The Gent's Guide to Wearable Gifts, Part 1
This week’s column on buying wearable gifts for your lady was suggested by my housemate, the lovely BN, and she contributed most of the ideas in it as well—I’m just using my where-to-buy savvy to resource-link her good advice!
If you are a gentleman (or a lifelong butch who finds the ways of femmes baffling), you may feel unsure about how to shop for your lady. You want to give your lady friend gifts she can wear, but you don’t want to offend her or freak her out. There are so many pitfalls when buying clothes, shoes, or jewelry as gifts—you have likely heard some horror stories involving lingerie and tears. BN says: "Walking towards Victoria's Secret? Stop. Turn around. Walk away quickly." Cause you don't really want your girlfriend to look like a hooker dressed for court.
As it happens, BN’s partner is both a generous and unusually thoughtful gift-giver who has navigated the surprise gift waters with success multiple times. I often see her wearing something lovely and entirely perfect for her and ask where she got it, and am informed that “JQ got it for me!” But BN, like me and most ladies, has also had the experience of receiving something utterly, horribly wrong.
Here is the thing about buying things to wear for your lady: there is a very important distinction between validating her personal style, which says you love her for who she is, and trying to change or control her physical appearance, which says she is an object you want to control (and currently find defective). If that sounds like an impossibly dangerous minefield to navigate, and you can’t imagine it being worth it to parse out so many complex issues just to buy your girlfriend a nightgown, well, that’s fair enough. But I offer this notion: when you get it right, it’s a huge Easter egg for your relationship, and it will delight your lady like almost nothing else.
So if you would like to give the wearable gift-giving a whirl, here are some tips.
First, does your lady care about things? Some people are totally not object-oriented; some women choose their clothes strictly for functionality, hate to shop, and find fashion boring. If she doesn’t wear jewelry because she’s always welding, you will win no points with a bangle bracelet. If she’s experience-oriented, better to surprise her with tickets to a concert, a spa treatment, or a weekend at a B&B.
But if your lady likes things to wear and has as many as she can afford, the right wearable gift will be welcome.
So go look in her closet. (We’re assuming here that you are buying a gift for a lady you’ve had sex with and whose home you share or frequent, because buying a non-transient gift for a person you haven’t yet had sex with is actually inappropriate and creepy. Flowers, opera tickets, and candy are fine though.)
Grab a notebook and pen and see: what has she gots in her closettses?
Color: Is everything black? Then you’d better buy her black clothes, even if you think “She looks great in pink” and “I’d love to see her in brighter colors.” If she’s got lots of colors, are they mostly red, mostly blue, or mostly brown? (No woman has “mostly yellow” or “mostly orange,” and very few have lots of green or purple). Are they dark shades of the color or light?
Pattern: Is everything solid-colored, or are there some patterns? Small patterns or large? Flowers, paisley, or abstract? If she hasn’t worn plaid before, she’s not going to wear it because you give her something plaid. (Unless it’s part of a negotiated schoolgirl role-play scene, which is a different business—we’ll get to that later.)