The Chic List: ‘Tis the season to… ace your gift giving
Good gift pickers are as rare as a smile from Prince Harry. Oh, spare me another awful present!
I can count on one hand the great gifts I have received in my lifetime – other than when I send my husband a ‘helpful’ web link, or physically drag him to a shop and point. Because, let’s be honest, unless you tell them very clearly, in a very direct way, most men don’t have a clue what our heart truly desires.
When you first start dating, boyfriends always buy lingerie. We do not want lingerie. Ever. Because it’s blindingly obvious that lingerie is not for us – it’s for them. Call me a pragmatist, or unromantic, but I want to be able to use or wear my gift in public.
A favourite November combo – silky satin and cowboy boots. jumper and skirt, Max mara Leisure. Boots, Khaite
One of the worst presents I ever received was from an ex boyfriend who proudly presented me with a black top with feathers on. And then stood back waiting for applause. The fact that I had been wearing the exact same one in his company for months had managed to completely elude him.
Because I have been on the receiving end of many bad gifts – my husband and mother say I’m impossible to buy for – I’m now determined to become a good gift giver. Here are my five golden rules…
I can count on one hand the great presents I’ve had in my life
1 Resist the allure of a scented candle. I love candles, especially at this time of year. But what does a candle really say? It says I have no clue what to buy you, so here’s a candle. Also, candles are like perfume – a scent that’s heavenly to one person is a turn-off to another.
2 To find a good gift for someone, you have to spend time studying them – what kind of clothes they wear, their home interiors, the things they enjoy doing are all important clues. But remember, gifts are meant to be a treat, not a repeat. So if someone enjoys running, do not buy them a water bottle. Why? Because they’ll have one already.
3 Giving an experience – a ticket to an art exhibition or a new show or play – is often a better option than yet more stuff for the recipient to accumulate. And if you’re clever, you’ll buy two tickets so you can spend time with them, too.
4 For extended families, Secret Santa with a set budget is a great way of making gifting a fun, stress-free experience. And you’ll only have to buy one present, not six.
5 Store up gift ideas in your head as the year goes on. If you see something online or in a magazine, make a note – or just buy and keep in a drawer. Follow me on Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe
The personal effects of author and style icon Joan Didion, who died last year, were auctioned this week and her fans had the chance to bid on her belongings, including typewriters, pink teacups, books, shells and a novelty apron. What item did I fancy? Her Celine sunnies (below; at time of going to press bids were up to $3,500). Imagine the bragging potential: ‘Oh, these? They belonged to Joan Didion’
Make unattractive cards a thing of the past with a subscription to clever entrepreneurs thecardboys.com. For £24 every three months, you’ll be sent a set of eight beautiful cards (just £3 each) all hand designed by a selection of cool young artists.
FOUR-SEASON SANDALS, ANYONE?
Who said Birkenstocks are just for summer? I’ll be slipping my feet into these for a furry fun pairing with jeans, dresses or leather trousers this winter. Sandals, £170, Birkenstock, office.co.uk