This Manly Gift Buying Guide to Fall Fashion is a sponsored post for Collective Bias and the Social Fabric community.
Part 1 – Shopping For my Daughter and Granddaughter
My oldest daughter, Rebekah, is transitioning this winter from an academic setting, where she is getting her Ph.D. in Neuroscience, to an employment position at a major Neuroscience Institute. Because of that I thought it was time to get her some clothes that will help her feel more at home in her new professional setting. Rebekah is not particularly one style over another but I felt like a look on the preppy side would be on the mark. She likes a simple, classic style and knows how to wear it.
I had liked the searStyle Facebook page a few months ago so I knew Sears would have that preppy look for less so I went there to see what I could find. My wife, Linda and I weren’t in the store more than 5 minutes when we came across a perfect pink turtleneck.
We then quickly found a classic cream colored cable knit cardigan That we felt fit perfectly with the turtleneck. I was not worried about whether they fit a particular 2013 fashion trend since both of these are evergreen styles and will not go out of fashion soon. If you are over 25, #ThisisStyle.
I was pretty sure I got the right sizes for her but wanted to be sure before I sent them to her in time for the holidays. I have a friend who lives in my same neighborhood who I know to be almost the exact same size as Rebekah. I asked Kristen, who is a fellow runner and a fitness role model extraordinaire if she would mind trying them on to see how they fit. She came over and graciously allowed me to take some photos of her in the ensemble.
She started with just the turtleneck and said she loved the color and feel of the piece. She had chosen her lipstick really well as it matched perfectly.
She then tried on the cable knit cardigan to complete the look.
It looked to us both as a classic, timeless look with shades of east coast preppy, without being overwhelming.
Let’s go back to our shopping trip for a moment. Besides Rebekah getting her Ph.D. another momentous event recently occurred. She had her first child (our first Grandchild). She had a baby girl they named Vivian. Linda and I thought it would be perfect to see if we couldn’t find some complementary outfits for the baby that would fit well with the preppy style. I had recently joined the Sears ‘Shop Your Way‘ program and knew that we would be getting a few discounts and the prices were already so affordable we had no excuse not to.
Once again, it didn’t take us long at all to find exactly what we wanted.
We are pretty excited with our finds and are looking forward to giving these gifts to Rebekah and Vivian for Christmas.
You can see the SearsStyle Shop Your Way Catalog here.
Part 2 - Tips for shopping for women
I pride myself on being more fashion aware than the average guy. I am an artist, photographer and designer and as such see fashion as another extension of creativity and art out in the world. While I am not a shopper who could compete with many women I know, I do know how to shop and can do it effectively when I want to.
Part of the reason I can shop is I have 4 daughters. They are all grown now, ages 23-31. That means I shopped for them during all ages, from baby through teen years into adulthood. I didn’t always get the gifts right, but I felt I had a good batting average overall. Sometimes I would even hit it out of the park.
If you say, as a guy, ‘Well, that’s what women do. Guys don’t do that.’ I say you are missing out. You can do it, and it can be great for your relationship. It’s also not as alien as you think. You buy a specialty wrench for a specific need and you buy a run of the mill wrench for whatever might come up, right? The same is true in fashion. You might buy a special piece of jewelry for your daughter’s graduation, but you might by a pair of earrings for whenever your daughter might like to wear them. You might buy a glittery blouse for your wife’s New Year’s Eve party, but you might buy her a sweater for any occasion. Shopping is like one or the other in most cases.
The key to being a guy and shopping for someone else is paying attention. I don’t mean paying attention while you are shopping, obviously you have to do that. I mean paying attention to what your wives, girlfriends, daughters, etc. are wearing day in, day out. It means asking questions about other outfits you see when you are out with them. Getting them to talk about what they like and don’t like. It means noticing things.
For example, do you see the same colors on your wife again and again? Ask her why. She might tell you that gold color looks great against her skin or that deep blues contrast nice with her brown hair. If you ask, you will find there is a reason. It’s not by accident. Do you see your daughter’s wearing jewelry that a big and bold, bangly and colorful? Ask her why. She will probably say she loves the glittery shine, or maybe they make her feel happy. There is a reason, it’s not by accident.
JUST as important is paying attention to what they don’t wear. You can do this by paying attention to what you see people their age wearing but the object of your gift buying does not. For example, my wife, Linda, is a pretty high powered business woman. Many business women wear suits. My wife however, never wears suits. I need to be paying attention to that so that when I am gift buying I can skip right over all these blazers and suits, knowing they aren’t going to be for her, no matter how interesting they may be to my eye. For my daughters, each one is different. They could and do overlap in what they might wear at times, but they aren’t clones of each other. One might be a bit of a hippie, the other more outdoorsy, a third a bit on the preppie side.
An important note: If you are buying for teens and early 20 somethings? There may be no reason that you can really figure out very easily. It won’t be about color or sparkles. It’s more likely going to be about who wore that pattern at the VMAs or something she saw the other, very cool girl at work, wear. You may not be able to discern this very easily. The only advice here is to pay attention to who your daughters listen to in music, which actresses and singers they like. What do those celebrities wear? Now, it may not be a celebrity in the typical hollywood/MTV sense. It might be a professor she likes, maybe a favorite author. But chances are she doesn’t get her fashion sense in a vacuum. She is finding it out in the world and adapting it to herself. The more you pay attention to what she pays attention to, the better chance you have of getting the gift buying right.
So, in a nutshell it’s about paying attention and asking questions. Because remember, it isn’t about what you like, it’s about what your loved one likes.