How to buy clothing for your gal's gift

Give your gal clothing

Threads and treads  
Going clothes shopping with your gal is about the worst thing you could do to yourself. Who wants to hang around in some frilly-named store full of gals' clothing all day? Skip that jazz and do something better with your time, as in...anything else.

With that said, it's actually sort of easy to find clothing for your gal. Plus, once you learn the method, you'll be able to take care of a lot of gifts in the future by going the clothing route. Here's how to get her the right threads and treads.

Avoid the stores
Avoid going into a physical store to find her those clothes. They're no fun for you and you likely don't even know what stores to go to anyway. Also, physical stores have a pretty limited supply of options, so the chance of you finding something good is low. On top of that, the clothes are all hanging on racks, so you might have a hard time visualizing how they would look on your gal.

Clothes shopping for your gal has to be done online if you want to stay sane. The benefits are (1) there are a lot of websites to choose from, (2) you can see how those clothes actually look on a model, and (3) you'll spend far less time on this job.

Off-limit items
Gals are extremely picky about the exact fit and design of these particular pieces of clothing, so just avoid them.

*  Fancy shoes and sneakers
*   Pants/shorts
*  Dresses/skirts
*  Fancy/elegant tops
*  Hats
*  Anything tight fitting

When a gal buys any of these for herself, she tries it on, checks it from a thousand angles, gets a second opinion from a friend, and tries on a similar item before trying on the first item again. Then when she takes it home, she still may worry that it's not exactly right.

Listen, if she has to go through all that just to find something that she might be happy with, then you don't stand a chance of getting it right. Know your limits and stay away from these things.

What to go for
Your main area of focus should be stuff that she'll mostly wear around the home.

Loose exercise/lounging pants
Lightweight/thin t-shirts
Furry socks
Slippers and lounging shoes/sandals

Whatever you get her, make sure that it's cute. This means something in a girly color, or with hearts, rainbows, and all that business. Or it might have a little bow or fringe to it. You don't need to spend an arm and a leg, but it still has to be something nice.

She's definitely going to check the label to see who made it, so go for a brand that caters to gals. Do not get her a Fruit of the Loom three-pack of plain-colored unisex t-shirts. Basically, if it's something that you could conceivably wear yourself, then it's not a good gift for her.

Looser fitting stuff is the way to go here. Even though she'll be wearing most of these things around the home, gals are still particular about tight fitting clothes. Let her buy the tight stuff for herself.

Also remember that you're going to be looking at her wearing these things...a lot. So choose something that you'll like seeing her in.

Going out
If you want to get your gal something for going out, the only things you should consider are casual tops, jackets, beanies, and scarves.


Good items from this category are a little tougher to find. Since she'll be wearing these in front of other people, they've got to be spot on. You can pull this off though by looking at what types of clothes she already wears and then getting her similar stuff. Do not try to change her style.

As before, you should aim for tops that have something cute going for them. Another option would be something with her school logo on it, or something from her favorite sports team. Just avoid shirts with stupid-funny sayings on them. Those are a little too casual for most gals. However, if you come across a top with a sweet word or two on it (like "Love" or "XOXO") that can work.

Here's a good measuring stick for you when considering a particular top. Imagine that you're taking your gal out for a sit-down meal at a casual restaurant. (Something better than fast food, but nothing luxurious either.)

Now imagine that she's wearing this new top on that date. If it seems like it would work well there, then you're good to go. If not, keep looking.

Although we recommend against buying your gal a hat, we're all for getting her a beanie. That's because in a gals' mind, a hat's job is not to keep the sun out of her eyes or her hair out of the way...it's to make her face look good.

Climb inside your gal's mind for a moment and consider a few effects of wearing a hat.

Each hat will frame her face in a particular way, so it has to be just right. If her hair gets tucked up under it, her ears may show a bit too much. If she wants to take her hat off while she's out, hat-hair could be an issue.

She's better off picking out her own hats. A beanie however, can be pulled down over her forehead, slid back above her bangs, or curled up at the bottom...because they're pretty much one-size-fits-all. This versatility means that there's more room for error when buying one for her.

As long as she's a beanie kind of gal (some aren't into them), there's a good chance she'll dig this gift, as long as you obey the rule we've already stated...make sure it looks like a gal's beanie. Something colorful, in a soft-knit with a pom on top should do it.

There are also a couple of subliminal messages at work when you buy her a beanie. The first is that she can depend on you to take care of her...that you're concerned with her warmth and comfort. (I know it sounds kind of corny to us guys, but our opinions mean squat here.) Even if your gal doesn't exactly verbalize this message in her mind, trust that it will evoke the feeling in her that she's safe and cared for when she's with you.

