Lace is, besides the expression of beauty made by human hands and intellect, also a crystallized form of time. Each ornament, each tiny loop or stitch represents a moment of time spent in devotion of beauty. Lace is, after a fashion, a prayer for beauty in physical form. It is no wonder, that it has been highly prized and sought after for centuries, sometimes to a point of obsession. In contrast to expensive jewels and gold, the luxury of lace is never obtrusive, and it may be worn in any hour of the day from morning to night – only varying in amount. From the lace-edged morning-cap, to the small and neat lace collar of a simple day dress, the amount of lace may be added until the evening dress completely made of lace material – not to mention the night-dress lavishly decorated with the finest laces, which gives a more elegant and restful sleep than any other garment! Lace is the one costly wear which never vulgarises; jewels worn without judgment can be rendered offensive to good taste in their too apparent glitter, but lace in its comparatively quiet richness never obtrudes itself and is recognised in its true worth and beauty only by those whose superior taste has trained them to see its value.
But a strong word of warning to the dear reader, who would like to succumb to the lovely siren call of lace, and enrich her costumes with this most admirable of adornments! Since the cloud of ugliness fell on our world, there has been produced much of inferior products which hardly deserve the name of lace. Until then, some laces were of more original artistic quality and some pretty in more typical way, some were hard-wearing and others perhaps prone to wear and tear, but all lace was beautiful. Nowadays, one really has to be alert and educate herself about lace to avoid the monstrosities which are trying to pass as the true article. As a rule, any stretchy lace is best avoided, as are most products of Raschel and Textronic apparatus. Sometimes, very rarely, one may come across something passable from these, but never do they reach the high quality and and beauty of good machine laces like Leavers. Lace which is plastic and scratchy is to be avoided at all cost. Lace which is flimsy without being delicate is offensive. Unnecessarily coarse lace in personal apparel is disproportionate. Lace which is stiff without being regal is a material non sequitur. It is distressing to see in how many ways the beauty and elegance of lace has been sullied in the last half century.
Lady looking for good lace finds it the easiest and least mentally tiring to focus her searches on vintage lace, ie. that produced prior to the mid-1960’s. There are still some companies producing excellent laces, though, and it is advisable to support their efforts if you come across them. There are also some hand-makers of lace, and if you can afford their creations, by all means do so. I can not personally fathom any article of dress more luxurious than a lace collar or handkerchief edging expertly made by hand to personal specifications. However, if that is beyond the power of your purse (as, regrettably, I must confess it is the case with me), there is absolutely no reason to despair. As lace is currently grossly undervalued in the so-called vintage-market, it is possible and I would almost go so far as to say easy, to purchase exquisite lace creations for minimal sums of money. If you have knowledge of lace and a keen eye, you can easily amass a gorgeous collection of lace, which would make the lace-loving ladies of yesteryear blanch with envy – as they had to pay the full and reasonable price, and you only portion of it.
In any case, there is no reason to deny yourself the glorious fairy-webs of lace which arouse in every woman a love for all that is beautiful, right and elevating.