Day-to-Night Holiday Style: Put your Party Clothes to Work

She likes to carry a metallic shoulder bag that fits folders -- and the Katherine Kwei patent-leather fringe clutch bag that she'd take out once the sun goes down.

Other accessories for the workday outfit include pearl earrings, a brass-and-glass vintage ring and a pair of pewter-colored, patent-leather Chanel pumps that were a recent birthday gift to herself. For makeup, the most important item was a brownish-pink shade of Cle de Peau Beaute lipstick.

It took less than five minutes for Haus then to change into a silver-sequin tank top, a Trish McEvoy fire-engine red lipstick, a 1920s-style headband, a velvet cuff bracelet and dangling earrings.

"They're costume but they look antique," Haus says of her earrings. "They cost probably $30 but when something has an antique or vintage look, you cant tell how much they cost."

Her pricey Chanel shoes also proved their worth: She didn't have to change them when she switched her other accessories.

Although she is vice president of design for Banana Republic, which has steadily expanded its special occasion department, Alessandra Brunialti prefers to be in jeans and a cashmere sweater.

The key piece for her holiday season outfit that's stylish, practical and appropriate for many occasions is a T-shirt dress with puff sleeves in teal-colored satin. At $148, it seems a reasonable investment for a versatile item.

"It has to be comfortable. You have to live with it all day long," she says.

For day, Brunialti pairs the dress with a cream-colored cashmere cardigan, brown knit tights and chunky brown sandals. (You can forget the no-hosiery-with-sandals rule if the tights are textured and funky and you work in a creative industry, she says.)

"Brown and cream are neutrals. They're great for day. The satin adds a little jazz but not too much," she explains. "And brown is more fun than black. It's more unexpected."

The teal also provides pop but it's not flashy like a bright red, she says, and black satin seems very dressy. A deep purple or a black-and-white graphic print are also options for an all-day dress, she advises.

Platinum-colored strappy sandals, black tights and a black satin trench coat make for an easy transformation for a party or charity event.

The coat also has bracelet-length sleeves, a match for the seasonal trend of long leather gloves. "You can do a shorter sleeve on a coat for evening because you expect to be getting in and out of a car," she says.

But don't look for her necessarily to pile on the bracelets -- or any other jewelry. "For me, this is as glitzy as it gets."

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