The second message is that you'll go the extra mile for her. Beanies are a dime a dozen, so you could get away with something cheap, but that's the wrong play. Spend a few extra bucks and get her something with a good-sized price tag from a gal's brand. (Fortunately, even the most expensive beanies aren't all that costly.) She'll love that you went above and beyond for her, when something mediocre would have sufficed.

These subliminal messages apply to beanies, but they apply to scarves as well.

Unlike beanies, scarves come in a wide variety of thicknesses. Paper-thin lightweight scarves for example are more for fashion than anything else. But be cautious, because although it's a look that some gals enjoy, it's certainly not universal.

If your gal already has a few of these lightweight scarves in her wardrobe, then she's definitely into this look and a scarf could make for a great gift. Your play here is to spend a little extra though in order to get her a particularly nice scarf, as in...something nicer than the rest of her collection. Otherwise, it'll just be another old scarf that will be forgotten among the others in her drawer.

If you never see your gal wearing thin scarves, then you should consider a medium weight or thick scarf instead. For most gals, these heavier scarves are the way to go, because they actually serve the function of providing warmth while still looking good.

These scarves can be combined with most outfits and worn in different ways, so your gal will be able to enjoy this gift in her own way.

When buying your gal a jacket, you have to be a little more careful, but it's a very doable gift. If you spend much time scoping out gals' jackets, you'll see that various retailers use the term "jacket" differently.

A jacket can refer to a fancied up slim-fitting number designed more for its looks than its function. (Picture a gal wearing this type of jacket to a corporate meeting or a country club luncheon.) Or it can refer to a thick parka she'd wear purely for warmth. (Think of a gal trying to fight off the cold weather of a winter camping trip.)

What you need to do is to find a jacket that walks the line between these two extremes of "look" and "function." Don't buy her a suit jacket, but don't give her an ugly Arctic expedition type jacket either. It should have a little bulk to it, but it should have some girly qualities as well...like maybe a light colored fur-lined hood, silver/metal buckles, or a design stitched into the fabric.

In other words, you want her to gush over how beautiful it is when she opens this gift and sees it for the first time, but you also want her to realize that it'll actually keep her warm when she wears it. That's the kind of jacket to go for.

Know her measurements
Finally, you'll need to know your gal's sizes. If she's not the type to share her measurements with you, then you'll have to sneak into her closet and check the labels yourself. Regardless of your method, write down the size for each item on the list below, and hang onto them for future reference.

Loose exercise/lounging pants
T-shirts and sweaters
Furry socks

Gifts of lingerie are like flowers...all gals like them. One reason why they like lingerie so much is that you can't find anything on the planet that's more feminine, so it's a statement of how beautiful she is in your eyes. Lingerie is also intimate, meant only for the two of you. Therefore, it's a statement of how much you enjoy that aspect of your relationship. Now here's what you've got to do when buying this stuff.

Don't buy lingerie online. Instead, go to a store and find a clerk to help you out. Tell this clerk what you're generally looking for and she'll steer you right. Plus, she'll almost definitely have a few ideas that you possibly hadn't considered.

Should you buy her lingerie that's more suited to your taste or hers? Well there's no doubt on this one...you've got to mix it up. Whatever her tastes are, be sure to include some modest items that cover up a little more from time to time. (Think along the lines of comfort and loose/flowing designs.)

This doesn't mean that you need to buy her stuff that you don't care for though. Use that clerk's knowledge to help you find something that works for the both of you.

Don't be afraid to push her a little toward the daring side at other times. She doesn't wear the same style of clothing every time she goes out somewhere does she? Of course not.

She wants variety in her wardrobe...and that goes for her lingerie chest/drawer as well. So go ahead and aim for some different styles.

Just be sure that you have her measurements exactly right before buying anything. This is something that you'll need to get straight from the source herself. (Unless you've got Templeton Peck's eagle eye for this sort of thing, don't go guessing on this.)

Seriously, don't screw up on the measurements. Just ask her straight out for her sizes. There are few things more defeating to a gal than trying to fit into the new lingerie you bought her because she's not as slim as you thought she was.

Finally, all lingerie needs to be gift wrapped at the store. It's got to come in their official box with their name on the ribbon and matching tissue paper inside. There's no way to duplicate the wrapping job that the store will do up for you, so don't even try. Just consider it a necessary part of the package.

Last thought
Generally, shopping for gals' clothing is a horrible task, but you shouldn't let that hold you back. Follow the steps above, and you'll be able to find her something nice with little effort.

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Alec, James, Richard
and our army of gals