Solved! What ‘impossible to buy for’ women want: FEMAIL reveals the select items any fashion-lover would be thrilled to receive this Christmas
- Shane Watson says it can be hard to buy gift for women who mind about fashion
- However there are select items any fashion-lover would be thrilled to own
- UK-based style expert shares a present list for the fussy fashionista in your life
You know what they say. There are people who are hard to buy presents for and then there are women who mind about fashion.
Yes, we are in a tricky category all of our own. Even if you’ve done your research — checked the size, noticed the labels we like, made a note when we compliment a girlfriend on her clothes — you’re still flying blind because we are so particular and barely know ourselves what we’re going to love, with very few exceptions.
As a rule, I would say forget giving fashion presents, were it not for these few exceptions — a select band of clothes and accessories any fashion-lover would be thrilled to own. And the fact that the satisfaction of getting it right will make your — and our — Christmas Day.
So here it is: the can’t-go-wrong fashion present list for the fussy fashionista in your life. Don’t be tempted to deviate and this could be your best Christmas ever . . .
Pearl and gold earrings
You’re probably thinking, ‘Wasn’t that a thing a couple of years ago?’ And you’d be right. But our fascination with all things pearl and gold, especially misshapen baroque pearls and particularly earrings, has, if anything, accelerated. They are so flattering, go with everything, and after decades in the wilderness, we have a lot of pearl wearing time to catch up on.
The smart bet (because the pearl can be bought separately and matched with different hoops) is Monica Vinader’s baroque pearl charm (£70, monicavinader.com). Otherwise, Mejuri does gold vermeil hoop and pearl earrings (£85, mejuri.com).
A Silk Shirt
We’ve already said don’t be tempted to buy clothes that you think we will love because there’s a very good chance that we won’t. The exception to this rule is the perfect silk shirt.
With Nothing Underneath (WNU) is the company that makes the ultimate man’s shirt for women and it has finally introduced its long-awaited silk collection.
Now the perfect boyfriend shirt comes in onyx (a deep rich black in other words) and pearly white, and it’s a guaranteed see-her-face-light-up bullseye.
A big scarf
Scarf, £69, arket.com
People have strong opinions about the suitability of scarves as presents because they’re on the unadventurous side, but I say who cares? Scarves are instant eye brighteners and can transform plain outfits, bringing them bang up to date. You can’t go wrong with a scarf this year if you keep it big and striking but not gimmicky.
A block colour may seem less fun than the one with the polka dots and the lurex thread, but the plain one is the one we’d rather get. Among the best are Uterque’s big plain scarf in emerald or scarlet (£50, uterque.com); Mango’s blue-fringed scarf (£29.99, mango.com); Massimo Dutti’s big plaid scarf (£69.95, massimodutti.com); and probably the biggest of the lot, the blanket-sized Arket scarf in striking abstract blocks of black and green (£115, arket.com).
My favourite big scarf — shawl-sized and cashmere — comes from Toast in four colours including pumpkin (£155, toa.st).
Pyjama set, £99, mintvelvet.co.uk
It is strange, but there is nothing quite like wearing silk pyjamas, even if you are a strictly M&S knickers and vest type — and I speak from experience. I was lucky enough to be given some Olivia von Halle silk pjs for Christmas several years ago — Olivia being the woman who resurrected this ultimate indulgence well over a decade ago — and I can confirm they are the clothing equivalent of a glass of Dom Perignon drunk in a bubble bath.
They are also almost £500 (£445, net-a-porter.com), but there are alternatives on the High Street. The White Company does a silk piped pyjama set (£189, thewhitecompany.com) and I particularly like its vintage pink and cream striped set, or the short pyjama set in pale grey blue, for those who get hot in bed (£198 and £139, thewhitecompany.com).
Don’t be tempted to stray off message and get pyjamas in brushed cotton. Not the same thing at all.
