One New Piece For Holiday Dress-Up

Every holiday I search out something new for festive dress. Which I still want to call dress-up, because I’m actually 8. However, these days most festivities happen with family – in houses, on sofas and floors with baby nephews . So I’m leaving behind the little black dresses and long velvet sheaths of decades past. This year, I wanted something comfortable, good for a decade, and unique to this year.

I have Jigsaw London, and the shopping event to which they invited me, to thank for the specific inspiration.

Jigsaw offered me one piece of my choice, along with champagne and sweets. I’m still not used to this style blogging bit where I get presents, as I feel that I’m simply blathering on about life and life involves clothes, but never mind. A Simple Thank You Will Suffice. I tried on a few things. This sweatshirt, in a wonderful fabric, and the collar was sweet, but the flared silhouette might have worked better on a short-waisted person.

Jigsaw London Peter Pan Collar

This dress was lovely, and stretchy, and Artsy, but as I said, 2014 is not my year for LBDs. I came home instead with a lace-trimmed cardigan. Odd, because when I turned 50 I vowed I’d never again wear a cardigan, thinking the thickness of cashmere made me look like a sausage. Oh most foolish of women! This number is made of polyester and viscose, and, hence, clings.

Close up you can see the metallic lace in the trim, and the pointelle of the knit, both on the web,

Jigsaw London Metallic Lace Cardigan

And in my front hall.


You can wear this cardigan closed,Holiday Evenings In

or open. That is my old front door, in need of paint, as I have said. I imagine my neighbors were mightily amused by these photo shenanigans, if they happened to be coming home last night around 4pm. To all those enamored with mid-century design, see that kitschy doorbell? Now that’s TRUE mid-century. But I digress.


The sweater required a few other pieces to make a non-pantsless outfit, so I took the opportunity to stock up on wardrobe basics – which generally leads me to J. Crew.

By the way, Jigsaw is a good accompaniment to the Crew – prices are a notch lower, and styling is a notch or two more fluid. Jigsaw occupies a niche right between Crew and Anthropologie, on the Sturdy to Artsy continuum. As a result, you’ll do best there with jersey and knits (check the fabrics), but they’re well worth adding to your roster of Where To Find Stuff You Need. More photos of the Jigsaw event, if you are interested, can be found on Facebook.

I have wanted rough silk dress pants for donkeys’ years, and I love these cropped trousers, half wool, half silk. I’ve wanted smoking slippers for about as long. I liked these enormously, (studs and all) but they were too gaudy for Significant Husband. We agreed on these in patent leather. They call them derby loafers. Whatever. Would have loved to have splurged on Charlotte Olympia kitty slippers, or Stubbs & Wooten, or the ever elusive Belgians. But in patent the loafers serve as black flats for daytime, as well as pseudo-smokings for night.

I also clearly needed a matching patent belt. Finally, I’m waiting on this blindingly cheap gold tank, thinking that would look great in the cardigan buttoned mode.

This strategy of dress pants, flats, and nifty cardigan, proves especially useful when you’re the cook. Come early to my house and this is what you’ll see.


The cardigan waits patiently, clean, for me to sit down and eat.

Now that we’ve addressed the clothing side of festivities, let’s spend a minute on the point of all this folderol. It’s people. It’s us. I have no doubt you all know that, but I hope you all have families, by birth, marriage, or the new family of community, to keep you safe and comforted. This is also the time for me to say that Kate, a reader, attended the Jigsaw event, and it was a pleasure to meet her. This blog never stops surprising me – how many lovely, talented, intelligent, and thoughtful women there are in this world.


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  • I love seeing that someone else wears an apron also! So practical but also so reminiscent of “grandma”.

  • O! And the sweater is gorgeous. Off to check out Jigsaw now,

  • Love those shoes. Whole outfit makes you look like the perfect hostess.

  • Love the sweater you chose, but my favorite pic is the one of you in the whimsical apron. And what fun to catch a glimpse of your digs. I’m intrigued: what color is your kitchen?
    A warm smile and a welcoming home = holiday perfection. Lucky guests!

    8:01 am
    Lisa said...

    I love to cook for people, to have them over, to bustle around in the kitchen while they talk. My entire house is the same color, right now, a warm-toned white. My kitchen cabinets are cooler white white, with black granite on one surface and butcher block on the other.

  • Didn’t know that Jigsaw was in the US now! YAY!

  • Hey, that cardigan is lovely! So effortlessly feminine.

