I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get a gift guide up in time so maybe don’t consider this a gift guide. Maybe it’s more of a self-gifting guide. Or a ‘what to spend your Christmas money on in January’ guide.
Anyhoo, here’s a collection of things that have caught my eye that are useful, beautiful, or somewhere in between. I like supporting new and indie businesses, traditional heritage companies and projects by friends. And obviously I can never resist a book or two… (To shop the post, scroll to the end. Disclaimer: There are lots of affiliate links in this post.)
It’s interesting to witness this new rise of responsible retail, where buyers look for brands with an ethical stance. I just discovered Centre Commercial (above), a French site dedicated to brands that respect transparent sourcing, such as Veja, Laperruque, Homecore and Zespa (makers of these snug shearling-lined shoes).
Laperruque has lots of great small leather goods on its own site too, made with leathers than get better with age. I particularly like the neck pouch and grained leather card holder. Although – killjoy alert – I guess that as with diet drinks, the caveat with responsibly made items is it doesn’t give you a free pass to buy more…
What could be more practical than knitwear? Chinti & Parker’s knits make great gifts because while the shapes are classic (but generous), they’re also colourful and graphic. A lot of the fun stuff is in the sale (like my favourite alpaca and merino check sweater), but for clean-lined basics, take a look at the cashmere essentials.
Tiina The Store is another good bet for classic cashmere knits – I’m getting Miuccia Prada vibes from these Scottish-made V-neck cardigans (above). I also love the look of the unisex repurposed cashmere knits from COS. They’re all made from upcycled yarn, hence the non-colour shade of ‘buff’.
Onto socks, I don’t know a single guy who doesn’t love Anonymous Ism socks. Made in Japan on vintage weaving machines, the output is limited to fifty pairs a day. You can get them everywhere, but I especially like these colour block offerings exclusive to The Conran Shop and these melange numbers from Mr Porter. For women, COS has these padded (padded!) socks that are pretty perfect – just add sheepskin-lined Birkenstocks. (UPDATE: *huff* sold out now! These ribbed cashmere socks look equally cosy though.) And to maintain the fluffy knits, a gentle beech wood cashmere comb is a must, and less terrifying than those electric ‘shaver’ devices.
If you’re thinking of a beauty buy, think cult, classic, gift set or super-indulgent. Susanne Kaufmann skincare and Westman Atelier make-up are expensive, clean beauty brands that have unwavering cult followings. They both have gift sets, which allow the giftee to try them out before splashing out on the whole shebang. Also on the cult front, you can’t fail with Chanel’s Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup, a classic that’s been around forever but was seemingly rediscovered by everyone (including me) this year.
Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil ticks the indulgent box (for the mimosa smell alone), with maybe a jade roller to match. And for the dental hygiene freak in your circle, this Buly 1803 beeswax-coated floss (above) will elevate the nightly routine from the mundane to the sublime.
Fragrance can be a bit of a tricksy gift; everyone’s olfactory taste is different. But if you’re buying for someone arty and adventurous, Ormaie fragrances are a risk worth taking. On the classic side, 19-69 is a fairly safe bet – a line of gender-free culture- and place-oriented fragrances. Or for the heritage-lover, the brand spanking new Sunspel Oak Wood eau de parfum (above, created by friend-of-DRG, Lyn Harris) is a unisex blend of citrus, cedarwood, frankincense and amber.
Books are a no-brainer but to make them more ‘gifty’, I like Ruth Crilly’s book-and-choc idea. Partner your book with an aesthetically matched chocolate (or alternative snack) for a touch of bespoke flair. Fortnums’ chocolate bars are fab.
Some books I recommend: Garcon Style for the street style lover, Ametora for the preppie obsessive, Fashion Wankers for the insufferable fashionista in your life and Digital Minimalism for the Instagram-addict-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown. For any foodie travelista, the Dishoom book is pure joy. Oh, and for the discerning gentlewoman, my book is rather good…
If we’re talking beautiful and useful, the only thing I really want for Crimbo is a carafe to help me up my water intake. Yes, I’m lame enough to believe that having a chic carafe on my desk will incentivise me to sip more. SAD! La Gent has a great selection of these Maison Balzac carafe and glass sets in the best range of colours – I fancy the pink.
Other homesy things on my radar: anything Diptyque, including these ceramic candle stand tiles, Best Made desk tidies, and Snow Peak’s portable light. For Jo Malone London lovers, the Orange Bitters home candle is sheer bliss. And finally, for the person who has everything… the ultimate boombox-record-player in Hermes calf leather (top). Thanks Santa…
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Hermes; Centre Commercial; Tiina the Store; Buly 1803/Andy Barter for How to Spend It; Sunspel; Laurence King Publishing; Maison Balzac/How to Spend It
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here