A (thicker) gold chain
We’re told the layered chains look has passed and it’s all about a thicker gold chain, or two, but it seems that women have taken to gold chains every which way and, whether you’re wearing them one at a time or altogether in a mishmash, no-one is saying ‘no’.
The chain labels that are (still) at the top of every woman’s list are Missoma and Alighieri, although you can pick up decent chains from Arket and Monica Vinader. A glossy finish is fine (solid snake chains are popular to mix in with regular link chains) but beware a cheap-looking glittery chain and don’t go too super fine.
A really luxe sweater
Jumper, £131.25, wrap, £120, and skirt, £110, hopefashion.co.uk
Again , keep it simple and you can’t go far wrong with cashmere. Uniqlo does great cashmere turtlenecks in all the classic colours (£79.90,uniqlo.com) and if you can lay your hands on one of the turtlenecks from their capsule collaboration with Jil Sander (£129.90, uniqlo.com), then you will score extra points for fashion insider knowledge.
British brand Nrby also has a great relaxed V-neck style in three colours — khaki, navy or a lovely heathered pink (£175 nrbyclothing.com), and Marks & Spencer’s relaxed V-neck by Autograph is excellent value (£89, marksandspencer.com).
Bear in mind that a little bit oversized is the way we’re wearing them, with a turtleneck just the right height to wear it standing up and chin grazing. Also, not everyone loves a cardigan.
A gold (or silver) bangle
Bangles, £100 each, mejuri.com
Can you go wrong with jewellery? Gosh yes, unless you head directly to Pippa Small and buy the first thing you see that you can afford (pippasmall.com). Or you could pick up a bangle. The simplicity of a plain bangle guarantees that it will chime with all tastes. (If in doubt, go for gold.)
Bangles never date and what’s more, we are in a bit of a bangle moment. You can get a good 3 mm width gold bangle (£120, tillysveaas.co.uk) or a gold or silver bangle (£100 or £95, mejuri.com). Just make sure they’re rounded and solid, no cuffs or hinges allowed.
Luxury country boots
It is a bit risky buying footwear as a present, but if you can return it and swap the size then why not? There’s something particularly exciting about finding a box of tissue-wrapped shoes or boots under the tree.
Even so, the best bet for presents are those classics that won’t date and that make the mundane aspects of life a lot less ordinary. For desirable, hardwearing all-weather boots that make you feel like an It Girl, you can’t beat Penelope Chilvers.
Her Nelson boot or Oscar boot (£269 and £299, penelopechilvers.com) are hugely popular, but the new khaki Cosmos boot, a shearling-lined moon boot style (£249, penelopechilvers.com) is the one that’s on my wish list.
The double-strap Birkies (Arizona, £115, birkenstock.com) tick a lot of Christmas present boxes. They’re desirable, a luxury and top scoring on the fashion-o-meter, so you can safely get these for the young adults too. I recommend sticking with the mocha brown suede; the tan and other colours don’t deliver the same level of luxury.
Note: these Birkenstocks can double as slippers and though I wouldn’t recommend buying women slippers generally — they’re on the same undesirable spectrum as umbrellas — Penelope Chilvers does some covetable shearling-lined wool or pony cowhide slippers (from £79, penelopechilvers.com).
A Gucci belt
Even if Gucci is not much on your radar (although I’m not sure how, given all of the talk about Lady Gaga’s new film, House Of Gucci), the chances are you’re familiar with the iconic double G buckle on a Gucci belt. If the woman you’re buying for doesn’t wear belts, and never will, then skip straight to the next item. But if belts have been worn, the thing about this belt (£300, net-a-porter.com) is it instantly elevates everything from jeans to jumpsuits.
And because it’s iconic (depending on your age, it conjures images of Studio 54, Jackie O, Kate Moss, and lately celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), this belt will produce a smile or a gasp, or both. It’s special — and so it should be for the money.
Gucci at mytheresa.com
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