Buying clothes as a gift guide: what to look for and what to avoid

Looking online, or glancing at a shop window on a trip to town we often get a glimpse of an item that has future birthday, Christmas, anniversary or spur of the moment gift for someone written on it. And when we list all of the possible Irish gifts available to buy, gifts of all types from beautiful pieces of Celtic jewelry, functional and practical homeware and garden essentials, books, DVD’s and music albums, personal fragrances and scents, food and drink items, gift vouchers to favourite stores or venues as well as the latest high tech gadgets and items of technology all immediately spring to mind as future gifts for loved ones and colleagues. Clothes on the other hand often unless they are bought for babies and children under the age of nine are often met with caution. Why?

Of the huge choice of gift options to consider for all manner of occasions, buying gifts of clothes for a loved one is often met with a mixture of caution and wariness and usually displayed in popular culture as potentially embarrassing gift to receive. Remember the Christmas jumper that had Mr Darcy in a cranky mood in the film Bridget Jones Diary?

But why do so many people baulk at the idea of presenting an item of clothing as a gift for a friend or family member? The reason alongside the difficulty of figuring out correctly a persons individual style and fashion sense is size.

With sizes varying in different stores and across different countries, and mentioning ones clothes size being an unlikely subject to appear in a typical dinner conversation, it can be hard to guess a persons correct clothing size, unless you are very good friends or a close family member. And getting a gift of a dress, trousers or shirt in the wrong size (too big or too small) can sometimes open up a can of worms especially if someone is sensitive to their weight. So unless you know the person inside out and are privy to their exact clothes size and shape as well as knowledge about their sense of style and humour, then shopping for clothing gifts can be a minefield.

But buying clothes for someone to present as a gift needn’t be ruled out. For if done correctly and chosen wisely gifts featuring key clothing essentials such as a cosy knitted pair of mittens or cosy hat, quirky and soft bedroom socks, cashmere scarfs, luxury leather gloves, or stylish statement pieces such as timeless and long lasting aran sweaters for that long lost Irish relative in need of a warm jumper and a slice of heritage, can be a memorable and most welcome of traditional Irish gifts. Indeed clothes are often the more personal and thoughtful of gifts to receive as a present and can last a long time. The trick is to know a persons exact clothing size (which can be difficult to find out) and be aware of their individual fashion sense.

So whilst seeming the most tricky of all gifts as clothing can seem very personal and therefore daunting, if chosen wisely via items that give size more leeway (scarfs, gloves, Irish wool socks and oversized jumpers are safe) gifts of clothes can be a great and long lasting option to consider whether it be for a birthday or as a Christmas gift. As with all great gifts, personal gifts if chosen correctly can be a winner and one that will be remembered and appreciated for years to come. So if buying a gift of an iconic Irish knit sweater, a funky well designed t-shirt, a luxury scarf or a simply divine pair of winter mittens is your idea of a good gift, then remember to keep in mind three essential points. Check the size, keep in mind individual fashion tastes and overall style and if all goes wrong keep the receipt as an unique Irish gift. With these tips in mind, if passing a clothes shop and an adorable knitted sweater or a cute pair of winter gloves in future has you thinking of a certain stylish friend at Christmas time, then why not take the plunge and consider adding clothes and fashion accessories to your potential gift item list.

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