Two Generations of Lace

holiday party lace dress

On me: DVF Zarita dress (gifted & first posted here), DIY sash, Manolo Blahnik BB pumps 
On my mom: Adrianna Papell lace dress in “cassis” (also in sleeveless or cap sleeve)

For the second half of my collaboration with Nordstrom holiday dresses (see part one for this $26 petite-friendly find), I chose an older piece from my closet that’s become a favorite over the year. I didn’t expect the “nude” pink color to be as versatile cross-seasonally as its proven to be. I wore it with white and gold back in spring, and have paired it with deeper hues like hunter green for fall events. I hope to get another wear in before winter turns me Casper-y pale and the nude disappears into my skin. For the holidays, I made this fun oversized sash to accentuate the waistline and break up the all-over lace look.

holiday party lace dress1

A few of you have asked about more affordable dupes for this dress, in particular the Adriana Papell version. This brand starts at size 2P so I haven’t considered it personally, but was thrilled that my mom has it. While I was growing up, my parents were pretty stern and always chastised my shopping habit (“books over looks!”), so I’ve been secretly quite pleased in recent years to get texts from Mom on her clothing and makeup “hauls” inspired by my blog posts. It took some coaxing for her to join me in photos but my dad cracking jokes off-camera helped : )

holiday party lace dress3

The design of both dresses is pretty similar with the biggest difference I observed (did not try the AP on myself) being the lace materials. I can’t describe it well -see above closeup- but the DVF lace is a larger, more distinct floral which I do think looks a little more higher end. It might also be accentuated though by the lighter vs darker shades here, but both dresses come in a variety of colors. Composition of the stretchy lace is 70% rayon / 30% nylon for DVF and 56% rayon / 44% nylon for AP. Lower-quality rayon and nylon can be pilling-prone but I’ve had no signs of that on the DVF, and can’t speak to my mom’s dress. Both dresses are double-lined in a soft knit material, with a zipper closure down the back. The AP is made in China and the DVF is domestically-made.

holiday party lace dress2

According to my mom, this ran fairly true to size if not big (she is 5’2″ for reference, and 34″ bust, 28.5″ waist, and 35″ around the hips). This dress in 2P looked like a good fit on her with some extra room in the hips. She’s usually worrisome of her upper arms and tummy and I thought this look flattered both areas. I do think this type of stretchy dress would look best very fitted (looks too loose in some stock photos), so consider sizing down. I am wearing a 0 regular in the DVF which has been altered – see the original fit on me:

DVF zarita lace dress before

I had my tailor slim the sleeves through the armholes and taper the bottom of the skirt for a more fitted “pencil” silhouette. I hope these photos show how classic a lace sheath can be for women of all ages!

This post was sponsored by Nordstrom to share holiday dressing ideas.

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  1. Jean wrote:

    ^ Thank you all so, so much for your sweet comments! My mom feels super encouraged and appreciative of your kind words.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  2. Jean wrote:

    Hi there – I'm not sure what age or body type you're shoping for, but based on pieces I've recommended for my mom, I think dark-wash straight cut jeans, drape cardigans (the Bobeau one from Nordstrom is a hit with all ages), chunky turtleneck sweaters for winter, and ponte pants (like LOFT scuba pant material) also in a straight cut seem versatile and put together for her lifestyle.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  3. Jean wrote:

    I totally agree, Phoebe! I know most moms are busy beyond belief, but I hope they still take the time to pamper themselves and experiment with fashion and beauty. For colder weather, I really don't stray much from conservative tight pairings since it's so easy for colored tights to look wrong. I would wear dark hunter green, dark grey, or black tights with similar-colored pumps as the tights. With black or dark grey tights you can also probably get away with a shoe in a color family similar to the dresses, like a varying shade of nude or purple.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  4. Jean wrote:

    That makes me so happy to hear, Regina! I bet you guys make one stylish pair.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  5. Jean wrote:

    Lol, they eventually stopped caring when my youngest brother came along who never abides by those rules ; )

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  6. Jean wrote:

    I love mixing casual + dressy textures! The outfit you're suggesting does sound lovely.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  7. Jean wrote:

    Hi Ellie – I go to a tailor in Chinatown on Knapp St. He doesn't have a store name that I know of and only speaks Cantonese, but I have many non-Chinese friends that go to him for straightforward jobs and just communicate through gestures. He is located across from the grocery store on that alley/street, and you can see his sewing machine through the big window. His hours are supposed to be 10AM-5PM, but he tends to work on his own hours and sometimes closes up earlier FYI.

    As for MAC – I haven't been professionally matched for a while but I use NC30 concealer : )

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

    Hi Sophie – here's a really old video but I still use the same steps and my hair tends to be good at holding without hair spray. Sorry I can't help with a recommendation there! I do use pretty high heat though so that could be the reason, which is also consequently damaging for hair. The main difference between what I showed in that video and now is that I don't use the clip on the iron and just wrap hair around the outside to have crimp-free curls.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    Thank you! I'm wearing Laura Mercier lip glace in "orchid" from this post

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

    Thanks for posting that alternative!

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  11. Jean wrote:

    Thank you! They both felt very similar material-wise given the short interaction I had with the AP. However I never put that one on to compare material comfort, and also can't speak to how that one wears and holds up over time. I read through most of the reviews though and would suggest checking those out from some women who've had it for a while!

