How to buy gifts for the special woman in your life…
Buying a present for a girlfriend or wife can be a nerve-wracking experience for many men. Our lady loves tend to be more discerning when it comes to life’s little luxuries. Often, rather than risking getting it wrong, gents go for safe or boring options, hoping to be saved by the “it’s the thought that counts” fallback. But, with a little smarts and daring, you can show her how well you know her and how much you care next birthday/Valentine’s/Christmas/anniversary.
1. First, Some Don’ts
A box of Cadbury Roses? A mid-range Chardonnay? As stand-alone gifts, these are great—for your mum or aunty. For that special woman in your life, they simply scream that you forgot and stopped in at the Liquorland on the way home. Other things to strike from your list: home-care items (no woman wants an iron as a present); gift cards or cash (you may as well write “I couldn’t be bothered” on the birthday card); presents that are actually for you (“Sure, you’ll learn to love Grand Theft Auto — we can play it together!”).
Many men barely know their own sizes, let alone that of their significant other. No surprises then that they baulk at buying clothing for her. But it can be done and if you get it right, you’ll truly impress her. The best approach is to take a bit of time to study your missus’s wardrobe. Take note of sizes, favoured styles, colours and patterns, and her preferred designers. Hit a boutique and enlist the help of a sales assistant. Believe us, they’ll be totally invested in helping you out. Show your retail helper some photos of your beloved to help her gauge things like fit, shape and skin tone. Don’t buy what you’d like her to wear but instead item(s) that she’ll like based on her previous preferences. While you might think a catsuit is just what she needs, her wardrobe tells you she prefers floral dresses. As thorough as you’re being, do check the store’s return policy and keep the receipt. Bonus: if you can successfully buy her a pair of designer shoes in her size and style, you’ll own her heart forever.
By checking her collection over, you should get a strong idea of what she likes. Silver or gold? Chunky or elegant? Tribal or conservative? Does she prefer statement rings or slender bands? Emeralds or rubies? Studs or hoop earrings? Again, take notes and even photos before you hit the jeweler. What you don’t want to do is duplicate pieces she already owns. Instead, use her style as a springboard for an original purchase that’ll dazzle her—and remind her of you every time she puts it on.
4. Cosmetics & Fragrances
Ladies love the lotions and potions. Again, this is a matter for a little research and her bathroom cabinets and drawers should provide an ample guide to preferred brands and what’s running low. A classy fragrance—perhaps branching out within her favourite brand from her daily go-to—is a sure-fire winner. Same goes fro quality lipsticks, concealers, foundations, moisturisers and body lotions.
5. Spa Treatment
Here’s where you can give a gift gard. There’s not a woman alive who doesn’t love a spa and these destinations offer menus of treatments that you can buy a la carte for the gift card. While it might be tempting to go the his-and-hers route, resist this and make it all about her. Say you’ll drop her off and take her to lunch afterwards as part of the present. That said, do check the expiry, any additional costs and/or exclusions that apply to the gift card. Because she’s unlikely to take the spa on her birthday/Christmas/the anniversary etc, you want to a) make a little show of the card’s presentation, whether in a gift-wrapping or inside a card and b) buy a small supplementary gift so she feels like she’s getting something on the day – this is where your chocolates or wine could come in.
6. Bespoke Personal
If you’ve an artistic bent, you could always make her something — an etching goes a long way. But even those who can’t manage a stick figure can get some photos of you two together professionally printed and nicely framed. Other options include: printing a digital collage from photos you’ve selected; using a service that’ll track down a physical copy of a newspaper from the day she was born; or a modern-day USB mix-tape (such as milktape.com) which allows you to present an old-school cassette of favourite tunes with the convenience of digital plug-and-play).
7. Wrap It Up
Presentation of your present counts. If you’re a wiz with wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, then great. If not, get your gift wrapped in store.
8. Present It With Flowers
No matter what you give her, add a bunch of fresh-cut flowers. It’s $20 or $30 well spent and will have her oohing-and-aaahing before she even opens the main present.