TW Magazines header

The Perfect Present

Issue: Dec '12 TW11

If the thought of buying Christmas gifts for your nearest and dearest brings you out in a cold sweat, try these tips to find the perfect present.

Contrary to popular opinion, most women are actually very easy to buy for, just remember to pitch the present to her personality. Cosmetic companies have all kinds of beauty sets ready packaged for Christmas. Body products are great if you know which type and brand she likes, but avoid packages like the grouping of lip glosses, eyeshadows and blushers – women have so many different skin tones, eye and hair colours that these sets always contain lots of products that won’t be used.

Instead opt for good quality make-up brushes, which can mean the difference between passable and spectacular make-up application. Try a brand like Bobbi Brown. Sets of nail polish are another good option. A one-to-one makeup lesson is a great present for a teenager who wants to experiment with different looks.
What any tired, stressed mum needs is a bit of TLC and ‘me-time’ so a voucher for treatments at a local spa is a fail-safe winner – especially if you offer to provide the childcare! Or a gift voucher for some expert advice from an image consultant or personal shopper can be a lovely idea if she always says that she hasn’t got ‘a thing to wear’ in her wardrobe.

Clothes buying can be tricky unless you have a very good idea what they might like and be careful about your colour choice – check through their wardrobe beforehand to get an idea of what kind of colours they like wearing. But if that’s not possible – as a very general rule, fair-haired people with muted skintones will suit softer, more pastel tones while those who have deeper and bolder colouring can take the brighter,
dense colours.
A luxurious pashmina scarf is usually a safe bet. Or a gift voucher for her favourite clothes shop.
Lingerie is the hardest gift of all to get right. Buy it too small and it never gets worn. Buy it too big and she’ll be paranoid you think she’s fat. If you want to buy underwear, check out the labels on at least three different sets of lingerie she already owns as sizes differ dramatically. Stick to neutral colours like white, cream, black or ‘pretty’ colours like blue or pink. Avoid red at all costs – it suits very few skin types.

Jewellery can be bought in a variety of price ranges, which makes it a good gift no matter what the budget. A wrap bracelet, a stack of bangles, or several necklaces that can be layered together are all good options for fashion-forward women. Check whether they wear yellow or white based metals before buying though, if in doubt look at a reasonably-priced brand such as Stella and Dot whose stylists are trained to help you find the perfect piece.
If all else fails, and no matter what you’ve done wrong this year, try these guaranteed successes:
• an iconic handbag (the Mulberry Alexa it-bag for example) is guaranteed to get you in the good books!
• Ditto a box with the word Tiffany’s on it.
• A Smythson diary, iPad or iPhone covers. Nile blue is the signature brand colour.
• A magazine voucher – eg InStyle or Vogue for the fashionistas
• Mr and Mrs Smith hotels e-voucher. This is one for the seriously last-minute panic shopper, since you can buy it online on Christmas Day and have the email sent to
her immediately!