Need gift for 35 year old woman -HELP
July 30, 2014 2:04 AM   Subscribe

I need a birthday gift for a glamourous 35 year old daughter of a close friend. Not a book nor a gift voucher, nothing for kitchen or home, more like beauty or fashion oriented of which she has a lot but never mind, it's the thought that counts -right? Something I can wrap and hand to them. She wears about a size 8. Budget of around $50 or £30-£40. I am really stumped-please help and thank you. And I did search previous questions.
posted by claptrap to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As a glamorous 30 something myself you cant go far wrong with an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette. The Naked palettes have a reputation among makeup fashionistas as being must haves.

If shes blonde, go for Naked or Naked 3. Darker colouring go for Naked 2, if you really can't pick then the Basics palette is a safe bet.
posted by Ness at 2:21 AM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm close to your friend's daughter's age; I like clothes and makeup. Honestly, I wouldn't dare guess for even my friends. People who look 'glamourous' are hugely attentive to detail (that is how they come to look glamourous). It's just impossible to know what'll be important, to her, specifically. Even if you do know and it looks good in the store, it might not suit her. That is why scarves exist. (Though a book would be better, imo.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:24 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

- A nice set of makeup brushes; she probably has some, but it's nice to have extras. Some come in cute little travel satchels.

- A scarf. No need to worry about size then.

- Non-beauty/fashion: Does she like to try new things? I've found little gift baskets of weird/exotic foods from various shops are enjoyed by some. You know, the sorts of little imported packaged foods that a lot of us look at and think, "Huh, I wonder what that's like?", but don't buy for ourselves due to the risk, haha.
posted by iamfantastikate at 2:25 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree that it's tough to buy makeup, skincare or clothes/accessories for someone you don't know well. I'd go with a luxurious fragranced candle from Diptyque. Even if she doesn't like the scent, the candles are beautiful and high-end so still nice to display on a dressing table or such.
posted by ladybird at 2:28 AM on July 30, 2014 [11 favorites]

If she's into beauty, something she might like but not buy for herself is a designer makeup bag. This one by Ted Baker is really pretty, but you can do a general search for your budget or delivery area.
posted by billiebee at 2:55 AM on July 30, 2014

I wouldn't buy anything that is to be visibly worn, including jewellery or a scarf. They're just too personal (for example, one of the most glam women I know hates wearing scarves, as do I).

I'd suggest:

- a pure silk pillowcase in white or cream (stops your hair tangling)
- a silk eye-mask for travelling
- cashmere socks
- white 100% linen napkins
- hand/body creams in light fragrances from somewhere like l'Occitane
- a huge, fluffy white bathsheet
posted by Salamander at 2:56 AM on July 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

Something from this Etsy seller. Fairly fancy scarves in interesting patterns.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:02 AM on July 30, 2014

You can buy her anything (the Urban Decay eyeshadow palette is a fine choice) from any Sephora store in the US or Debenhams in the UK. Request a gift receipt and tuck it into the card. Then she can exchange it if she doesn't like it.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:57 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If she's really into makeup, a set of really posh makeup brushes would be something she might not splurge on for herself but would appreciate.
posted by Mchelly at 4:10 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

A beautiful evening compact would be a fun thing.

Estee Lauder makes them, as does Gueirlain.

It's an elegant little accessory that's useful and just this side of retro, without being too personal.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:31 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thanks everyone for jogging the memory that the scents she wears are far too strong and artificial. I am not alone in this view. Now considering l'Occitane jasmin and bergamote shower gel and scent which sound wonderful. Doing this mail-order so not pre-testing, however I love those 2 scents and almost anything by l'Occitane. Anyone here familiar with that particular one?
posted by claptrap at 4:43 AM on July 30, 2014

I am juat north of that age and love gifts of products that I know are expensive but I love to use, like Aesop or Salus. The brands that appeal in your area might be different, but if it is quality, I would appreciate it. At my age, I could buy them if I want but can't always justify it, but will appreciate it.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:45 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am familiar with the l'Occitane jasmine & bergamot scent - it is my absolute favourite!! Divine.

I would recommend going for the shower & bath products, rather than the spray-on scent itself, since that's a bit too much like buying someone perfume. She might not want to change her actual perfume, but I bet she would love some top-quality bath products or moisturizers.
posted by Salamander at 5:06 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit younger but am basically that demographic. I'm VERY particular about clothes and accessories and assume that she would be as well. It's too easy to go wrong.

