, which I’ve been wearing as a cape while I still can. (We’ve had some freakishly warm weather — not that I’m complaining.)

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