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One New Piece For The Entertaining Holidays: From Sky’s The Limit To, “Hey! I Could Get That!”

As I’ve said before, if I don’t get myself one new piece for the holidays, I’m prone to a certain wistful regret. Celebrations feel just a little more celebratory in new duds. This year, I’m thinking about a new party top.

See, I’m almost always the one cooking, if not as the head chef then as a bustling sous. And I cook with abandon. So I’ve found that the best holiday dinner outfit for me is a pair of dressy trousers, like these from J. Crew (once black is back in stock), and a festive top, which I don’t actually put on until we eat. Cook in cotton jersey – eat in silk, lace, and sequins.  That’s my motto.

In this spirit, I’ve found a few tops to covet, consider, or snap up. Your choice. We’ll start in the stratosphere, and work our way down to the land of, “Excuse me, I’m not the Queen of Sheba! At least not yet.”




Here you will find fine materials, skilled workmanship, and design to the point of audacity. Art becomes fashion, right there on your body.






Simplicity is the key to bargain elegance. If you look for beads, eschew busy patterns, if sequins, make sure they’re straight up. Solid colors and classic silhouettes serve you well; persist in the hunt for good fit and prepare to add yet more sparkle with your jewelry.




Fashion in between Way Too Much and Over $100 gives you all sorts of options, in pattern, in fabric, in silhouettes that mirror the offerings of the stratosphere. Often your best strategy here is to wait for a sale. As it happens, Bloomingdale’s got one starting today, with 20% off many items. You can try to find something you might wear more than once, but if you falter, these are the kinds of pieces that high-end thrift shops love to take off your hands.


And if you decide against a party top, well, then, there are always party shoes…

Edited: In an attempt to deal with the display issues in Chrome and IE, I have another widget below, that slideshows all my picks. Please let me know if you can’t see this either? Additional hint, Chrome on my Mac loads slowly, but it does load, in the end. My apologies for technology’s short-comings, I can only assure you that we try.

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39 Responses

  1. Love both of the Oscar de la Renta tops, but crazy expensive. I think the Joa sequined navy tee is very chic and simple. Would be best with denim jeans I think. Great price, thinking……

    1. Crazy ‘spensive, as Faux Fuchsia would say:). I love a sequined tee – and navy, bronze, all those dressy but slightly unexpected colors are my favorites.

  2. Pictures of the tops aren’t loading at all for me in Chrome, look like something is trying to load in IE, and my iPad works perfectly??????????? I love festive tops, but once the cooking is done, I usually get cold, so I look for sweaters, or at least long sleeves.

      1. Unfortunately there’s no way for me to fix this, short of changing the widget altogether, or using individual images. Which, sounds like I need to do. Thanks for the feedback.

    1. @DocP,
      I couldn’t see them at first either, but it turned out to be my AdBlockPlus extension. Loading was slow after turning that off, on Chrome on my work computer.

    2. Maybe it was the ad block, although that shouldn’t affect IE. I was able to see everything with Safari on my iPad.

  3. I like your way of dealing with holiday entertaining. I can be a messy cook, so an apron and a nice cotton top would be helpful while working in the kitchen.

    I also must take your advice and change into something festive before sitting down at my holiday table. The tops you have shown are great! I was in a boutique/antique type of store the other day in a small tourist town. They had some very unique tops and bottoms that would be great for the holidays from $59 to $100. They will soon be closing for the winter, so they put everything on sale. Fun stuff!

  4. I cook for the holidays too and am always in my linen apron until just before sitting down to eat. This year I have a St. John black top sleeveless as I get so hot! With sparkles and will pair it with my black dress pants.
    Mother uses that phrase who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheba!

  5. I tend to feel the same wistful regret (no, I wallow in self-pity, which is just silly) if I don’t get something new for the holiday season, although our lifestyle really doesn’t demand much sparkle! I just found my piece (not a top) — and have just been readying a short post on it. Great minds, and all that, although your post is so much more comprehensive! And there are widgets! And all kinds of gorgeousness! Almost making me feel excited about the coming delights of the season . . .

  6. I like a little bit of something to cheer the holiday season. Love the de la Rentas but not the price. It was only recently that I discovered the joy of a sequined top however and that might be perfect for my new casual lifestyle.

  7. I found the Juno piece fascinating. Oh my, it does require a cami under, don’t you think? Even so, it’s hitting above its weight. The festive season is one time when I depart from minimalist.

    1. @Duchesse, I agree with you on all counts. Juno is a new design line that I’m finding really intriguing.. I don’t know if you remember that post I did on Imaginary Texas, but the gold-embroidered chambray skirt I was for my photo was by Juno.

  8. The gold Donna Karan Sequined Cashmere for me!
    Let someone else do the dishes, while I’m having seconds on pie and swirling around in this dreamy sparkly set.

  9. I’m using Firefox and I don’t see anything, either. Just as well, my closet is full; nothing can come in until something goes out.

  10. Lisa, Loved this post and all your choices. Good range and why not a few aspirational ones as well? The Oscars!! Swoon. Anyway, I’m with you and I always have to get something for the holidays. That Lela Rose top was my idea of perfect with the black pants. If only I could find an affordable version!

  11. All working perfectly on the iPhone. Love the silver ‘sweater’ and navy T the most. I’ve finally realised big prints aren’t really for be, but rather clean lines with something interesting to lift it. Sparkle definitely does that!
    Here in Australia Christmas is usually Hot, so that’s a big factor too.
    Thanks for this great edit of pieces!

    1. @Meg, My pleasure. Well, thank heavens for iPhones then:). It may have been a javacript blocking issue. I am still not sure. Or else goblins:)

  12. If you hadn’t mentioned any designer names or prices at all, I’d have picked the $68 red Bloomingdale’s asymmetric sleeveless top for parties. It’s lovely and you have the upper arms for it! It’s always interesting how our opinions are swayed by the titles.

    1. @HHH, I really like that one too. If I looked good in red, I don’t think I’d let the price/brand stop me. At least I like to think so. The issue is that in the store I might not even have looked at it:(

  13. Sadly not working for me either – Firefox with Adblocker plus (the latter is probably the problem but I don’t know how to turn it off!).

    Anyway, I fully agree with the sentiment of a pretty piece for the holidays. I got myself a stretchy, off-the-shoulder jade green lace dress for dirt cheap from a supermarket. It developed a big pull on the first wear, but I like it so much I think I’ll keep it and just push the loose thread through the lace weave.

  14. Gosh, I have a shirt just like one of those in your carousal right in my closet! Do you ever find that you go shopping and look at things and think, “don’t I own that already?”

    That’s when I stop, treat myself to a coffee and head home.

  15. If money were no object, Oscar would be my guy. But…since it is, I’d wear the Cherry Red by Banana. Simple and chic.

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