When you're looking to give a lady a gift she'll love, a little pure pampering is never a bad idea. Try show-stopping dazzle, alluring aromatics, cozy extras and chic little treats. We've put together some ideas for the best surprises of the season.
All that glitters: Jewelry
Bringing on the bling is a pretty sure-fire way to please most women on your gift list and there's a huge array of sparklers in the marketplace to choose from. If she's the least bit trendy you'll likely want to go with something big and bold—but that doesn't necessarily mean spendy. More affordable costume jewelry is totally hip now, so look for long multi-layered necklaces, Boho-style drop earrings, crystal-encrusted pins, and—if you happen to know her size—Lucite bangles and large vintage-style cocktail rings.
If she skews more ladylike, there's nothing more sublime than the soft glow of pearls. Dove gray varieties are especially chic, and black pearls are always exotic, so think about going beyond classic white. And again, if you aren’t sure of her exact size, a matched pearl earrings and necklace set is pretty much foolproof.
While it's debatable whether or not diamonds are a girl's best friend, faux-diamonds are great pals of savvy gift givers. The quality of these pretty pretenders have hit new heights and are virtually indistinguishable from the real deal. Look for everything from fun fashion pieces coated with crystals, to high-end designer pieces that enhance cubic zirconia with fine gold or platinum-enrobed settings.
Warming trend: Knit goods
Giving her something soft and warm for the holidays is kind of a no-brainer. After all, it's typically cold outside—and yes, we've even heard tell of chilly winter nights in Arizona and Florida. Scarves spring to mind and they just happen to be totally on-trend as well as perfectly practical. The more texture the better—ruffles, fringe, cable-knit, nubby—it all adds up to affordable luxe. Cashmere is less expensive than you'd expect, and mohair, silk, and wool blends all do snug duty, too. The newest twist is the infinity loop (or tube scarf), which is a super-soft example of cutting-edge fashion.
Want to go bigger? Cushy capes, ruanas and wraps are showing up everywhere and offer more coverage. Smaller? Knit gloves and mittens are always appropriate and well-used gifts. Hats can either look "hipster" or classic, while our favorite newest warming trend is the earmuff. They're totally cute in faux-fur, plaid knit and even a little fun-loving sparkle.
If you've got her stats at hand, seek out a sweater. They're trending as one of the most popular presents this season. If you want to score the hottest variety, consider a cardigan. It's the most versatile knit top—sleekly buttoned up or unbuttoned and used as a stylishly toasty layer. Deep jewel tones are the most universally flattering color choice.
All together now: Gift sets
When you can't decide on one gift, why not give her many? The easiest way to do this is by wrapping up a gift set. Think of these as elegant goodie boxes for grown-ups. We love the sheer sensory kick of a bath and body collection. There’s a reason why it's a perennial present fave—the unabashed indulgence. Look for kits that contain both cleansing and moisturizing products, plus fun little extras like brushes, candles, even inflatable bath pillows.
Don't know her favorite perfume? Fragrance samplers offer an assemblage of aromas to play with, some packaged in small sample tubes, while other kits reproduce full size bottle designs in mini replicas. If you know her signature scent, expand her repertoire with a collection of bath gel, body lotion, powder, and purse-size eau de cologne in that aroma.
Give her the gift of glam with an array of color and shine. A makeup set is one of the most gorgeous presents a woman can get, and these treats range from simple trios of saucy lip gloss, all the way up to complete cosmetic collections in multi-tiered, sliding tray palettes featuring every color in the rainbow and rivaling a Trump condo for sheer gutsy glitz.
Small wonders: Leather goods
When you have absolutely no clue about her size or fragrance preference (or honestly, whether she's allergic to one substance or another), the safe, yet elegant, bet for holiday gifts are leather accessories. Even vegan friends can benefit from the higher quality faux-leather goods on the market. In both cases, think about long-lasting, practical presents that they'll really use.
For that reason, wallets remain a classic choice and they're offered in many shapes and sizes, from simple coin purses all the way up to multi-pocketed accordion styles that carry almost as much as a regular purse. Looking for something a little hipper? Check out all the sleek cases made just for those uber-popular handheld electronic devices—cellphones, tablets, eReaders, laptops—whatever gadget she uses, there's a stylish carrier crafted especially for it.
Giving a full-size handbag to a woman is a slightly iffy proposition unless you know her taste, so we recommend taking a look at smaller clutches and more casual mini-bags. Both styles are wardrobe staples, but are more of an accessory and less of an everyday necessity. Satin, beading, sequins and shiny stones are all hot decorative trends on clutches and evening bags, while a sort of utilitarian combo of canvas and tough buckles makes any messenger bag ultra-cool.
Dream on: Sleepwear
Just thinking about the cozy collection of sleepwear warms us up. We can't imagine a more pampering present, and there are so many varieties to choose from you're sure to bring a smile and a better night's sleep to your favorite femme.
For cushy comfort and a boost of warmth in the winter, nothing beats a fluffy set of flannel pajamas. Go for brightly printed pairs for the extrovert, or solid rich jewel tones for the more elegant personalities on your gift list. Up a few style notches is the silk pajama. She'll be tempted to keep these on the entire weekend. Of course you'll find cozy flannel and glam silk in nightshirt and gown styles as well, and consider a matching robe to top everything off. And if some silk prices look too high, consider a satin equivalent. Today's blends don't feel cheap or flimsy and can typically be tossed in the washer and dryer for easy laundering.
Slippers aren't technically sleepwear, but they sure feel essential on those cold winter mornings. Soft shearling, luxe faux-fur, absorbent waffle weave cotton, breathable leather—there's a pair out there to warm up the frostiest of feet.
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