What should you give the fashion lovers in your life?

It’s a challenge fraught with danger, because if you give someone a bag or shoes or clothes they don’t like, it will either sit somewhere unworn, or be returned to the store and exchanged. In other words, a waste of time and money for everyone involved.

So how can you increase your odds of a warm reception?

By thinking outside the box. Don’t do the usual. Do the unexpected.

For example:

A Fashion Magazine Subscription – From a Different Country

French VogueThere are plenty of people who read Vogue, W, and Harpers Bazaar religiously. But what about French, Indian, or Brazilian Vogue? Or Numéro? Or Telva? Or Donna Moderna?

Getting a magazine from a different country not only enables the reader to see what fashion is like in other places, it allows her to learn a little about the culture. Or if she grew up in that country and later moved elsewhere, it will help her connect to her roots. Same if her parents or grandparents came from there. It’s also a great way for high school students learning a second language to increase their comprehension of that language, or plan for an upcoming foreign exchange trip.

A Gift Card From A Luxury Store

Nordstrom Gift CardFor as little as $25, you can get a gift card from luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Nordstrom’s that can be used in store or online. Yes, a gift card may seem a little impersonal, but this is one of those little luxuries that EVERYONE loves, because we all like to indulge ourselves when we can. This gives your recipient a perfect excuse to do so.

A Chanel Lipstick

Chanel LipstickEvery woman should own at least one Chanel lipstick. Period. Not only are the colors beautiful and the formula like silk on the lips, there’s a big psychological boost to being able to use “the best of the best” – and it only costs about $30. Add a compact of pressed powder for about $50, and freshening her lipstick after lunch will make your recipient feel like a princess.

Beauty Sampler

Philosophy SamplerIs your recipient into makeup? Perfume? Bubble baths? Skin care? Then head on over to Sephora.com and check out some of their sampler sets. Hair care, perfume, nail polish, lip gloss – your girl will squeal with delight when you give her an assortment of her favorite beauty product.

A Book About A Favorite Designer

Chanel BookDesigner duds may be hard to swing, but a book about her favorite designer probably isn’t. Chanel, Prada, Armani, McQueen – just go to Amazon.com and type in her preferred fashion house. You’ll find lots of titles to choose from, as well as books that feature dozens of designers instead of just one. Another great option? Books about fashion history, like Fashion: 150 Years of Couturiers, Designers, and Labels by Charlotte Seeling.

See how easy this is?

With just a little imagination, you can come up with fashion gifts for any budget that draw gasps of excitement instead of sighs of disappointment. Don’t try to buy clothing or accessories that might be hit or miss; instead give them other, fashion-related items that surprise, delight, and educate.

Happy Holidays!

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