me and my twinsets

There have been several interesting discussions on the gripping topic of whether twinsets look "mumsy," so I thought I'd weigh in. What a depressing expression, where on earth did it originate?
First, the J.Crew Jackie twinsets: definitely mumsy. I don't own any. Tippi twinsets: same. Also, solid color twinsets, even cashmere: chancy. Need to be worn with leather pants or skirt, if at all. I don't have any solid color "sets." Nor anything in ponte fabric, but that will have to wait for a different post.
But the Missoni and M Missoni matching or coordinating cardigans and tanks: a boon to the traveler and packer, and a blessing for events with dubious dress codes. An M or MM (I'm going to save me some typing) tank on its own with silk slacks has great appeal. Add the cardigan, which is sometimes v-neck, sometimes jewel neck, sometimes with a neckline Missoni has invented, wear with a slim skirt or well-fitting slacks, those last preferably dark, and you can have lunch or dinner anywhere you would have worn a black dress with neckline in the years before dress codes switched over to "please come in and spend some money" from expressions that began with "gentlemen: jackets required…" Things are slipping all over the world, except in Russia where the only detectable dress code was and continues to be показна́я ро́скошь. As far as Missoni goes in that direction, in some years they offer sweaters with metallic thread among the not-quite-tweedy knit.

Moreover, because of the interesting necklines and mix of fibers, the tanks go well under solid-color jackets of any variety. Not only is this characteristic generally useful, but it can be crucial in times of over-enthusiastic air conditioning. I usually prefer not to bring a jacket to a restaurant, to avoid discussion with over-helpful staff who want to check it for me, so usually on hot days I carry the cardigan.

And because of the mix of colors and textures, the paired sweaters go well with all of my leather skirts -another packing preference because they don't wrinkle and if a skirt has been folded the fold hangs out in minutes. 

These things are good only with shoes that don't pinch or make you totter or stagger. My Chies fill the bill, so do the basic black pointy-toe RL Collection pumps but only peeking out from pants. 

I have one TSE cashmere set and one Missoni cashmere set, Oddly both have very large flowers on solid backgrounds. I don't know what I was thinking. Chilly springs, I guess. They're both getting on in years, and HAVEN'T PILLED YET.
And I have a few M or MM 100% cotton sets, one has spaghetti straps on the tank and short sleeves on the cardigan. All definitely summery, go well with cotton pants and jeans.
My first J.Crew set was the Creatures of the Wind sweaters. Finding the proper fit was horrendous, but I persisted until I had found something that worked, and then I waited for a markdown or two, which in due course arrived. What I liked, finally, was the fit and the mix of colors, which went with a lot of slim skirts and pants. It got a lot of admiring glances on the Riviera. I love it when a Frenchwoman checks out your outfit and tries not to look impressed. The opposite of that is a brief disdainful glance, which they don't care if you notice. As you will.

So anyway, since that was a success, and seriously cheaper that the M and MM sweaters, even marked down or at a flash sale site, I moved on to the recent "Two-Way Stripe"sweaters. I got the brown, tan, grey, black combo, called "Snow Navy" as in find the navy, win a prize, again with fitting issues but ultimate success. These, too, have been a success, especially the tank under a lightweight leather jacket.

I  rarely wear the cardigans by themselves. Although it just occurred to me that one of the darker ones might be good with a strapless or bare-shoulder dressy dress. If I had such a thing. No, ya know what? A sweater over a party dress? That looks "mumsy," IMHO. 

I would not wear any of these sweaters with:
lace (too busy)
sequins (snag risk, also too busy)
any kind of embellished garment (ditto)
"fancy pants" (too busy)
shorts (will not dress like I just finished a catalog shoot)
very short skirts (ditto)
ankle or higher pants (ditto)
heavy jewelry, except real gold chain or torque (see sequins entry)
any jewelry that could catch on these sweaters (ditto)
shoulder bags (exaggerated snag risk)

scarf is really a pale grey
with taupe drawing
and H-orange notation
didn't even think of these
two together, they arrived
two years apart. Go figure.

I have a short string of tiny emerald beads, another of tiny rubies, and still another of a great mix of tiny colored stones, and those go well with the more enthusiastic sweaters. And of course some of my better scarves seem to have been made for some of them.

owned scarf for years
before buying sweaters
without even thinking of scarf


  1. Hi...What or who is TSE ? Thanks. Good post .

    1. Thank you, anon! tse is a company that produces very fine cashmere products. It's carried at a lot of stores, and it has a number of company-owned stores, plus a presence at outlet malls. Like everything else, finding what you like/want at a "possible" price is… chancy.