Something that's a bit luxurious and frivolous that I might feel bad spending for myself would be GREAT e.g. hand cream or body wash from Jurlique or Aesop, a Deborah Lipmann, JINsoon or Tom Ford nail polish, ByTerry lip balm etc. One recent successful gift I was given was a pair of peshtemal towels which are great for drying my hair without breakage and great as a pool sarong as well.
posted by hellomiss at 5:20 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wait, Claptrap, are you saying that the scents she wears (and thus prefers) are too strong and artificial in your opinion and therefore you will give her scented products that are more to your liking? If so I'd highly advise against it.
(If not, apologies for assuming.)
posted by Omnomnom at 5:22 AM on July 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Omnomnom, Yes exactly what I am saying. No one I know likes her scents-she has a deficient smeller-I will be doing her a favour and anyway I get to choose when I am the giver :)) We all open the windows when she leaves the room... If she doesn't like it-that's life-at least I tried.
posted by claptrap at 5:35 AM on July 30, 2014

I loooove stinky perfumes and these boutique scents from Guy Bouchara in Grasse, France hit the note of smelling strongly but appealing. I love #2 as it is earthy & rosey but she may like #3 as it is brighter.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:36 AM on July 30, 2014

I would also advise against l'Occitane - too middle-brow. If she loves strong and artificial smells, you can't go wrong with Lush. They even have a Happy Birthday bath bomb pack with assorted fun, fizzy fragrances (with one she's bound to love) within your price range:,en_US,pd.html#start=2 If you want to appeal to the glamourpuss side, send a Diorshow black mascara, and a Nars Orgasm blush (great colour for all light-medium skin tones) from Sephora - these are universally coveted high end make up goodies.
posted by travellingincognito at 5:38 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

No one I know likes her scents-she has a deficient smeller-I will be doing her a favour and anyway I get to choose when I am the giver :)) We all open the windows when she leaves the room... If she doesn't like it-that's life-at least I tried.

It's not my business, but since you brought it up: I don't think this is a very nice sentiment with which to give someone a gift. If her strong perfume is an issue, then that's her problem, and it's not up to you to passively aggressively address it through what should be a gift given with her tastes and preferences in mind.
posted by ladybird at 6:02 AM on July 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

[Before we get too offtrack here, let's stick to the original question, folks. OP, please do not continue to comment about your disapproval of the giftee's personal taste – this isn't a chat or gossip spot.]
posted by taz at 6:11 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Given your update, my advice would be to add a gift receipt, and have the store spray one of their sniff cards with the scent you bought and put that in as well. That way she can return it if it is not to her liking, as is very likely. (Once she has tried out the scent it can't be returned - at least that's what happened to me and it's annoying to have to throw out a perfectly good and expensive bottle of scent.)
posted by Omnomnom at 6:37 AM on July 30, 2014

Exactly the demographic of the gift receiver here.
I would love:

Diptyque candle
Aesop hand cream
Cashmere socks
Chanel compact mirror
Leather/cashmere gloves
Lululemon workout gear
Pashmina (neutral coloured)
A great quality umbrella
Spa voucher

Any makeup by: Tarte, Nars, Hourglass, Chanel, Urban Decay
Any accessories from: Bowerhaus, House of Harlow, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Adia Kibur, Swarovski
posted by shazzam! at 6:38 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some of the BEST smelling soap I've ever used (at my dentist's office) was the Grapefruit one from Caldrea.

All their stuff looks really high-quality and they have nice scents. Not too artificial. They have candles too.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2014

I got Birch Box for a while, which was really interesting because it offered me things to try that I definitely otherwise would not have.
posted by vignettist at 8:09 AM on July 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, if this person is in the US, a subscription to Birch Box would be perfect! There are other skincare/cosmetic subscription services too, and it is always super fun gift to get frequent deliveries!
posted by barnone at 8:35 AM on July 30, 2014

I am your friend and nobody can ever get a gift right for me. I always always always return everything I get, and I hate that about myself, but whatever.

The two gifts I've loved were a Diptique candle (at £35 not a luxury I'd ever get for myself), and a pot of incredibly lush body cream from Jo Malone (£45).
posted by Dragonness at 10:17 AM on July 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am your friend's daughter. Things I would like from my parents' friends as gifts are things that are relatively impersonal and that I can use up. I would not like a physical non-usable/perishable item that may not be to my taste and that I would possibly end up donating to the charity shop unused and feeling bad about (scarves, books, accessories and especially not make-up [too personal! I love NARS Orgasm as much as the next 30-something but I would not want to get it as a gift from one of my parent's friends! Buying make-up for your friend's kid is fine if she's a teen but not when she's a grown woman!]).

Items possibly within your price range that I'd would like:

- Molton Brown bath/body gift set. If she's glamorous maybe she travels a lot?
- Nice scented candle from Diptique or Jo Malone

Not wrappable, really, but also:
- A bouquet of lovely flowers and bottle of decent wine!

On preview, Dragoness has good advice.
posted by bimbam at 10:27 AM on July 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone for some great suggestions-may go with Jo Malone. Sorry if I offended anyone-there are special snowflakes by the lorry-load involved as I tried to suggest by saying no books, no gift certificates or vouchers or returnables or kitchen-home gifts- sorry if my bluntness offended anyone and sorry Taz for directly answering question which I should not have done.
posted by claptrap at 12:14 PM on July 30, 2014

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