Gift Guide for the Classy Women in Your Life

Finding a gift for a woman is a complicated task – and things get even trickier if she happens to have sophisticated tastes. Here’s a selection of great gift ideas –or shall I call it a wishlist?– to inspire you to pick a great present for the women in your life. The best part? They are all quite affordable.

 

CASHMERE SWEATPANTS $140

“Cashmere” and “sweatpants” are two words that only recently have been seen together – with the rise of the athleisure movement and the attempt from retailers to ennoble (or at the very least dignify) garments of modest and humble tradition. You may think that paying over $100 for something with a drawstring is lunacy, but believe me when I say that whoever will receive this gift will hardly be able to stop wearing it. These sweatpants are as comforting as a warm cup of hot chocolate on a winter night, plus they are sustainably made with Mongolian cashmere in one of Everlane’s approved factories in China.

MINI VOTIVE CANDLES $78

Usually I refrain from suggesting any gift “for the home”, as the risk of not meeting the recipient’s taste in high, and they would find themselves in the unpleasant situation of having to dispose of the object by either donating it, throwing it away, or recycling it as a gift for someone else. However, candles are a fairly safe option, especially if they come in a mini size like these Dyptique votive candles: in the unlikely case the person doesn’t appreciate the fragrance, they are gone fairly quickly and don’t leave any bitter feeling of regret or frustration behind.

MARC DE CHAMPAGNE TRUFFLES $22

Chocolate is another great option if you’re unsure about someone’s tastes, because -again- it’s not an object that will perpetually be under someone’s nose, but rather it’s something that can be enjoyed by anyone who walks by. I am a big fan of Charbonnel&Walker’s truffles, which come in a variety of flavors and combinations. Dark chocolate lovers will appreciate the black truffles with Marc de Champagne, while more delicate palates will love the pink chocolate infused with roses.

MINIMALISTIC JEWELRY $29

If you’re confident enough to go down the jewelry route, my suggestion is to take a close look at the person’s style and choice of jewelry and try to choose something that could work with their collection. A giant cocktail ring encrusted with rubies might be cool, but it’s unlikely to work with most women’s collections. Consider instead a pair of miniature gold hoops, which look flattering on most face shapes and complexions, or a minimalistic necklace like this elegant piece by Mejuri in gold vermeil and sapphires.

A CLASSIC, BOYFRIEND-STYLE BUTTON DOWN SHIRT $228

A classic button-down shirt will find a place in almost any wardrobe, especially if you choose a neutral color or a classic pattern. I like Frank&Eileen’s take on the classic button-down, with a slightly more relaxed fit that’s almost menswear-inspired; the pattern matching is surprisingly good too.

OLD STYLE, NATURALLY FLAVORED TOOTHPASTE $36

This great stocking stuffer features one of my favorite Florentine brands, Marvin. I am a fan of their Jasmin mint toothpaste, but I am sure that any American girl will love the cinnamon mint tube. I have given away several tubes throughout the years and I can’t remember anyone who hasn’t come back to ask me where I bought it, because they just need more!

A DESIGNER PILLBOX $39

I am breaking the rule of not giving something with the potential of sitting unused for years to come, for the simple fact that this pillbox is adorable. The shape is incredibly satisfying just to watch, and I can almost feel its weight by imagining to hold it in my hand. Even if it did sit unused, it would just look like a beautiful design object, and I bet it could double as a cool paperweight.

A CASHMERE BERET $198

A beret is essentially the classier version of a beanie. I know the struggle women go through when they need to conciliate their city life with the burning desire to wrap themselves in something that keeps them warm. I succumbed to the chills of winter weather enough times to know that a warm beanie is the last resort, albeit ugly and resembling a woolen condom, to keep my head and ears from developing ice stalactite. A beret is a relatively basic hat – it happens to be in vogue just now – and if you pick carefully (I like this one in white cashmere by Janessa Leone) you will give something that is way more stylish than a beanie, but just as useful.

GIFT CARDS $25 & UP

Contrarily to what seems to be the popular opinion, I am not against gift cards at all. What may seem like a couldn’t-care-less gift might actually be an effort to make sure the person receives something meaningful and useful that doesn’t go unappreciated. In order to keep this sentiment alive, my suggestion is to give a gift card along with the gift of your time to go find this special something. Pick a shop she likes – it could be Sephora, Nordstrom, or Bloomingdale’s – and make sure she knows that you’ll be there to share a fun afternoon of shopping with her.

 

First Class Gifts for the Traveler

There is no place like home for the holidays.

Luckily, the other 360 days a year offer you a whole world to conquer, and we invite you to awaken your wanderlust with these travel treats. This gift guide features our favorite first class gifts: experiences, one of a kind vintage keepsakes, and affordable accessories to outfit you for your next journey. As for the lucky recipient? We think it should be you, the Styleforum reader. Remember, you are required to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist others.


Planes

Experience – Beginning your journey jostled by grumpy travelers is no way to unwind.  There is indisputably a better way to travel by becoming a fractional owner of a luxury fleet of planes. Allow your timetable to be the only one that matters as you skip the lines, sink into plush seats, and jet away to, well, anywhere you want. 

Fractional Jet ownership with Net Jets. Prices vary.

Keepsake – Fine china on an airline? We no longer expect to fly in such style. The halcyon days of flight your first class ticket came with impeccable dining…and drinking. Allow these 1960’s Pan Am glasses to spark conversations about distant destinations and days gone by.

Landing on your living room bar cart for just $120

Accessory – You may not be dodging birds in an open cockpit, but that doesn’t mean you should live your life without these aviator glasses. Equally at home on the sands of Caracas and the driver’s seat of a coupe, we give our nod to the origins of the aviator glasses by suggesting that you sport them for your next flight. 

