Shop in your own closet for party clothes.

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Myth 2: If presents don't put you in debt, buying party clothes will
To look great at this season's countless special events, all you need to do is shop your closet, says Lloyd Boston, contributor to NBC's Today and author of the new book Before You Put That On: 365 Daily Style Tips for Her.

Start by wearing one color from head to toe for a chic, slimming look. "Stylists do this all the time," he says, "because it's a great way to use what you already have." To pull it off properly, Boston suggests a fitted black turtleneck and black trousers, winter white pants with your best white blouse, or a sweater set and skirt in an unexpected shade like pink, yellow, or coral ("sets you apart from Santa's helpers"). Look for anything that has a subtle shine, such as light-catching leather, suede, or matte satin.

For accessories, skip the miniature Christmas tree brooch and instead aim for simplicity: diamond studs, elegant pearls—real or fake—or three stacked bracelets on one arm with your shirt cuffs rolled up. "You might feel underdressed at first, but the look has a modern edge," says Boston. If you do want to buy something festive, try vintage stores for an inexpensive beaded bag or a fabulous pair of earrings. "Mix things up," advises Boston, "and trust your taste—that's what separates stylish women."
— Cindy M. del Rosario Tapan