Ever the versatile fabric, lace is cropping up as a trend this spring; from Paco Rabanne to Dion Lee, designers are making the case for sheer dressing in 2023. 

Why Lace Is Cool Again in 2023 — And How To Style It

Ever the versatile fabric, lace is cropping up as a trend this spring; from Paco Rabanne to Dion Lee, designers are making the case for sheer dressing in 2023. 
May 05, 2023
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by Mari Alexander

This season, as ever, the sexy lace is back. It was about time, I suppose.

I went through the lace-love phase a couple of decades ago, and like with many other trends that remind me of a very particular (albeit a little awkward) phase of my life, I turned a cold shoulder to the fabric when it cropped on runways numerous times since then. Lace is strange. It can be elevated to elegance (Grace Kelly’s wedding dress) and stripped down to sensuality. It can be worn under garments or over them and completely shape-shift in function. It’s delicate, yet empowering. Lace has a duality few other fabrics possess.

As a trend, lace comes but rarely ever goes – not entirely, at least. While everyone’s ensconced in conversations, lace is that guest at the party who hangs back and only interjects when they’ve got something important to say. This year, that something has a lot to do with power. In a broader sense, lace ties into the broader sheer-dressing trend, which took this year by storm. We saw the rise of x-ray, barely-there fabrics in collections by Nensi Dojaka, Prada, Dion Lee, and Versace, to name a few.

Personally, I’m embracing the fearless spirit of lace. Case in point: this head-to-toe lace look. The ultra-stretchy fuseau – another name for stirrup leggings – formed the foundation of this outfit. Next came a lace top with flared sleeves and a contrasting shirt-style collar. And for the bottoms, I pulled one of my favorite pieces from the belly of my closet: this Y/Project denim skirt. There’s something so incredibly unusual and funky about it – the unconventional slit, the playful cutout, the asymmetrical hemline.

That’s the skill of Glenn Martens, a one-off creative genius who was appointed creative director of Y/Project in 2013. Thanks to Martens, the Paris-based label has since then elevated its streetwear game with mind-bending constructions, high-octane silhouettes, and some really (I mean, really) cool denim. Take one look at how he manipulates the medium, and you’ll see why everyone in the industry is calling Martens – who also helms Italian jeans brand Diesel – a denim maverick.

But back to the outfit. I knew I wanted to expose the lace waistband (another boudoir-y trend that took hold the past few seasons), so I tucked the lace shirt into the fuseau and left my denim skirt undone and folded down. This lent the look a certain unbothered, unapologetic vibe. Plus, it was a different way of wearing a skirt I’ve worn so many times. Last but not least, I topped it all off with this statement-making, chunky-eared beanie by Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. Scottish-born designer (and a self-proclaimed “club kid”) Charles Jeffrey is another creative making waves in the industry with his avant-garde designs that celebrate queer joy and self-expression.

Want to play around with lace? Take some cues from my look by shopping some of the pieces below.