Oliver Peoples, $425


Trains

planes trains and automobiles gifts to keep you moving styleforum holiday gift guide first class gifts

Experience – Murder and mayhem may have graced the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, but in real life the Orient Express offers pampering with panache. The train from Paris to Istanbul runs only once a year. You should be on it. Five days and two continents offer a once in a lifetime luxury rail trip.

Starts at $12,250

Keepsake – While we are on the subjects of icons, may we pitch the posh 19th C. French Steamer trunk? Ages ago it kept an entire wardrobe. Today it brings the romance of the rails into our everyday lives. Great for travel (provided you have porters), storage, or a one-of-a-kind coffee table. Or perhaps all three.

Available on 1stdibs, $5,625

Accessory – Exotic architecture, fine wine, and bartering with local vendors; it all may fly by like the blur of the countryside beyond your authentic 1920’s art deco cabin window. Jot down notes to jog your memory in a Field Notes journal dressed in a fine leather cover.

Handcrafted in Vermont by Queen City Dry Goods, $65


Automobiles

Experience – Racing School  There is a certain high-pitched whine that you welcome. Unlike your mother-in law, the sound of these super cars make you thrilled to give up a Sunday. Perfectly tuned for high performance these cars respond to your slightest cue as you let go of the world and grab onto the steering wheel. Choose your favorite super car – or more than one – and give in to G-forces on XRS’s Los Angeles track.

From $299 for 5 laps

Keepsake – Amidst a flurry of accolades, the 1974 Series III Jaguar E Type roadster convertible earned its highest praise from competitor Enzo Ferrari, who called it “The most beautiful car ever made.” This example in British racing green is unrestored, which offers you the gift of bringing an icon back to glory. 

For sale at auction on Jan. 6th, 2017. Be prepared to break into the seven digits.

Accessory – Unnecessary? Possibly. Undesirable? Never. The point of accessories is to enhance experiences. Anything that offers both comfort and control can cap off our holiday list. After all…it is called a glove box for a reason. Italian Leather Driving Gloves by Mark and Graham. May we suggest cognac leather?

Available for $125


Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO.  She does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

5 Gifts That Aren’t Clothing

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Not all of our friends and family members are as obsessed with clothing as we are, and that’s okay. It’s also worth keeping in mind before you go out of you way to buy a pair of 20-ounce Ironhearts for your nephew, or a limited-edition pocket square for your wife (“Wear it as a…scarf?”), here are five gifts idea that anyone – no matte their age, gender, or relationship to you – is sure to enjoy.


La Portegna ” Jimena” Portfolio

My iPad died halfway through The Proper Kit, which means I have to get a new one if I want stay up too late watching YouTube videos in bed again. Since I have a La Portegna briefcase that I adore (disclosure: they sent me one free of charge, and I now use it every single day), I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this. Namely, fantastic leather that actually gets better as it ages (for real – everyone claims this and it’s not always true), and a size perfect for those days when I don’t want to tote around a whole bag. Plus, you can monogram it for the intended recipient. Future iPad, meet your future new best friend.

La Portegna, 215GBP


Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

No one writes anything by hand any more, and that is a filthy shame. I carry two small notebooks with me wherever I go: one for story ideas, one for absurd Deep Thoughts. And I write with pens exclusively – no graphite here. As a middle school science teacher once told me, never erase anything – put a line through it, because you might come back to it later and find some unexpected brilliance. Having a half-decent pen to write with (or a really nice pen to write with), as opposed to the disposable ones we all steal from hotels, makes the experience so much more pleasurable. I’ve never owned an unabashedly nice fountain pen, because I’m probably too scatterbrained to be trusted with anything fancy, but that’s what a wishlist is for. I am mildly obsessed with the design of the Lamy 2000, which is unassuming but (in my eyes) gorgeous; not the heavy gold-and-black cigars that still dominate the world of higher-end fountain pens, but sleek and futuristic. And it’s built for writing – which is, after all, the point.

Amazon, $120


L’Artisan Perfumeur “Al Oudh”

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Al Oudh isn’t the fanciest perfume in the world, nor the most expensive, nor the most fully-packed with exotic ingredients. It is, however, an excellent scent, and for men or women who don’t want a collection in their cabinet there’s a good chance this could become an every day fragrance. It’s more accessible than fancier oud scents, less cloying, and a bit fresher and friendlier to more noses. I’ve been jealously hoarding my tester-sized sample of this fragrance for a while now, and I think it’s time to treat myself to a full bottle. Or rather, for someone else to treat me. ‘Tis the season.

L’Artisan Perfumeur, $145


Jaybird X3

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I scored a pair of Jaybirds on Amazon over the summer, and they have changed my life. That sounds like exaggeration but it’s not – I’m not an audiophile, but I do listen to music 12 hours a day, whether I’m sitting at my desk or exercising. These are great for both – they’re comfortable enough to wear for long periods, the battery life is great, and when you do go for a run they actually stay in your ears. Plus, the sound quality is pretty darn good. So far, mine have been one of the best purchases I’ve made all year.

Best Buy, $130


Pyrrha Stag Ring

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I am a sucker for all things symbolic, and doubly so for vaguely heraldic imagery. Pyrrha has been making wax-seal silver jewelry for over a decade now, and has inspired legions of other brands. They’re rough-hewn, cast from Victorian-era wax seals, and – I think – quite beautiful. I also have a thing for stags, generally; horned gods being both classic and timeless and beautifully foreboding.

For women, there are a host of beautiful necklaces, rings, and bracelets, which means that whoever you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find something that will speak to them. Pro tip: searching for “wax seal rings” on Etsy will show you plenty of other options, but since they go quickly and are variable in size, Pyrrha is a good stop for consistency.

Pyrrha, $380