Margaret Thatcher once declared, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” And if you want something gifted, especially something gorgeous? Then you ask the fashion pack. It’s their job, after all, to create things that won’t leave your dreams until you buy them… or until someone else does. But how to ensure the holiday presents you get are the holiday presents you want—and how to do it without looking grabby or even worse, ungrateful?
We asked the experts—fashion mavens and beauty gurus—for their advice. After all, to excel in this business, you’ve got to know what you want, and just as crucially, how to ask for it.
Scroll down to see how our favorite style professionals navigate holiday gift etiquette without breaking a sweat, burning a bridge, or even ruining a manicure.
“I think if you really want something, you can’t wait for someone to give it to you, regardless of whether it’s the holidays or not. You’ve got to get it yourself. Show some initiative. Make some stuff, open an Etsy store, become a mini-mogul. If you want to buy something and your parents won’t or can’t help you, figure out a smart, safe way to earn the money yourself. You’ve got to be an entrepreneur.”
“‘Dear Father Christmas, I’ve been really good this year, please may I have…’ usually does the trick.” (You can also put what you want on your Villoid board.)
“I’m very direct. I email my husband a link to the item I want, and the hunting starts early!”
“If you like something from a particular designer or label, show your lover the company’s Instagram! For example, show them @DylanLex and say, ‘Babe, check out this necklace line! It’s so cool!’ And scroll through, and like all the pictures together.”
“I always buy myself a gift I want for the holidays. This way, I’m never disappointed. I already have what I want. And I can just enjoy the thought behind any other present, even fruitcake.”
“I’m not really one to ask for a gift unless it’s from my Mama, but usually I tell her I don’t need anything, and would rather go to a faraway land and do yoga with her. (Which is a gift, too!) But if she keeps asking what I want, I just send her a link…pretty straight up!”
“I keep a Pinterest board where I keep track of the things on my wish list titled—surprise, surprise—‘Wish List.’ My husband came across it last year without my knowing, and got me a pair of shoes I really wanted. When I opened them, I was completely surprised because I had no idea he knew about the board! Now he still will look at the wish list for gifts, and even though I know he looks at it, I don’t know which thing he will pick from it (there’s a lot on there…) so it’s still a surprise. However, some of the best gifts are things you didn’t even know you wanted, so sometimes a complete surprise is best.”
“Depending on how close you are (I’m thinking of my husband and I here), you could clip ideas and stick them on the fridge for a not-so-subtle but very effective hint. I try and be a little coy about the whole thing, so it’s light-hearted but still communicative. If it’s someone a little less close, there’s always the casual “OMG, I was just a Barney’s looking at the FRENCH 85 ZIPPED BOOT IN BLACK CRACKED SHINY LEATHER. I would DIE if someone slipped those cha-cha heels under my tree!” Super subtle.
“Be direct. Directness is key. Always, the more direct we are, the more attractive and safe we are to others, because they know where they stand. Don’t ask, don’t get. That’s my motto.”
“Well, if you really want something, you can email it to them! That’s fine!”