Christmas shopping? Five fashionable (and foolproof!) gift ideas that won't make them cry like Claire Danes

Nobody likes feeling like this - via Claire Danes Cry Face Tumblr (yes, really)

Buying clothes for other people is never a walk in the park - and being on the receiving end is not much better! In fact, there's nothing more insulting than being told "I saw this and thought of you!" while you unwrap the most hideous lurid pink lurex dress and feign delight. (Not to mention the fact that you then have to wear it at least once in front of the gift-giver in order to convince them of your gratitude.)

No: buying fashion is never easy (unless it's for yourself - and then it's too easy!). Still, each Christmas I find myself buying fashion gifts for, well, almost everyone. Who can blame me? I'm a fashion burd. And while I will admit to, on occasion, getting it wrong (Mum, I know now that you can't stand clip-on earrings and Dad, I really thought you'd like that fuzzy knitted scarf before I remembered your eczema and delicate soul), I'm almost positive that I now have it right.

So I've compiled a wee list of foolproof Christmas pressies with a sartorial bent for you to buy one (or more) of your loved ones. Just don't come running to me if their gratitude isn't very convincing . . .


1. Bird branch jewellery stand, €25 from Asos

It is a truth universally acknowledged that storing jewellery is tough. I have mine in a combination system: my earrings, I hang on an old candle holder; my brooches, in a vintage ashtray; my large bangles in a hexagonal tray; my necklaces, hanging from the wall. Some kind of system would not go astray, and I really don't believe I'm alone here. This jewellery stand would be a great gift for a friend, a sister or a mother - it's cute but not cutesy, useful but not practical, pretty but not saccharine sweet.

2. Blue jewel drop earrings, €6.90 at Forever 21


So I'll admit, Forever 21 is not my favourite shop when it comes to, well, most things - but for accessories it is seriously tough to beat. These earrings are a bargaintastic €6.90 and would be a great gift for an aunt, mother in law, sister or mother. They're really classy and not to mention expensive-looking, and will look great, whatever her style. Picture them with a grey tee and a pair of jeans. Cool, right? Now picture them at work with a black dress and blazer. Still cool! The possibilities are endless. (Oh - and if you can't see her in blue, try these red babies, also €6.90.)

3. Shiny clutch bag, €39.95 at Zara

We're creeping up in price a little bit, but this clutch bag from Zara is a no-brainer. It's black, which goes with everything, and it's embellished, which makes it that little bit more special. It's got two handy pockets so will fit more than your phone and lipstick (am I the only person in the world who is sick and tired of the tiniest bags that I can put nothing into?!) and it's got a wrist strap, also handy for when you are, how shall I put this, slightly less likely to have a good grip. (That sounds very rude, mind you!) Plus, Zara will give you a gift receipt - but you do need to return within 28 days, so if you think this might be a no-go, make sure you give your recipient plenty of time on the other side. Buy mid-December. (And if you buy online, you can't exchange in store - you can only get a refund, on the original credit card. Annoying!)

4. Studded ankle boots, €24 at Penneys (from the end of November)

Okay, okay, bear with me! I know shoes are a slightly specific present, and you do of course need to know your recipient's shoe size - but these babies are a really safe bet, within reason. What do I mean by that? Well, you probably won't be buying these for your nanny (or for your mammy unless she's super cool). But for a sister or friend with a love of skinny jeans or cute tea dresses, these are a great call. They have a heel but they're not too high, they're cool but they're not too cool. Plus, they're cheap as chips - at €24 for a pair of shoes, you can't go far wrong. (Plus, they look like they cost way more!) Top tip? Wrap a shoe box carefully - wrap the lid separately so it can just be lifted off to make your present seem extra special.

5. Irish dancers apron, €20 by Ursula Celano, for sale in the Daintree Paper Shop on Camden Street and online

This is the ultimate in the "feel good for buying Irish" category. Not only is it designed by an Irish woman, Ursula Celano (Celano is her married name!), it's covered in ye olde Irish dancers! Such a great present for a friend or relative living abroad (don't tell my sister but she is totally getting one of these!) - and a really cute gift for someone living at home who loves cooking and always somehow splatters themselves with pepper sauce / bolognese / red wine / all of the above! Okay, okay, so it's not quite in the fashion category (fancy rocking up to Krystle in this baby?!) but it's made of fabric and designed by an Irishwoman - and who can say fairer than that?


Have you ever received a catastrophically bad fashion item as a Christmas gift? Do spill!

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