Skip to Content

6 Lace Dress Styles (Based on the Six Types of Lace)

Woman wearing a lace dress

Lace dresses are worn for every occasion, from a casual day at the beach to the most formal and fancy of weddings. A lace dress can never really steer you wrong. It’s fashionable, it’s pretty and it looks like it’s more high-end than not, even when you found a dress that’s very affordable. Lace has a more expensive look to it and it absolutely goes with anything. But if you go looking for a lace dress, you’re going to find a lot more options than what you bargained for. What don’t you know about the different types of lace, types of dresses and other types of fabric that go into making various lace dress styles? It’s time to find out lots more about buying and wearing lace dresses.

Types of lace

Try to go looking for anything made out of lace and you’re going to be looking in a lot of different directions. There are actually many different types of lace style used in fashion. However, some types of lace are used almost exclusively to add trim to garments. Other types are used to add other types of details. But some types of lace are very commonly used to create dresses. Learn a little more about the most common types of clothing lace and soon, you’ll be able to identify different lace types just like an expert.

1. Alencon lace

Rebel Wilson X Angels Women's Plus Size 2 Color Alencon Lace Dress, Black, 0X

Also known as French embroidered lace, Alencon lace is made with raised laces on a net background. Beads and cords add embellishment. Heavy silk cord, known as cordonnet, gives the designs a raised outer edge. This is a popular choice for wedding dress designs.

2. Bobbin lace

Bobbin lace is a type of handmade lace that is created through a process known as pricking. This means that a pattern is drawn on parchment, or on a card, first. This is attached to padded support. Threads are then looped over pins and wound around an elongated spool known as a bobbin. Bobbin lace dates to at least 1536 and originated in Venice, Italy.

3. Chantilly lace

Adrianna Papell Womens Chantilly Lace Tiered Mini Dress Pink 4

Chantilly lace is a very popular type of lace used in clothing. This lace has floral designs that are emphasized with silk thread. The lace mesh is very delicate and intricate. Chantilly lace has scalloped edges that give the lace a somewhat frayed look.

4. Irish lace

MISSMAY Women's Vintage Full Lace Contrast Bell Sleeve Formal Long Dress (XX-Large, C-Green)

Irish lace is well known around the world. This is a crocheted lace that is made by hand, which makes it a rarity. While all lace was once made by hand, it’s much more common today for lace to be machine-made.

5. Nigerian lace

Nigerian lace isn’t technically lace. It’s actually embroidered fabric, though it is considered to be a hot lace trend. Like lace, it’s made with threads and like lace, it has an embellished and ornate pattern. This gives it a lacelike look and pattern. However, Nigerian lace styles are not technically a true lace. Nigerian lace is also known as African lace. However, this material is actually created widely around the world.

Don’t confuse Nigerian lace or African lace with Ankara print. Sometimes called Ankara fabric, the Ankara print look has become extremely popular lately. This is a print pattern that has existed in African fashion for a long time but now, it is being worn all around the world. Ankara print is distinct for its colorful, large geometric patterns.

6. Venetian lace

Also known as Venice lace, this lace is made with a heavy, raised design. Usually, the design has a floral or geometric design. Unlike many other types of lace, this lace is not made on a net or mesh fabric. Instead, the lace is stitched onto cloth, which may be anything from cotton to satin. This creates an elegant lace gown style.

Lace Colors

White lace dresses are considered a classic but lace can be made in any color of the rainbow and some you might not even be able to imagine. Black lace is seen often in dresses as well. Aged white and white have a more antique or vintage look. Choose your lace color based on the style you want to display and the shades that look best on you.

Dress Styles

Any type of dress can be a lace dress if it’s made with lace. That means any style you can name, from a micro mini dress to a professional midi dress to a flowing maxi dress, can be lace. However, some types of dresses are much more frequently seen than others. Fit and flare dresses, tiered lace dresses, form-fitting bodycon dresses, hip-hugging pencil dress styles and baby doll dresses are popular lace dress choices. Wedding dresses are also quite commonly made entirely with lace or with lots of lace pieces.

Creating a Lace Dress

Any dress can have lacy elements on it thanks to appliques and lace trim. These separate pieces can be added to a dress to create a lacy look. This way, you can turn your perfect dress into a lace dress.


Still have questions about wearing lace dresses? What about styling them? Cleaning them? Which types of lace dresses should you be buying? If you’ve got questions, no problem. We’ve got the answers. Take a look at the answers to the most commonly asked questions about lace dresses and you will soon know all the tips and tricks used by the fashion gurus to create great, lacy looks.

