If you've been giving your high-style lady breakfast-in-bed IOUs for the last few years, you may be in the same boat as millions of men -- the "I have no clue what she'd like" ship of pre-holiday stress and resigned coupon-making.
Not that there's anything wrong with breakfast in bed. And the fashionista who eats, sleeps and breathes fashion, is indeed one of the more difficult women to buy for.
But here's a secret: A girl can really use a new handbag. Among other things. Here, five excellent gifts for the fashionista in your life, whether she's 60 or 23.
Up first -- seriously, she does need a new handbag…
5: Somewhat Safe: It Bag
Job No. 1 in any gift-giving endeavor is to avoid, at all costs, fit issues. There's nothing quite so merriness-crushing as receiving a pair of gorgeous pants you can't squeeze into.
A handbag is one-size-fits-all, and a designer one is likely to please the typical fashionista. They don't come cheap, but if you're looking to spend some dough (well into the hundreds, to start), consider these:
- Balenciaga Giant City
- Fendi Baguette
- Hermes Birkin
- Prada Vitello
When in doubt, ask a well-dressed salesperson to recommend something.
Up next -- she also needs a new shawl…
4: Probably Safe: Go-with-everything Wrap
Chilly weather brings a boon in necessary accessories, which is good news for the gift giver. It's very, very difficult to go wrong with a fine scarf, shawl or wrap. Even fashionistas have to keep warm, and few women don't want something stunning around their necks and/or shoulders.
Cashmere is almost universally loved, so start there. Neutral tones will give her a daily-wear accessory, while bold hues offer more of a wow. Red, teal and yellow are big for winter 2011. A sparkly knit offers a potential New Year's piece.
If your girl's a serious style fanatic, consider leopard print.
Up next -- She needs more lip colors…
3: Very Safe: Makeup Palette
Few fashionistas will turn their noses up at a fine palette of lip or eye colors. If your woman has a favorite makeup brand (take a look in her vanity), start there. Otherwise, try one of the cosmetics counters at a fine department store.
You'll need to know her colors, and the salesperson can help you with this. You might even bring along a picture of your girl. If you go for a lip-color palette, know whether she wears lip gloss or lipstick. They're not interchangeable (although some women do use both).
Round out the gift with a high-quality applicator brush (again, ask someone at the makeup counter). It's a thoughtful touch.
Up next: She needs reading material…
2: Totally Safe: Fashion Magazine Subscription
For aspiring style icons, knowledge is power. If you aren't keeping up on the trends, you aren't wearing them.
A subscription to a fashion magazine is a sure bet. Marie Claire, Elle and Vogue are excellent choices. Go for the French editions for some wow value -- she doesn't need to speak French to speak French fashion.
Another option: fashion-centric films on DVD, such as "Prêt-a-Porter," "Unzipped," or the ever-delicious "The Devil Wears Prada."
And finally -- she'll never stop thanking you for the No. 1 gift on our list, if you can pull it off…
1: OMG: Tickets to Fashion Week
This is, at best, a long shot, but it's perhaps the fashionista jaw-dropper. The runway shows of New York Fashion Week are a dream come true.
Typically, you'll only be able to get tickets to the upper level, not the floor (those seats are for industry insiders), and even then, the options are limited: For 2010 Fashion Week, AMEX cardholder status was practically the only way in.
There are also contests to win tickets offered by various fashion magazines and woman-related brands. Do a search for "Win tickets to 2011 Fashion Week."
If you can score your lady a ticket to a single Bryant Park show, you could probably play golf with your buddies every weekend for the rest of your life -- if that's your thing.
Either way, you'll have a very happy fashionista on your hands.