Monday, Dec. 17, 1928: What women want for Christmas

Posted on December 18th, 2007 – 12:44 AM
By Ben Welter

Not sure what to get that special woman in your life for Christmas? Fashion maven Lucien Lelong — think Tim Gunn, but French, and with a syndicated newspaper column — advised Minneapolis Star readers to give perfume, scarves and negligees. Which isn’t surprising, considering that Lelong was known for selling perfume, scarves and negligees.

Women Love
Luxury Gifts
at Christmas

Small Extravagance Is
Most Certain to Please,
Says Lelong

By LUCIEN LELONG

What are we going to do about Christmas this year?

That question has found lodgment in the minds of most of us. Happiness at this season is a right not to be denied, and I think the shortest route to happiness for all is the right gift for the right person.

This is easy, as simple as sunrise and as inevitable, if you know what the recipient of the gift you buy really wants. I don’t mean extravagant things. Supposing everybody secretly longs for a diamond necklace, a yacht or a castle in Spain. That is not the whole story. Those same people who yearn for these impossible (to most of us) gifts also wish just as sincerely for something that is quite simply within reach.

Small Extravagances Liked

I shall not speak about men at this time. Any clever woman knows well what any man wants. But for her critical sisters it is more difficult. I have had no small occasions to observe the ladies, and I find that in most cases they love best the small extravagance of life. Only the unimaginative like the utilitarian gift. A bottle of perfume, a scarf, a jewel, a bag, powder, rouge, a negligee, a flower, anything that is not an actual necessity, but a charming extravagance, is an agreeable gift to almost any woman.

She may buy any or all of these things for herself, but the gift-giver, a diviner, selects something different, and thereby masters the secret of successful giving. We all yearn for what discretion and practical reasons may prevent us choosing for ourselves.

If you are choosing perfume – and what woman doesn’t like it? – select a scent that is famous and fine. Jewels that are novelties, in reach of most of you, may be chosen for their chic, which is extremely important, as for instance the new metal daytime jewelry, or crystals, or rosequartz. Type and style will depend on the person to receive them.

In selecting scarfs as gifts you will choose between sports scarfs, daytime or evening scarfs, and you will be guided by the interests of the friend for whom you choose a gift.

And bags. A capacious bag which carries a small but useful umbrella for the woman who goes out every day – an evening bag of fine old brocade for the lady who loves the correct things for evening. Choose felt flowers for the sports woman, and fragile flowers for the friend in love. Pajamas are the smartest of gifts for certain ladies, and negligees for others.

Study your friend first and select the gift afterward. This gift research will repay you in happiness for having chosen the right thing at the right time.

 
  We all know what kids want: Volunteers wrapped gifts for the Family Welfare Association in 1925. (mnhs.org photo)

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