  • Oh, beautiful pieces! Love Jigsaw, from living in Brighton, England for 10 years I got to really love their understated coolness. Check out the Hemp & silk Jigsaw dress in my collection… I often find European brands at the thrift stores that go under the radar as they are un-familiar here… our gain!

  • …ok, this is the correct link to the Jigsaw dress…

  • You won’t be surprised to read that I have become something of a Jigsaw fan as a result of The Other Blog, your sweater underscores why. It really is beautiful, and I love it on you! I’m with Nancy on the apron sentiment as well.

    8:09 am
    Lisa said...

    I wish someone made really great aprons. I’d especially like one with short sleeves, in rough linen, or ikat or….:)

    8:46 am
    Dinny said...

    @The Preppy Princess,
    I am in the Uk and I swear by Posh Pinnies, hand made in the UK, 100% cotton. They are robust as can be, (I’m sure you could boil wash them if the mood took you) and they have saved numerous outfits from cooking spillages, plus I feel glam as I open the door to guests, a sort of retro 1950s femininity but with practicality underpinning it all. I especially like the deep pocket which permits stowage of all manner of junk as I dash to the front door to waiting guest, only to espy a mini pair of toddler pants adrift on the floor and several trails of Lego that require scooping up.
    (If I am not allowed to link to this website my apols and pls delete this post)

    7:18 am
    Flo said...

    An apron with sleeves, hmm. I think I wore one in the waiting room for my annual mammogram last week, a smock I guess you’d call it. That could be very cool made up in fabric of choice + a few style tweaks to keep from channeling those polygamist wives they discovered on that TX raid back when, take care against ruffles or you’ve got Imelda Marcos.

  • YOU. Are divine.

    And so is that sweater and so are the trousers [both of which benefit mightily from the joyous spirit raaaaa-diating from the model]!

  • I don’t see a little black dress anywhere, but the cardigan sweater is very pretty. I love the shoes but I can’t wear patent leather, not even in wide width. There’s no give and my poor feet rebel and make me take them off.

    There is nothing sausage-like about you, in anything you wear.

  • Lisa, are you familiar with these aprons? Made in LA, I think you’d like their Linen-like look –

    8:22 am
    Lisa said...

    Those are great!

  • When I read “I wanted something comfortable, good for a decade, and unique to this year” you should have seen me sit up and take notice. Alas, “inexpensive” was not part of the description, although I have to say I LOVE the cardigan.

    The apron as well, but then again – I collect them. You just can’t beat a sturdy, useful and prettily flounced (or humorous) apron.

  • You look smashing in your holiday glad rags. I’m curious to know how the retirement dressing project is coming along, when you’re ready to share of course.

  • check Rough Linen (in Marin Co.) for their pinny. No sleeves, but good coverage.

    I’ve finally joined the apron gang–too many spills. Recently ruined a fairly new turtleneck. No matter what I do, the stains won’t come out…

    And your outfit looks great!

    9:34 am
    Lisa said...

    Thanks Jean. Love that rough linen. And local, besides.

  • Your choices are all wonderful! I love the mix of textures too. The pants would entice me as I love raw silk and the line is very flattering.
    I have a linen apron in a natural shade with subtle black lettering on the bib that says Bob Appetit! It is my uniform when I am in cooking mode. It is made by Danica.

    Btw I tried to click the link to see your gold tank top but was sent back to the shoes…

    9:16 am
    Lisa said...

    Sorry. I’m not always the best with link precision. I found this,, in gold.

  • One beautiful sweater on you!

    Jigsaw- young, juniory line, and, like Mexx, can supply some things that work for grown women. Sizing skews small (up to 16 but it is a UK 16, fits more like a US 12) and skirts/dresses too short for me and other tall women.

  • Great choice of sweater; it looks wonderful on you. How do those Darby loafer run? I love J.Crew shoes but have found them to be all over the map size-wise.

    12:21 pm
    Lisa said...

    I wear a 37.5 and occasionally a 38 in European shoes. I bought these in a 7.5 and they fit – maaaaaaay stretch to be too big eventually, but for now, good.

  • Hi! I have just discovered your blog and just had to leave a short message. I read many blogs. They are mostly junk that I read in spite or to turn my brain “off” after a long day of studying. But yours is really something else! Very interesting, helpful (the thing about cashmere for example), and entertaining. Your posts makes me think a little about life for a second and I enjoy that. Keep up the good work!

    7:21 am
    Lisa said...

    @Helen, Thank you so much. And welcome!

  • Lisa – It was so lovely to meet you as well! I thought the off white sweatshirt was darling, but I think you picked a winner in the cardigan. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
    Cheers – Kate

    8:45 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Kate, Hello again:). I hope you and your daughter had fun with your next day plans!

