Last week, I was on a mission: find the perfect holiday dress to wear to both office functions and friends' late-night gatherings. After gingerly testing the waters of sequined options (too showgirl), I emerged with not one, but two dresses in my newfound favorite color combo: black and gold.

For me, the appeal lies in the the feeling of festiveness without all the flash. Classic, can-do-no-wrong black laced with gleaming threads or a gold belt added here and a bangle there is elegant perfection in my mind.

Cue Hilary Swank. At the Hollywood premiere of her new film P.S. I Love You, the actress accessorized her lush gown with a simple gold cincher, golden-toned pearl drop earrings and an artfully geometric bracelet in 18-karat gold with rose-cut diamonds by Bochic.

If I needed a third holiday dress and happened to have a few grand to drop, I know who I'd turn to for style tips.

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