      Here's a quote from their website: In 1989 TSE, (pronounced “say”) was set up as a cashmere house in order to create an American brand that could compete in the luxury market. TSE was formed with the intention of redefining the use of cashmere and rarefied materials for a luxury brand. TSE has been the leader in taking a modern approach to cashmere, altering the perception that luxury has to be traditional. By expanding the possibilities of the fiber and paying close attention to every detail, TSE has become a label for the modern consumer who appreciates simple luxury, great quality and beautifully designed product. The brand priority is to be known for the highest quality standards, infused with a modern style sensibility. TSE has expanded this philosophy beyond cashmere, developing the collection into a complete modern expression of dressing, making it a true lifestyle brand. TSE continues to redefine the use of cashmere and other luxurious fabrics with the collections: TSE MEN, tsesay, TSE home and TSE baby.
      It's a vertically integrated operation, they even own their own goats. Unusual these days.

    2. Thank you for answering. I have not heard of TSE before today. Anyone else aware of it...or was I the only one ?Wellfedfred... do you have a store near you or is it Nordstroms ? Just even more curious now because of the quote you posted. Thanks again for the learning about old and new products.

    3. Yes, I have some TSE cashmere form the 90's, super stuff.

    4. Unknown, the Tse products turn up at Saks, Neiman's, Nordstrom's... and the company's own website is There are factory stores at many of the nicer outlet malls.

  2. I REALLY, REALLY want that first twinset. Seriously want it..

    Great post!

    1. Wendy, that first one is very you! I think you should be adding some Missoni to your wardrobe!

    2. Ruth - you are right! I am now looking for a rich boyfriend or a fab sale!

    3. thanks, Wendy, so you don't think they're mumsy? :)

      I have found them so useful, and I enjoy wearing them.

  3. Fred, you have an enviable twinset collection! I'm sort of embarrassed to admit I don't own a single one, but this post is making me consider how lacking this area of my wardrobe is.
    I must rectify this.
    I agree that J Crew Jackie twinsets aren't really so fabulous. I have a couple of the cardigans, but the high-necked tops wouldn't work on me.

    I love your cotton Missoni one with blues and greens - it's beautiful! I think I need one for our upcoming summer, so it's off to stalk the online stores for me!

    1. hi, Ruth, the "collection" is the result of a few episodes of incredible good luck (Saks consolidation sale, Harrods sale, flash sale sites - and iron will power, as in "for the price of 10 of these (pieces of garbage), I could get a Missoni set."

  4. Love the Missoni. Still just don't get the twinset thing especially in solids. Stick on a brooch and some cat glasses and there would be grandma.

  5. Hi, BB! I cant wear thé solid sets, either, just too much sweaters.

  6. Twinsets (whatever flavour) acquire the mumsy tag (or the grandmumsy tag) as soon as they are teamed with pearls.

    1. Gad, I'd never even consider pearls with these guys!

  7. I like the neckline on these; I don't like to hide collarbones, being our best feature and all. Where do you find Missoni things ( that's a ? from the hinterlands)??

    1. Hi, Lane, I stalk the Sals and the NM and Bergdorf's websites for markdowns/sales and most especially consolidation sales. And of course Gilt, RueLaLa.

      There may be outlets in Freeport? Check web.

    2. Shall do. Was up there yesterday.

  8. Beautiful collection! I love all of your Missoni sets. Not mumsy at all. I have two Missoni for Target v-neck cardigans. Crap fabric but I couldn't resist when everyone was in the Missoni frenzy when Target released the collaboration.

    You are so right, I should be saving my money for investment pieces instead of buying Jackies in every color. I do NOT do Jackie shells, ever. Due to over-air conditioning everywhere, I do tote a Jackie with me just about every day.

    Thanks for sharing your collection. Love looking at gorgeous things. I always say that if and when I ever come into money, I will know exactly what to get!

    1. Thanks Shopalot!

      or you could stalk.... or combine Christmas and birthday presents?

  9. I love all the twinsuits you show and my fave is the top though its hard to decide and those scarves are just gorgeous (can't wear scarves sadly, my neck is too short) I used to have a Missoni twinset (second hand it cost $40 with a gorgeous brown and blue stripes) but it was a bit itchy so gave up on it. I am totally the Queen of Cardies as Oakland is hot in the arvo and chilly at night, though I think I should opt for a more structured neater one like the ones you have pictured rather than the sloppy bloppy ones I always buy...Wow, I didn't realise I was so passionate about ...cardies!

    1. hi, ALW - $40? US? I would have had a tough time giving it up!

      the cashmeres and the cotton sweaters don't have an itch factor, but the mixed-fiber ones can - nothing that a thin silk cami doesn't fix (for me, anyway). For a/c drafts and chilly nights that aren't Missoni-worthy, I stuff a cotton cardi into my bag. I'm as bad as Europeans about blasts of cold air on the back of the neck. These can be fatal, you know.


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