...from the fate of a thrift-shop dinosaur, contemporary designers are using it in totally accessible styles like this nicely priced black pencil skirt (Banana Republic, $110). It's lined with blush satin, which brings out the beauty of the pattern (and spares you anxiety about the right lingerie), and supplied, rather surprisingly, with pockets, which make the skirt feel more like sportswear. Count on it to bring freshness and delicacy to anything you wear, whether that's a drapey silk blouse (Vince, $195) or, more informally, a turtleneck and opaque hose.
Earrings and bracelet, R.J. Graziano. Watch, Baume & Mercier. Shoes, Dani Black
A More Forceful Take
A lush skirt lavished with rosettes, plus a matching chain bag (Prada), epitomizes fashion's new, more forceful take on lace (here it's the heavy-duty embroidered variety known as guipure). The weighty, ropelike effect and deep, rich color make these pieces eminently compatible with casual clothes like knits (sweater, Christopher Fischer, $220). "I'd love to dress like this every day," Mol says. "It's so bold and chic." But for now that dream is purely aspirational: "I'm more interested in a uniform I don't have to think about—something I can get baby food on."
Earrings, C. Greene. Ring, Jill Jacobson. Shoes, Miu Miu
Lace gets a dressing-down with—you guessed it—jeans (Fidelity Denim, $188). They give a whiff of hipness to an ethereal blouse with flouncy sleeves and a cinched waist (Robert Rodriguez, $319). An edgy metal, jet bead, and crystal necklace (Erickson Beamon) only increases the cool factor: "The chains and denim make the lace feel very strong," says Mol. On the subject of underpinnings: The fabric's complex patterns form a sort of screen, so sometimes you can get away with just a bra, but more modest coverage, like a nude slip or camisole, is always an option.
Earrings, Rachel Reinhardt. Ring, De Beers
A Wow Belt
This lace-embellished leather cincher (Melamed)—is a smart buy, given the popularity of waist-conscious, vintage-inspired styles. The wholesome-looking dress in a lacy print (Mischen, $625) reminds Mol of "a '50s lady humming at the sink." A touch of demure, pretty mom dressing is fun, she says; even better are roles that draw on motherhood's emotional content, like her character in The Memory Keeper's Daughter. "I read it while I was pregnant and suspected they'd make it into a movie. And right after Ptolemy was born—when I was wondering if I'd ever work again—I got the call."
Earrings, Rachel Reinhardt. Ring, Martine Wester. Bag, Elaine Turner
Late night on Turner Classics and you're watching a black-and-white film with knockout costumes...this fragile yet commanding gown (Sari Gueron), with its Old Hollywood aura, would fit right in. "Sometimes I'm in the mood for another decade," says Mol, whose fashion icons include the Hepburns, Katharine and Audrey. But unlike real vintage—often a little too boned and stiff to be wearable—modern evening dresses are built to be comfortable: "I don't feel weighed down in this," Mol says. The delectable halter means a necklace would be too much; a few gunmetal bangles (R.J. Graziano) and a soigné flower-shaped ring (Cartier) are enough.
Shoes, Jimmy Choo
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