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Rules For Buying Gifts For a Woman

Gift-giving isn’t my forte, but I’d like it to be. Every time I ask my lady what she wants, she freaks out and cries, “You don’t know anything about me!” How can I figure it out on my own?

Rule No. 1 when buying gifts for a woman: It’s not about you — it’s about her — so that Jets jersey is probably out. And yet, you want your gifts to capture some aspect of you (since, in theory, she actually does like you). The bad news is that gift-giving isn’t a one-shot deal. The good news is that once you get the rules down, you’ll be golden for years to come.

What Women Want
Chicks love presents, period. And while the thought does count, it doesn’t mean you can chintz out with a single long-stemmed rose. Whatever you buy, get it wrapped nicely — make that extravagantly. There are five basic ways a gift can score points. Each gift should satisfy at least one of these categories, and ideally all five: It needs to be fabulous, creative, tasteful, generous and/or “so her.”

Know Your Woman
Use all of your senses to continually gather clues. What does she look at in magazines and catalogs? When you pass store windows and her eyes linger, ask what she’s looking at and whether or not she likes it. (That earns you bonus points, because all women love being asked their opinion.) You need to understand her overall style and taste. Is she trendy, conservative, dramatic, sporty or feminine? Beyond that, you should know her hobbies and passions, whether she collects anything, loves pets, cooks, reads poetry, or plays a sport. What sorts of things does she buy for herself?

Then, there’s a short list of things you need to memorize about her: her fragrance; her favorite colors; her size in clothing, shoes and rings. Jewelry is a category unto itself and one that must be mastered early in the game: Does she wear gold or silver? What’s her birthstone? What are her favorite gems? Does she have pierced ears? If you want to be a truly great boyfriend, find out her favorite spa and program it into your speed dial.

Can’t-miss Gifts
If you’re not quite ready to venture out on your own, these suggestions are guaranteed to make any woman happy.

  • Inexpensive but fabulous: Simple Diary ($15). Available online or in bookstores, this clever gift offers structure for those who love the idea of a journal but don’t have the time to keep one. It comes preloaded with psychological insights and philosophic musings – (i.e., the stuff women love and guys hate).
  • High-end: Anything from Hermes, the French brand renowned for luxurious (read expensive) accessories. Their scarves are a chick status symbol, but they also have the best silver bracelets, note cards and towels.
  • Unique home decor rises to a new height at Vivre.com, a gift emporium edited by a woman with impeccable taste. Its one-of-a-kind finds include a brag photo album for pets, and a pebble-shaped USB key.
  • Innovative, beautifully designed products to wear, carry or decorate with are the stock in trade at AHAlife.com. For the dog lover, there’s an illuminated leash; for your boho-chic GF, a pop rock necklace.
  • Zen/yoga babes will dig a scented candle from DiptyqueParis.com or anything from Fresh.com.
  • When the stakes are really high, there’s only one option: a piece of the rock from Cartier. Then she can’t complain when next year’s present is that vintage Namath jersey.


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