How to Style One Dress for All Your Holiday Parties

Just one dress can be the gift that keeps on giving
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Chantal Fernandez
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Just one dress can be the gift that keeps on giving
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It's not even Thanksgiving yet, but if your social calendar is already approaching max capacity with RSVPs to work, family and friend events before the new year, you are not alone. However, a busy holiday event season doesn't mean you have to splurge on tons of different weather and occasion-appropriate looks. (Ain't nobody got time for that.) So make life a bit simpler this season and find one dress that can work for everything -- it's all about how you style it from there. 

We've chosen a striped silk dress from J.Crew in a holiday-happy shade of deep red with navy and gold stripes. The color palette is dark enough for winter accessories but the striking pattern makes the dress a standout piece, which is essential. When it comes to dressing for holiday events, the most important thing to remember is to -- surprise! -- be festive. It's cold outside, people are kissing each other under mistletoe and eating a few too many cookies — 'tis the season to have a bit of fun with what you wear, no matter the event. 

OFFICE PARTY

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1. Sledge Patent Leather Platform Heels, $345, available at L.K. Bennett; 2. Combined Office City Bag, $79.90, available at Zara; 3. Basket Pave Studs, $68, available at Kate Spade New York; 4. Collection Chevron Stripe Silk-Pleated Dress, $495, available at J.Crew; 5. Wool Mohair Coat, $350, available at Cos.

Company holiday parties are often held after work, so your outfit needs to be as office-friendly as your workplace requires. I like to ascribe to the notion of "dress for the job you want," so this look is for all the boss ladies out there. Key elements of a taking care of business look include patent pumps (Kate Middleton's favorites), a long blazer-style coat and a roomy structured handbag. Pendant earrings are the final shiny touch. Just don't drink too much and you'll be ready to chitchat with even the most bizarre of co-workers. 

FAMILY DINNER

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1. Repetto Leather Bow Ballet Flats, $210, available at Saks Fifth Avenue; 2. Claire V. Margot Flat Clutch, $198, available at Piperlime; 3. Personalized G.I. Dog Tag, $150, available at Baublebar; 4. Collection Chevron Stripe Silk-Pleated Dress, $495, available at J.Crew; 5. Wool Coat, $150, available at Zara.

Big family meals during the holidays are stressful, so there's no reason to wear uncomfortable clothes as you get grilled about your single life and dubious career choices. Opt for easy ballet flats and a cozy coat in light colors that are bright and uplifting, even if the weather is not. A graphic clutch is also a good conversation starter (or deviator) if thing's get weird with that recently divorced aunt. Top it off with a sentimental piece like a personalized necklace. 

COCKTAIL PARTY

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1. Gianvito Rossi Metallic Leather Pumps, $760, available at Net-a-Porter; 2. Shay Crying Eye Earrings, $410, available at Shopbop; 3. Collection Chevron Stripe Silk-Pleated Dress, $495, available at J.Crew; 4. Faux Leather Biker Jacket, $110, available at Topshop; 5. Benedetta Bruzziches Palladium Cloud Clutch, $1,448, available at Shop Super Street.

People, this is your time to get creative and take festive holiday dressing into uncharted waters. The cocktail parties of my mind have free flowing egg nog and Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on non-stop repeat, so dress accordingly. The subtle sheen to this dress makes it perfect for combining with metallics like these flirty silver pumps. A quirky clutch in the shape of a cloud (get it, like the weather?) will be your evening buddy alongside equally wacky chandelier eyeball earrings. Drape a navy moto jacket over your shoulders and it's go time. 

BLACK TIE EVENT

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1. Large Stud Earrings, $850, available at Jennifer Fisher; 2. Diamond Owl Ring, $9,000, available at Maiyet; 3. Zagliani Python Bon Bon Clutch, $1,350, available at Barneys; 4. Collection Chevron Stripe Silk-Pleated Dress, $495, available at J.Crew; 5. Faux Bear Fur Stole, $50, available at Topshop; 6. Alaia Embellished suede boots, $3,470, available at Net-a-Porter.

So you've been invited to a charity gala. Or a debutante ball. Or you have relatives who take their family reunions really seriously. Boost the elegance of this dress with statement heels, like these embellished suede boots. Yes, I know you have concerns about combining the graphic patterns but the metallic patterns charmingly complement each other and since the dress is knee length, there is space to showcase such impressive footwear. Simple yet stunning jewelry and a muted luxe clutch are all the accessories you need. And, of course, a faux fur stole.