Classic Style

Gifts for a Girlfriend.

By: Jen Shoop

After last week’s reader Q+A, I received a flurry of follow up requests but one jumped out at me as worthy of its own post: the best gifts to give a girlfriend.

After feeling frustrated by the gift round-ups I’d seen online (no but who really buys those things for friends?), I wrote a long post on gifts I’d actually give for Christmas last winter, and I’d still stand by every item on that list as a good starting point for those of us who want to keep the price tag under $150 (often, under $100 and even under $50).

I’d add a couple of new discoveries to this list, though — almost all of them $100 or less:

+I love to give friends my favorite beauty products. I can be borderline evangelical about the things I love that work well for me and I want all my cronies to get in on the action.  This year, my favorite new beauty finds that will probably find their way into the hands of loved ones at upcoming celebrations are: Ole Henriksen’s truth serum ($48) and LaNeige’s Water Sleeping Mask ($25 — a new discovery and I’m INTO IT).  I haven’t yet tried Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask ($48), but people have been going bananas over it and it might also be a solid pick for a friend who follows the beauty circuit closely.  (Ahem, my sister Eleanor.)

+Zojirushi thermos ($28).  These are THE ABSOLUTE BEST thermoses for coffee.  They keep your beverages piping hot all day and are a dream to drink out of (I like the design of the lip).  I love to give really high-quality everyday products like these to friends.  (Check the reviews!)

+Scout foldable travel bag ($40).  I can’t stop talking about this bag for travel.  It weighs nothing, packs up into a small square, and has come into heavy use on every occasion I’ve used it, whether standing in as a laundry bag, toting beach gear, or serving as extra packing space when we’ve bought too much on the trip.

+An Everlane cashmere sweater ($100).  I’m sorry if you’re tired of hearing about this, but I can’t get over the price for the quality, and I love the colors.  Plus — who wouldn’t love opening a box with a plush cashmere sweater inside?!

+J. Crew dreamy joggers ($69.50).  Guys.  Guys.  Guys.  These are magic.  I never want to take them off.  They are super soft and, though I love J. Crew’s dreamy pants as well, I like that these are cuffed and not dragging on the ground.  Also: they have pockets, which prove startlingly helpful for schlepping my phone around while I’m carrying mini, a glass of water, etc.

+A pair of Nicola Bathie earrings (<<on sale for $82).  I love this under-the-radar jewelry designer and think her earrings (they made my roundup of my favorite things I bought in 2018!) would make the perfect gift for a fashionista friend.

+I’ve given a few friends Smythson notebooks for various milestone occasions, like this one for engagements (<< on sale for $56!) and this one ($75) for pregnancies.  They are luxurious and highly useful for those of us who are listmakers — plus, a little splurge-y something that we probably wouldn’t buy ourselves.  In a similar vein, I love the idea of monogramming this passport wallet ($95 with monogram — be sure to sign up for emails to score 10% off) for a frequent traveler.

+A little over the $100 target range, but my favorite straw box clutch from the one and only Pam Munson (<< read my interview with her here!) just went on sale for $132.  I absolutely adore this clutch and think it would make the perfect gift for gal with feminine, preppy style.

+An engraved gold bangle.  I love the elegant cursive they use!  I can imagine engraving a term of endearment/nickname on one of these for one of my sisters.  I actually just now convinced myself I need to order one with mini’s name on it!  (Also — this would be a wonderful gift for a little gal or guy celebrating First Communion.)

+A monogrammed jewelry round.  My mom gave me one of these years ago (I believe from Leontine Linens) and I still use it to this day.  These are the kinds of things that surprise you with their utility — oh, so nice to have a place to stow my pearl earrings at night!  Or, now I don’t need to throw my jewelry in a plastic bag when I travel.

+The perfect card for any occasion, plus stately gift tags.  Also love these.

What other gifts do you have in mind for your loved ones?  Recommendations?

P.S.  If your friend is fashion-forward, you might pick something from here or here.  And if you’re looking for a teen, check out the suggestions here — including the excellent reader comments!

P.P.S.  Cherished the comments on this post.  I want to give each of you a big fat hug.

P.P.P.S.  One of my favorite posts on language and words that have moved me.


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10 thoughts on “Gifts for a Girlfriend.

  1. Bookmarking this list for the holiday season! So many good ideas here.

    I just received a bottle of Truth Serum in a gift bag — going to start it tomorrow morning! Excited to try it out. 🙂

  2. I love my zojirushi! Insane how light it is compared to the other insulators (ahem, hydroflask). To the moms w temperature-particular babies: it is also great for keeping water warm on flights/train rides.
    I love giving roller rabbit mom & mes to friends w kiddos, and throwbacks to old friends (just tracked down a boathouse jacket for one!). And the Smythson notebooks are so lovely (albeit $$$ for the larger sizes).

    1. Yes to the effusive review of Zojirushi! It’s simply the best. Hadn’t thought about using it for warm water for bottles, but that is BRILLIANT.

      RRR mommy + mes = so luxe and perfect. It’s the kind of thing I bought for myself back when mini was first born and now I’m like, “Ehhhhhh, this would be a good gift for me AHEM AHEM.” Ha. xoxo

  3. I always love a good gift list, and this one has some fantastic new-to-me ideas! I generally like buying consumables or experiences – so fancy bottles of liquor, gift certificates to local spas, or tickets/memberships to events/museums are my go-tos right now. Still one of my most-favorite presents was a membership to a museum in a city I had just moved to – it forced me to get out of the house and explore!

    1. Jennifer! Museum membership = brilliant. Totally one of those items you can debate yourself out of splurging on, but once you have it, you actually use it! I’ve found this to be true with the zoo in Central Park. I go all the time with mini now that it’s “free” (ha, oh the mental illogic we trick ourselves into with these kinds of subscriptions…) Anyway, what a thoughtful gift. Will add this to my mental ticklist of potential gifts for friends. xoxo

  4. On I love these lists! You are so good! My NUMBER ONE gift is a heated mattress pad cover. OMG! There is no greater luxury than climbing into a nice warm bed in the middle of winter. I can’t wait for winter. It is THAT good! Best investment EVER. Great for older parents too as they are always cold.
    For the chef, I love to give herb scissors.
    They are a great gift for many occasions, because no one likes cutting fresh herbs!

    1. OMG a heated mattress cover?! I didn’t know such an indulgence existed but I’m dying. I have a weird thing where I am usually freezing when I go to bed — like layer up in socks and a sweatshirt — and then dying of heat in the middle of the night and wanting the room to be cool. I like the idea that I could turn this on for bedtime and turn it off before I fall asleep. Great idea!! Herb scissors are a magical idea. Adding those to Mr. Magpie’s stocking 🙂


  5. LOVE these!
    My go to gifts for my ladies are:
    – A Shit That I Knit Hat (The Motely is my favorite) – Christina (the founder) is based in Boston and her hats are knit by women in Peru, she also has a program with Dana Farber giving knitting kits to young people with Cancer. She also has really cute hats for little ones – perfect for a Mommy and me situation.
    – Cuyana Travel Cases – so cute and always fun to give something personalized 🙂

    1. These are great!!! Thanks for the links. I have given those Cuyana cases to a bunch of friends/loved ones — you’re right, so luxe and chic. Hadn’t heard of those hats but I LOVE them. xoxo

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