Reader Q | How to Style a Lace Top For Work



Reader Question:

First, let me say that I love your blog! I read it religiously. So much so that my husband no longer asks where I get new ideas from. Thank you for helping me feel kid-friendly, mom appropriate and sexy all at the same time.

Here's my question…I'm looking for some ideas for work appropriate layering of a lace shirt. I am an attorney and need office appropriate wear, but get bored with the same old dark suit getup.
If I can at least make the tops under the jacket interesting, I feel like I win. On non-court days, I have a little more freedom in what is appropriate. I'm 100% on board with the layering a turtleneck.  I tried a t-shirt today.

Image (3)
(wearing:  GORGEOUS lace tee is Lauren Conrad for Kohl's)  

Is there anything else? Would a button down work?



Suzanne – Thanks for writing in!  You obviously read the article (linked above) where I recommended a lace top.  If you recall, I claimed that it was oh-so-easy to style and soooo very versatile and…well.  I see that you are calling me out.  (Nicely, of course.)  Challenge accepted!!  It's time to put my styling where my big ol' mouth is, and attempt to style one up for the office.  Not just any office….but one of the most conservative of work environments. 

(I came up with six possibilities.)

Layered Over a Button-Down

You asked about layering a lace top over a button-down, and YES:  I love this trick.  

The glasses mean I'm serious.


My black lace top is a *tad* fancy for work, but I wanted to show you how rad black lace looks over a crisp white button-down and camel (or khaki) pants:

DSC_3484(wearing: ancient lace top, Theory button-down, JBrand cords, aerosoles tapestry pumps)

Works, right?  Maybe not for a big presentation (or court), but I like how it could amp up basic khakis.  

However, on big presentation days, I kinda love the lace + button-down peeking out of a suit.  This is an outfit I would have worn back in my full-time workin' days:

Look at those stats!!


(wearing:  J.Crew plaid shirt and blazerWarby Parker preston glasses, old Isabella Oliver Maternity trousers – long gone, but I'll bet these would work just as well after baby, 9 west boots)

With a Tee and a Scarf

You obviously have to wear your lace top over something opaque.  And while I like the idea of wearing it over a tee….the neckline is a pain.  Unless the necklines line up perfectly, it doesn't look quite as crisp as it could.  However, I think a scarf can camouflage the issue:

Go ahead.  Tell me you're running behind.


Even an old-fashioned silk scarf (the kind you can borrow from your grandmother) can work.  It's a little flight-attendant inspired…but I like it:

You are now free to move about the cabin

DSC_3487(wearing:  old scarf,  J.Crew tissue tee, old Isabella Oliver Maternity trousers – long gone, but I'll bet these would work just as well after baby, 9west booties) 

Pairing the whole thing with a skirt (or dressy trousers) helps keeps the vibe professional.


Under a Short Jacket

For a very conservative office, using a lace top to peek out from a short, structured blazer may be enough, uh…flair.  Voila: 



(wearing:  OLD Miu Miu jacket, J.Crew tissue tee, ancient DKNY pencil skirt, aerosoles tapestry pumps)

Lace Top Picks


Eddie Bauer Cap Sleeve Lace Top, $49 | J.Crew Factory Lace Tee, $75 

Madewell Soft Lace Top, $68 | Nordstrom High/Low Lace Tee, $44


Sooooo…..thoughts?  Could you wear these to your office?  Has anyone else styled lace tops for work?

Happy Monday!!



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Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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  1. Ok, I confess I didn’t get it over the turtleneck but I’m in love with it styled with the suit!! Wish I had time to order one before a suit-worthy meeting tomorrow but, oh yes, one will be mine!

  2. I love them all as usual! Great job Shana!…missed the outfit posts!! love love love..also where is the button down skirt from? very cute!

  3. I’ve had a lace tee sitting in my closet for probably 10 years; at the time had thought it would be for dressing up, and it never quite worked. Wore it over a button down last year when you were styling a cashmere tee that way (still haven’t managed to get myself one), and when you did the turtleneck post, I rocked that too! Found for me with the turtleneck it worked best with an otherwise monochromatic outfit (to tone it down a bit for work). Can’t wait to try out these new ideas!

  4. I think the easiest for work are the ones that are lined– then no worries about layering it with other stuff. A camisole underneath looks too bare, and some of these tshirt/button down options would be too bulky or out there for me in a conservative office. But a lined lace top under a jacket works.
    BTW I had to let you know that I’ve been stalking your blog and admiring your sunglasses for like two years. Finally yesterday my aviators broke for the 1000th time while I was mere steps away from a sunglass shop, which I took as a sign from the universe, so I dropped major cash on some Salts. Hooray!!! Thanks for the tip– I adore them, and I don’t feel like I spent money just for the designer name on the rims, ya know?

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I love all of these looks and will be putting them to good use soon. I only wish I had seen the post before dressing for work this morning…oh well, there’s always tomorrow!

  6. My Fav is the one with leopard scarf (I’m so coveting that and think my closet needs one ASAP ha!) and the look layered under the cropped jacket is genius! I have a lace (unlined) shirt that has been hanging in the back of closet for 5ish years now? I may have to pull it out and see if itll work for any of these looks! (it has a higher-collared neckline, so I think my options are really limited ha!)

  7. When I first read the headline, I thought “No, no, NO don’t wear lace at work!!” but I really like what you came up with, particularly the last two. Great work!
    PS – Love the work-related posts.

  8. Oh my gosh, that scarf! I walked around with it in my hands, left the store, came back in, left again…and finally walked out with it. The CPW is now pennies. 😉

  9. Nice ideas. I think only the scarf and blazer versions would fly on my office (b-cas finance, with suits thrown in ~1x per week. I have a rose gold lace tee from Loft that I have successfully work two ways (both layered with an ivory cami): under a medium gray suit with very fine pinstripes and a feminine cut jacket; and paired with plum slim ankle pants, topped with a plum belt at the waist with a flower detail. I top it off with a two tone + crystal choker and either outfit always comes off as fun and feminine but totally professional.

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