Are lace dresses in style?

If you’re wondering if lace dresses are even still in style, then know that laces dresses have never been out of style! This is truly an enduring fashion trend. For centuries, dresses made with lace have been worn as everyday style, used in formal wear and celebrated by royals and regular folk alike. Lace dresses have persisted as a popular option in ladies clothing through all different eras of fashion, since the days when women were wearing corsets and putting on silly stuff under their dresses to make their skirts extremely big.

Depending on the style of the dress, lace dresses can look classic or vintage or super modern and trendy. Check out any online fashion store to get a look at the latest lace styles and see what’s hot on the style scene.

Are lace dresses formal?

Lace dresses are used for the most formal attire, including black tie. Lace is often seen in bridal gown designs, which are just about as formal as you can get. Lace dresses can be all kinds of formal dress, including evening gowns, cocktail dress designs or any other type of dress you like.

Can lace dresses be altered?

Most dresses can be altered, including lace dresses. However, most dresses can only be made smaller. Making a dress bigger is tricky. Dresses can usually be shorted in the hem or altered to fit slightly tighter or a little looser here and there. Sleeves can usually be changed and necklines can also be changed somewhat. Every dress will be different and lace dresses can be a little trickier to alter because you don’t want the pattern of the lace to be interrupted.

How to style a lace dress?

There are many different ways to wear a lace dress because there are so many different types of lace dresses to wear. If your lace dress is very sheer, wear a minidress underneath in the same color as the lace. This layered look is sexy but stylish and it’s perfect for casual or semi-formal wear.

Choose a statement jewelry piece to go with your lace dress outfit. A statement necklace or pair of earrings may be all you need to accessorize your dress. with fewer accessories, the dress stands out. Remember that less is more in fashion. This will help you create a glamorous look.

Create a sort of funky, bohemian vibe by pairing your lace dress with a wide-brimmed hat and a large handbag.

Style a sophisticated look with large sunglasses and a small clutch. These small accessories and a pretty lace dress will give you a truly elegant look.

Strappy heels, tall boots and flats are always a great choice for lace dress looks.

If you’re going for an edgier vibe, slip a leather or denim jacket on over your lace dress. This will help you create that sort of cool rockstar vibe.

How to soften lace on a dress?

If you’ve ever owned anything made with lace, then you know this isn’t exactly the softest and most flexible material out there. With a few tricks, you can soften lace somewhat to make the fabric more flexible.

First, rinse the lace in cold water. Gently run the water over the fabric, lightly folding and moving the lace as you go.

Drain the sink and fill it with water. Add about 1/4 cup of regular laundry detergent and 1/4 cup baking soda. Mix all this together. Keep mixing until the baking soda has dissolved.

Dunk the lace in the mixture. Be gentle with your lace as you wash. Rince the lace carefully in cold water. Let it air dry. Once it does dry, the lace should feel softer and be more flexible.

How to care for lace fabric?

Lace is a pretty delicate material. You don’t want it to rip or tear because that can spoil the entire pattern of the lace. This makes caring for lace pretty difficult. For the most part, you want hand-wash lace to keep it clean. Don’t scrub lace or be harsh with it, as this can damage the lace or loosen the design. Air dry your lace garments because they may snag in the dryer.

If you need to iron a lace dress, place a towel flat on the ironing board and lay the lace flat on top of it. Cover this with a press cloth and then apply the iron. Lace material can burn and singe.

If your lace has yellowed with age, fill a bathtub or large sink with warm water and a little bleach. Always use oxygen-based bleach. Look at the label on the bleach to know what you’ve got. Let the lace soak in the bleach water for at least two hours. You can let it soak in there overnight if needed. The bleach will work slowly but it will effectively remove the yellowed, aged look on lace.

What is the best dress for your body shape?

Do you know how to pick a dress based on your body shape? Follow a few simple tips to make the most out of your natural shape. If you have a heavier upper body with a bigger bust line and broad shoulders, look for dresses with V necklines and plunging neckline styles that will elongate the torso. If you are a little heavier in the lower part of the body, around the hips and thighs, A-line dresses and flared dresses will help balance you out. If you are slender and have somewhat straight lines, look for dresses that bare your arms and legs.

Try different looks and take note of the hemlines, necklines and types of sleeve designs that seem to look best on you. This will give you a much better idea of which features to look for in a dress.