How to Wear a White Lace Dress for Fall

Brandon said that my new dress looked like a christening gown, so it had that going for it. Also, you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day. Two strikes. I soldiered on though (so brave, I am!), determined to make this dress work for fall.

Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely

I think it’s working.

October Style: A White Lace Dress

  1. Tenley Glasses
    I like that the red of the glasses picked up on the red in the tights.

  2. Classic Link Bracelet
    I wore a crazy baubled Kate Spade bracelet, but it’s no longer available. This one’s a good substitute.

  3. Serenade Lace Dress
    It also comes in navy, and the stores have it on sale (I got mine for under $100).

  4. Vintage Leather Saddle Bag
    The crossbody style that has been everywhere for a while is perfectly unfussy to go with all that lace.

  5. Sidewalk Skimmer Flats
    I tried this with heels, and the whole effect was one of trying too hard. Flats it is.

  6. Opaque Tights
    Pick a color. Any color.

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Mandy Hough
    October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Cute! I’ve been layering knotted at the waist sweaters over mine. Now I’ve gotta try this! So versatile, lace dresses:) I love how you always incorporate glasses by the way. I’ve totally got glasses envy. Stupid good vision!

  • Nataliya @ IBeltEverything
    October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I bought a lace dress for an all white destination wedding and plan to wear it with black tights for hubby’s christmas party at work. Love your interpretation, I now feel much more confident pairing lace with tights :)

  • Amber
    October 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I bought the same dress for my daughters birthday (on sale too)! Originally it was supposed to be 77 degrees that day, but a cold front blew in and it was 55. I had to make it work for cooler weather. I have a picture of it on my blog too. Nevermind the fact that I am hanging out of a fire truck!

    • Making it Lovely
      October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      So cute with the boots! Great party, too.

  • Lisa Price
    October 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    You totally made it work! I love your styling. Let’s do a collaboration with our blogs.


  • Danielle
    October 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I think these are my favorite glasses on you! So cute!

  • Mandi
    October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I wonder if you read! If not, you should probs check it out. She’s awesomeface and also is powering a movement to wear white after labor day!

    • Making it Lovely
      October 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Yes, I love Maggie! She’s the one who made me make a life list.

      • Mandi
        October 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        You guys are the bomb….s?

  • katie
    October 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    you’re totally working the white dress! and that little nook…so cute and cozy!

  • katie
    October 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    everything about this photo is so perfect: your outfit, the room, the lighting! love it. and thanks for including a link to your glasses in your style board. i’ve been thinking about getting a pair from warby parker and it’s always nice to see styles on someone’s face.

  • Mandy
    October 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I feel like this would be the perfect Valentine’s Day outfit!

  • raya
    October 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I love it. And I always admire how you wear so many dresses.

  • Mariana
    October 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Everything is beautiful, but I’m totally in love with your shoes. :)

  • Catherine
    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Oh wow, I love that dress! You look amazing, and I’ve never been one to follow the “No white after Labor Day” rule, especially because it stays hot here forever. And it looks more ivory in the pictures, at least on my screen. It’s a great look!

    • Making it Lovely
      October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      It is more ivory than white, and I’m not really one to follow the no-white rule anyway. I think it’s more the fabric than the color that determines seasonal appropriateness.

      • Catherine
        October 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm

        Yes, definitely! And ivory lace can be so elegant for winter. I’m betting this will be a dress you save for your daughter. It’s so classic. :)

  • Tatyana
    October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I wonder if the Old Navy dress from your March ’11 style post could work instead (because I have it).

    • Making it Lovely
      October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      That’s a tough one — eyelet definitely says spring/summer. Maybe if you live in a warmer climate though?

      • Tatyana
        October 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        Even though I live in CA and it’s warm here most of the time, I’m having a hard time wearing that dress any other time but spring/summer.

  • Yelle
    October 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I just bought a white lace dress and that I was going to have to wait until spring as well because of Labor Day! I love the idea of the belt as well as the colored tights. I can maybe pull it off like you did!

  • Kristina
    October 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I really love this look with red tights, would never have thought to pair the two together but it’s super cute!


    Kristina does the Internets

  • Carol
    October 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    You rocked it! I now want the dress, the whole outfit actually, lol

  • Shelly
    October 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! The dress I got married in is almost exactly like this and I’ve been wanting to wear it, but had no idea how without looking like I should be sipping tea in a spring garden! It just felt to foofy or something, this looks amazing! I love it! You’re so cute. I can’t wait to pull my dress out of the back of the closet! :-)

  • nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma
    October 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I wore a ivory sweater today. Who invented the no white rule, anyway?

    I’d love to see your outfit with brown riding boots too. Low enough to have a few inches of color from the tights. I have an adorable pair from Blowfish that would work…it’s here:

    I love these style posts, Nicole.

    Take care…

  • Julia
    October 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

    That “no white after Labour Day” rule is no longer a rule. Fashion has smartened up and it’s totally acceptable (and chic) to wear white wear ’round. It has more to do with choices of fabrics than choice of colour – and this combo makes the cut!

    Now, if you’re a dude wanting to wear white leather dress shoes after Labour Day. Don’t – just don’t. Stoppit.

  • Kristyn @ Organic Grey
    October 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    love those glasses! warby parker, right? i’m getting the ainsworth in tortoise soon, so excited! your red tights are so fun, tights are definitely on my list of winter essentials this year :)


  • Maria @ Redecorate Blog
    October 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

    You definitely make this work. ;-) I love the color of the tights, too!

  • Evelyn W
    October 12, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I’s defs thinks its working.

  • Leah
    October 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I’m a size 14/16 and can’t wear anything at Madewell. I do love this look, though, and have been searching for alternatives. LC by Lauren Conrad line at Kohl’s has a lot of different lace dresses this season, including this one in white. I’d like to lose that sash, though!
    I am now officially obsessed with your chili-pepper tights!

  • Blair
    October 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I LOVE that dress!! I just bought it on Saturday and wore it to church on Sunday! I paired it with brown riding boots, a brown leather and tweed belt from Anthro and chunky, gold accessories. SO good for fall! And it’s really more ‘winter white’ than white-white any way.

  • Adventures in Dressmaking
    October 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Ooh, great ideas! I’ll have to link to this when I post about the off-white lace shift dress I just made for our one-year anniversary pics. I was thinking, hm, I may not get much wear out of this until spring… but love the red tights and brown combos!

  • Happy Friday!
    October 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

    […] I never heed the white after Labor Day rule and Nicole from Making it Lovely brings Fall flavor to a white dress with red tights […]

  • Sanie
    October 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I have a white sleeveless dress and its lacey at the top. It has a scallop style of skirt too. How do i pair it with shoes? I want flats because i don’t know how to wear heels. I also wanted to wear tights, will it be okay? I also have an almost muscular legs. What kind of shoes will be better and what color? how about the tights?