Ah, the mid-December scramble. Grocery stores are selling out of sparkly white sprinkles, UPS shipping deadlines are looming, and the only wrapping paper left at every CVS for three miles is Looney Tunes-themed. You still need to track down gluten- and sugar-free Christmas cookies for your brother’s picky-eater girlfriend (ugh, why did she have to go Paleo now?!), and have yet to touch that stack of handmade cards you bought with such intention one month ago. And, no, of course you don’t have outfits for those 3894784782 parties next week.
Fortunately, we do—and you don’t need to buy more than one perfect red dress to make them all work. Keep scrolling to see and shop the one ($35!) hero piece that will save you at least 25-percent less stress this holiday season (because, family gatherings), and three distinctly different ways to wear it.
1. Conservative but Cool
When the occasion calls for playing it safe, like a get-together at your boss's house, or eating with your significant other’s parents, think WWKMD? (What Would Kate Middleton Do, obviously.) Surely the queen (or, ahem, The Duchess) of tasteful chic would advise adding a regal jewel-toned coat with a fit-and-flare silhouette. To keep the look festive, finish with plush accents in faux fur and velvet.
2. Day to Night
Oh hey, you busy girl with your afternoon gift exchanges and separate drink-and-dinner plans—please slow down long enough to get your hands on a pair of sleek over-the-knee boots and a cozy leopard overcoat. While both are just casual enough to dress down a floaty shift, the mix still feels ready for night.
3. A Date With 2017
Remember what happened to the last shiny disco ball outfit you spontaneously bought just for New Year's Eve purposes? If the answer is, quite literally, nothing, avoid the same mistake by repurposing your new favorite crimson number with glamorous add-ons, like a big snuggly stole, metallic pumps, and dangly earrings. Tip: It looks even better with a glass of champagne.
Shop the look: H&M dress, $35; hm.com. Topshop stole, $52; topshop.com. Sophie Buhai earrings, $650; net-a-porter.com. Gucci heels, $795; net-a-porter.com. Loeffler Randall clutch, $250; net-a-porter.com.