How to shop for women

Gifts for gals

Guys, we're not going to tell you that buying for girls is easy. Oftentimes, even our own mothers can't figure out exactly what to get us (which explains that monogrammed pink-and-green lunch bag and the mountain of ugly sweaters that never leave the house). So we came up with a guide to giving to gals to make things a little simpler this Christmas. You'll find a few easy Dos and Don'ts that will help you pick out the perfect present, along with some ready-made gift ideas that are pretty much foolproof.


• Listen. Women are pretty notorious for dropping Empire State Building-sized hints. Is she checking over a catalog in front of you? Did she say she liked a sweater when you were at the mall? Did she say her bag is falling apart and she needs a new one? Open your eyes and ears, fellas! She's practically doing all the work for you.

• Think. Like most things in life, with a little brainpower, picking out presents for your lady will be a lot easier. What color does she wear most often? Does she like music? Where does she shop? Ask yourself these questions and your answers just might lead you to the perfect present.

• Look. Does she have a Pinterest page? Does she have a Christmas Wish List 2014 board on her Pinterest page. Seriously, guys, technology — use it.

• Ask. Yes, it's as simple as that.


• Just buy a gift card. Nothing says "I really put absolutely zero thought into this gift" more than one of those gift cards you pick up while waiting to check out at the supermarket. Literally nothing. However, buying an Amazon gift card and wrapping it up with a pair of cozy jammies, some slippers, a bag of popcorn, and some hot cocoa is thoughtful and cute.

• Buy her something you want. Sorry, but you're not going to get away with giving her a Playstation 3 just because you call it a "gift for us." Do not ever give her a "gift for us."

• Buy her the same thing you bought your mom. This shouldn't even need an explanation. Just don't.

• Think kitchen appliances are out of the question. It used to be that giving a lady a blender was the biggest insult she could unwrap on Christmas morning, but these days everyone is into making things by hand and being really in touch with what they're eating. A super fancy blender is a great idea if she really likes shakes in the morning. If she's into baking, a stand-up mixer is a gift that will keep on giving.

• Buy her anything from Bath and Body Works. She doesn't need any more body spray. She just doesn't.

So now that you know what to do and what not to do, you may have already come up with some ideas on your own. Just in case you're still drawing a blank, here's a list of locally made gifts — big and small — that are sure to please even the pickiest of partners:

Detroit Rose candles

These candles are made in Eastern Market by the lovely Deirdre Skiles. They come in scents like patchouli and amber, leather, campfire, sweet lemongrass, pipe tobacco, bourbon orange spice, and many more. The price point might seem a little high, but they're right on par with Paddywax candles, which are much smaller in size and not produced locally. You can purchase them on Etsy (just search Detroit Rose Candle Co) or in person at the Detroit Urban Craft fair. If you're picking one up for a stocking stuffer, think about getting another scent for her mom or sister. Every girl loves a good candle.

Jenna Kator handbags
$74 and up

Yes, buying a bag for your lady can be tough. It's a particular thing, so you might need some help with this one, but if you do it right, this gift is one that she'll really dig. Jenna Kator is a local company that's headquartered in Livonia. The company manufactures high-quality and fashionable bags that are inspired by the state of Michigan. All the bags are named after cities and places. Oakland, Marquette, Greektown, Grayling, and Kalamazoo are all bag styles. Whether your lady thinks bigger is better or prefers a more modest purse, Jenna Kator has a style for every personality. We're digging Holly, Bloomfield, and Frankenmuth — oh, and we'll take the South Haven wristlet while you're at it.

Cyberoptix printed pashmina

Are scarves a cliche gift? Well, maybe a little, but this isn't your run-of-the-mill wool monstrosity. Cyberoptix does amazing things with printing and this scarf is proof. Help her make a statement by purchasing one with a bold, funky print. The "due date" scarf resembles a library card, while some are printed with maps of Eastern Market, machine diagrams, or even emblazoned with some of the best places (addresses included) in the city.

Watch from Shinola
$525 and up

Say what you will about Shinola, those watches are damn gorgeous. And even though we all just check the time using our phones or laptops these days, a classic timepiece is still a wardrobe staple. A watch from Shinola isn't cheap, but it's made to last a lifetime, plus the fashion of it is timeless. She'll be able to wear it for years to come, and she'll think of you every time she puts it on.

Vagrants and Valentines jewelry
$5 and up

Sometimes when you want to buy something expensive, (ahem, Shinola watch, ahem), it makes it hard to give your lady another other than one tiny box. Temper your more costly purchases with cheaper, but still cute, finds like jewelry from Vagrants and Valentines. This local company purchases cast-offs that are broken, damaged, or otherwise unsellable, and turns them into wearable fashion once more.

Trish's Garage peplum top
$40 and up

Ebony Rutherford crafts these tops from Detroit sports teams shirts, making them feminine and flirty. Peplum experienced a big boom a couple of years ago, and the style is still incredibly flattering. Even if your lady isn't a huge Lions fan, there's a chance she's going to have to tailgate with you before a game sometime this season. Grab her one of these adorable tops, and she won't feel like a total frump next time she's screaming "Go, team!"

About The Author

Alysa Zavala-Offman

Alysa Zavala-Offman is the managing editor of Detroit Metro Times. She lives in the downriver city of Wyandotte with her husband, toddler, mutt, and two orange cats.
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