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  12. beautiful lace dress.. my friend and I love one lace dress we found online such a keeper…you both are gorgeous lovely ladies

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  13. Stephanie wrote:

    Beautiful photos! Love the style and color of the dress your mom is wearing.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  14. Lovely image!! Love the color of the shoes.

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  15. My mom is about the same size as your mom, and she loooooves Adrianna Papell! It's her favorite brand!

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    Your mom is lovely and beautiful- she should be anything but camera shy!

    Posted 12.7.14 Reply
  17. kismetic wrote:

    Jean, you and your mom look gorgeous together! My Asian parents were the same way when I was growing up. Glad your mother is on board with your great style now!
    Also, love the lace dresses for the holidays!

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  18. IH wrote:

    Can you please do a post on affordable but classic staple pieces for moms? That can be very helpful for xmas shopping!

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  19. IH wrote:

    Your mom is so beautiful! Nice to have to have a stylish daughter!

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  20. EVA. wrote:

    you both look so beautfitul, love the lace dresses <3


    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  21. Petite-ish wrote:

    You both look gorgeous!

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  22. Aww I love these looks and this post.

    XoXo One Stiletto At A Time

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  23. P wrote:

    Hi Jean! What a special post! Our moms are most definitely beautiful on the inside, but this is a reminder to encourage our moms, despite some self-consciousness about their bodies and age, that they can still be beautiful and fashionable on the outside even as they get older. 🙂

    I love these outfits. Jean, can you suggest how might you pair these outfits with tights for a colder day? (i.e. what color tights with what color pumps). -Phoebe

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  24. Regina Gee wrote:

    My daughter and I admire your style! We were so happy to see this lovely post featuring a petite mom and daughter.

    Posted 12.6.14 Reply
  25. Emily wrote:

    You both look great. I'm surprised you have shoes on inside an Asian house on a white carpet! 😉

    Jemily Life

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  26. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I love this post of you and your mom. Both looking very elegant and beautiful! Thank you for this wonderful blog!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  27. andrea wrote:

    You and your mom are so adorable Jean! Love both dress, both colors are beautiful!


    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    Beautiful! Jean, this post made my day- so heartwarming! You and your mom look so happy and are epitomes of grace and elegance.

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    You two look so beautiful and elegant!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  30. Beautiful dresses! You both look great!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  31. Pamela wrote:

    Oh goodness, your mom is such a beauty! Looking hot, mama!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  32. Jane wrote:

    Jean, consider wearing your DVF lace dress with a denim jacket, buttoned up. I've seen the denim-and-lace combination on several women and it always looks lovely — a surprising mix of robust and delicate fabrics.

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  33. Jackie wrote:

    Your mom is gorgeous! Now we know where you get your good looks 😀

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  34. ellie wrote:

    hi jean. what tailor do you use in boston? and do you mind me asking what your MAC shade is?

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  35. Sophie wrote:

    You both look beautiful! Do you have a tutorial somewhere for achieving your hairstyle? I have straight long hair (about the same length as yours) and it's really difficult to get loose curls to stick for more than 5 minutes! I'm very careful about not using chemicals and almost never using heat but although my hair is healthy it still looks quite flat because it's so straight. Also, your hair looks amazing in general. I'd love to know your hair routine. (Sorry if you posted about this before, I couldn't find the post in quick search.)

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  36. Anonymous wrote:

    can you also list your lip color please?

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  37. Caroline wrote:

    I recently bought a similar dress from Forever 21:;=DRESS&productid;=2000067018

    It's very versatile. I've already worn it to two fall weddings and will reuse it for my work Christmas party (maybe I'll try it with a bow belt like yours). After that I'll start using it in more casual settings, either with a blazer/cardigan over it, or a button down shirt layered underneath. Or with slinky heels as a going out dress. So many possibilities.

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  38. annie lee wrote:

    gorgeous mama and daughter! xx

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  39. cynthia wrote:

    Oh my gosh, what a beautiful post! This is so precious — I love that you two did a shoot together, and you are both gorgeous. This is too sweet for words 🙂 Happy holidays, Jean!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  40. So, so pretty! Both you and your mom look gorgous and I LOOOVE the lace (of course I do) 😛

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  41. Cee wrote:

    Adore this, Jean! You look just like your mom.

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  42. Rachel wrote:

    What a lovely post, Jean. Thank you so much for sharing your mom with us today! You are both beautiful! 🙂

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  43. Your mom looks beautiful, and you too.
    Statement Necklaces:

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  44. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, Your mother looks lovely– you really do take after her. I'm sure she's so proud of you.

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  45. Your mother is simply so beautiful. Asians age so gracefully, you have good genes in your family Jean!


    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  46. Aww! You guys look beautiful. I never comment but I loved this post. Yay mommy!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  47. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    Both of you are so pretty! Love these photos and lace looks great on you both:)

    Shall We Sasa

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  48. Your mom is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  49. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks Jean for the comparison. Both of you look great! Would you say that the quality of the AP dress is similar to the DVF (other than the flower pattern detail)?

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply
  50. It is so heart-warming to see your mum and you together! Both of you look amazing in the beautiful lace dresses you are wearing! And love the nude pink shade of your dress, such a pretty color!


    Posted 12.5.14 Reply

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