Giving the Gift of Fashion: Dos and Don’ts

Although the other 99.9999% of people will be giving out electronics or gift cards this year, I can’t help but give my favorite things:  clothes, accessories and jewelry.  The question is, how do you give something that won’t wind up in the ‘return’ pile?

With a few basic guidelines, I guarantee your gift will be loved instead of grimaced at this holiday season.

Do:

-Stick with an item that can’t be “the wrong size.” Some great ideas are scarves, gloves (fingerless ones are trendy and can be worn indoors), and long necklaces.  When looking at scarves and gloves, stick with something that isn’t strictly outerwear.  Buy a scarf that is beautiful instead of a chunky, utilitarian knit one.  Choose the long glove that looks like something from a glamorous 1930s movie instead of a box of Isotoners.  If you decide to buy jewelry, a long necklace can’t fail.  There is no chance it will be too tight or uncomfortable, and the item can be worn all year round.

-Try a purse or handbag. The trick here is to select a small, simple bag of good quality.  Go for a small, basic black designer bag over the larger, more flamboyant, cheaper brand.  A Cole Haan clutch will be appreciated as a gift much more than an entire set of hideous Kohl’s luggage.  Just don’t go so small that you wind up buying the key chain.  No one wants a key chain for Xmas.

-Buy handmade for grown-ups only. Let’s face it, anyone under 18 isn’t going to appreciate the uniqueness of a handcrafted item.  I strongly encourage everyone to try handmade items this year.  They are trendy, likely to have value in the future, and can be purchased at a bargain.  Just don’t buy one for your tween-age niece.  Kids of a certain age just want to look like everyone else, literally.  Give the one-of-a-kind items to the mature people who can appreciate them.

-Shop the special edition makeup sets. There are ridiculous deals on makeup sets released for the holidays, and many of them are not only good for almost anyone but also adorable.  A big make-up set in a cool case is to young women what Legos are to first graders:  just fun.  Fun to own, fun to look at, fun to get as a gift.  Grab them up right before Xmas for the best values–these items are meant to move, and make-up doesn’t stay good once unwrapped and put out on the floor of Bath and Body Works.

Don’t:

-Buy anyone a hat.  Ever. It’s a simple fact of probability that most people look goofy in most hats.  Everyone looks good in one, maybe two specific styles of hat.  Unless you know the head of another person intimately, the likelihood of grabbing the right one from a rack at Urban Outfitters is almost nil.  Combine this with low incentive to exchange or return a hat, and what you have is potentially the worst gift of all:  an eyesore that has no place in one’s home or even on one’s chore list.

-Buy pajamas as a gift.  Ever. By ‘pajamas’ I mean the flannel-esque long, patterned pant with drawstring waist and ersatz t-shirt accompaniment.  These are fine for parents to give their children to shut them up on Xmas eve.  As for any other situation, I offer the following three words:  lamest gift ever.

-Buy any holiday-themed garment.  Ever. This is kind of a no-brainer, but I know that somewhere lurks within each frazzled, mall imprisoned mind the kernel of thought that it is acceptable to purchase a garment as a holiday gift because (said garment) is adorned with snowmen, reindeer, Santa, kittens, or some other festive insignia.  No one wants that ugly sweater.  Even your grandma doesn’t want that thing.  She wears them to mock you.  If you find yourself grabbing for one, stop immediately and seek sustenance at the nearest food court.  You need fluids, and possibly fries, STAT.