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Do not try out new perfumes on your gal.
Listen to me on this. I know that your instinct is telling you that if you can surprise her with some new expensive type of perfume that's got a famous brand name and comes in a beautiful looking bottle...that your gal will fall in love with her gift and be really happy. Well forget that voice inside of you because it's a lie. Your gal's choice of perfumes is extremely personal, because every lady's nose is different. The bottom line is that no matter how the perfume looks...your gal has to completely love how it smells. It's a fragrance. The aroma is what you're paying for.
Look...perfume is the easiest gift on the planet to buy for a gal because the winning formula is to simply ask her what her favorite perfumes are...go buy one of them...wrap it up...write her a card...and give it to her. That's all there is to it. As long as you don't go experimenting with fancy new fragrances, you can't possibly screw up this gift. Plus, you also benefit by not having to step into a single perfume shop...which would drive most guys mad. Just go the website above, and use the filters to find her particular perfume. It'll take you less than a minute.
Don't ask her more than once. When you first ask her for her favorite perfumes, write them down right away so you'll never have to ask her again. I guarantee that your gift will have less impact if you need to keep asking her every year, "What's the name of that perfume you like so much?" She might say to you, "Oh I really like Prada Candy Kiss!" Inside though, she'll be thinking, "You mean the perfume that I wear for you every time we go out? The perfume that you apparently don't even notice? The perfume that you don't even remember giving to me last year? That perfume?"
I may be exagerrating a bit, but I want to drive home the point that a gal's gift is as much about the meaning as it is about the gift itself. When you give her that bottle of perfume again next year, you want her to think instead, "Wow. He always remembers my favorite fragrance from when I told him so many years ago. He really thinks of me, takes care of me, and loves me."
Mix up your timing. You may believe that buying her the same perfume each year could get old after a while...and that's sort of true. Perfume is one of those core gifts that you can come back to year after year, but as much as she may love her personal fragrances, gals still like variety when it comes to gifts. So here's what you need to do.
First of all, keep buying her those favorite fragrances of hers. They're not going out of style and they'll continue to be your workhorses forever. Don't yank them out of the rotation for the sake of variety. Instead, you need to change up your timing. If your gal knows ahead of time that you're going to give her a bottle of Chanel every single Valentine's Day...that's not exciting for her. Make it a Christmas gift one year or a birthday or anniversary gift in another year, or surprise sometime her when there's no reason at all.
Consider adding a second gift. Is a bottle of perfume enough of a gift all on its own? The answer depends on a couple things. If you've been together for a number of years, then you should think of perfume as more of a "refill" that you're giving her from time to time (so by itself, it could have slightly less impact as time goes on). In this case, you should be thinking of pairing her perfume with another gift, as she'll still get that onging "gift of fragrance" that you've built up in previous years, as well as something unexpected (which will give her that sense of wonder as she opens it, and a sense of anticipation as she looks forward to future gifts from you).
Certainly, you can just give her the perfume without anything else once in a while, but save this for smaller occasions like "just because" or on Valentine's Day. (Even then though, throw in some flowers and candy...and always a card.) Whatever you do, don't let the perfume go solo on your 10th anniversary or her 50th birthday. For milestones like these, she's secretly hoping you'll acknowledge their importance by going a little bigger.
Let her break in any new fragrances. Here's the only method you should even consider for adding perfumes to her wheelhouse...let her do it herself. All she has to do is to walk into a department store and they'll spray her with as many of the lastest trendy fragrances as she wants. At some point though, she'll need to plunk down the cash and buy a bottle that seems promising, so she can try it out for an extended period to determine if it's actually a winner. So how can you help out here?
Easy...give her a gift card and tell her that you'd really like for her to use it to try some new perfume. Just be careful in how you frame it. You don't want her to think that you don't like her current favorites. Rather, make it clear that you want her to have the best of everything, and that the next time she's interested in some particular perfume, that she'll let you buy it for her with that gift card. Tell her that you know that gift card may end up sitting around for a long time, but that it would be meaningful to you to know that if she happens to luck out some day by finding a new fragrance that she ends up loving, you will be part of that discovery.
Here's a warning though. Don't give her the gift card by itself. You need to give it to her along with one of her current favorite perfumes. This will assure her that you really do enjoy the fragrances that she's already wearing, that you're honestly inspiring her to add to them, and that you're not conspiring to replace them.
Do you hate her current perfume? If your gal's got a favorite fragrance that you can't stand, I hope that you're man enough to tell her straight up. If she loves you, she'll save it for times when you're not around.