  • Huge Jigsaw fan here. Am yet to invest in the Crew. Seriously exxy for Australian orders.

    SSG xxx

  • Thank you Lisa! Lovely pieces. I’m planning on buying the white sweatshirt with the peter pan collar as I am short-waisted. Do you recall what size you tried on? Did it run true to size? Thanks for your inspiration!

    3:04 pm
    Lisa said...

    Most likely I tried on a small, but I can’t promise that’s right. The store is very pretty, in SF, right on Haight Street near Marc Jacobs.

  • Just today I saw what I thought was the perfect jacket to fill in a little gap (I am thinking of your post asking about what to wear as a wrap for a wedding you were attending)…to wit: The Francie peplum jacket by Elevenses at Anthropologie–winter white, boiled wool (at least it looks to be) and at $158 quite affordable. If I could justify ANOTHER jacket….but, then, maybe I can :)

  • the cardigan is lovely! and, neither here nor there, but must be said: the photo of you in the collared sweatshirt is so gorgeously high-fashion i don’t even know what to tell you. you look like a runway model.

    8:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    @lauren, That’s very nice, you have met me, I do not remind anyone of high fashion models in person, so,

    Congratulations to the photographer!


  • Oh that cardigan is wonderful. In fact I like it even more than the LBD.

  • You look so gorgeous, Lisa…I agree that the photo of you in the sweatshirt looks like a fashion shot! I made an ikat apron last year that has sleeves…take a look
    I don’t know if these are for sale anywhere, but they are the BEST for messy cooks (that would be me…)

  • Love the front door! That is just gorgeous.

  • I couldn’t get the link to work…google “kappogi”…

    8:46 pm
    Lisa said...

    @Margy Houtz, Fantastic.

  • You look marvelous in the black cardi – very festive! I also swore off cardis, but recently I’ve noticed that v-neck ones are usually very flattering on me, midlife middle and all. Might be something about how the V draws the eye. I’ve even salvaged a couple of favorite crew neck cardis by unbuttoning them from the top to achieve a v-neck effect.
    I like the idea of buying a festive item or outfit that fits my real life, rather than going for sequins or velvet that will sit mostly unworn.

  • I’ve gone that same route he last few years, separates in more festive fabrics, either velour or sequins or silk brocade. That’s enough sparkle for family gatherings and baby spit-up or melted chocolate isn’t a big drama. Your choices look perfect, as do you. . . So welcoming at the open door. Let the Merry Merry begin!

  • Nice cardigan! I love a good cardigan me. I love Jigsaw too, but it’s outside my price range.

    I will need to look into something for my work Christmas do, and a few other festive events…

  • I’m with SH on the shoes. I like the sweater but I think the item that you’ll be photographing for multiple seasons is the pants.

    Those are really great looking. They flash a well-turned ankle :)

  • I love that outfit on you, and was also glad to read that another strong woman does run clothing items by her husband for approval. We’re having 25 for Thanksgiving and I’m doing almost all of the cooking myself. I think I’ll be grabbing an apron today from William Sonoma. And for the first time ever – will be choosing what I’m going to wear in advance, as the day of…I’m a bit overwhelmed and grab the first thing I see in the closet.

  • I love an apron; can’t cook without one. The one I wear is a hand-blocked Indian print in pink, which I bought, curiously, from my hardware store. I told my children to buy it for my mother’s day 2010, and as it did not appear, I bought it for myself a year later (it was still there; pink aprons apparently are not on your average hardware-store shopper’s list).

  • 1. Your husband goes shopping with you?
    2. “One” new piece?
    Love the outfit. I always use an apron my MIL made for me when my husband and I were first married. I think of her fondly every time I put it on. So I made aprons for my son and his wife.

  • It looks like you are ready for the holidays. The cardigan is beautiful and I like your outfit stylings. The door bell made me smile. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Lisa, I can’t stop staring at your first photo. Your profile is divine. You exude grace.

    4:23 pm
    Lisa said...

    You are so nice!

  • Nice to add a little sparkle to our black duds, yes? Excellent choice.

  • Wow, do I love this holiday outfit, and you look so pretty! I’m also on the hunt for beautiful holiday-worthy pants, and I think your cardigan, silk pants and loafers are inspired choices. Just perfect casual elegance. I’m off to check out Jigsaw.

  • I always enjoy reading the pieces you pick Lisa, your process is so much more meticulous than mine. Oh, I got some Wigwam hiking socks per your suggestion–so far, fabulous (I also got hiking shoes which was a first). Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    xo Mary Jo

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