Holiday Gift Guide 2023: 8 Sensational Ideas for the Fashionista In Your Life
Gorgeous earrings, a female empowerment sweatshirt & 6 more fabulous finds
For this holiday season’s selection of the best fashion gifts, we wanted to elevate the female designers and entrepreneurs that “get us.” Many are also taking positive steps toward sustainability, and practicing fair trade and labor. Take a look at some of our fantastic fashion finds. From low-key to luxury, this is our selection of fashionable holiday gifts 2023!
There’s something so intriguing about the minimalist and delicate lingerie from Araks, founded in 2020 in Manhattan by designer Araks Yeramyan. Maybe it’s the deliberate and unusual use of color. Or, it could be the use of darts or crochet trim on bras for a retro vibe. Araks now offers way more than lingerie; the collection includes swim and beachwear, loungewear in beautiful fabrics, and even home accessories. Pajamas can be a boring gift, but not the ones from Araks. Who wouldn’t love this cute pajama top in washed silk charmeuse trimmed with contrasting pink chiffon piping and mother of pearl buttons? Pair it with the matching boxer shorts for the perfect gift. Araks strives to be as sustainable a business as possible, using “evergreen” fabrics and colorways that are always in style, as well as leftover stock, and donating unused fabrics to schools and other organizations, among other practices. Plus, everything is made in New York, another sustainable choice.
Lauryn Calf Boot ($795) by Brother Vellies
Creative director and activist Aurora James founded the luxe Brother Vellies accessories brand 10 years ago with the goal of highlighting traditional African craftsmanship and artisanal manufacturing. The company’s handbags and shoes range in design from sexy and whimsical to seriously elegant. Case in point is the high stacked-heel Lauryn boot. It comes in a variety of options, including this chic pair in washed brown suede, really the color of dark rum, as well as in bold black and white cow hair, among other iterations. Your accessories maven giftee would be thrilled with whatever you choose from here. If you plan to shop online, do so early: Vellies’ items are made by hand and quantities are limited. Additionally, in 2020, James founded the Fifteen Percent Pledge nonprofit group that partners with retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sephora, to have them commit 15 percent of their purchasing dollars to Black-owned businesses.
Turnlock Louis Bag ($435) by Clare V.
Clare Vivier, the owner and designer of the Clare V. brand of accessories, is celebrating her 15th year in business. The company has grown from a purveyor of handbags, perhaps best known for their construction in supple, brightly colored leather, to one that now includes brand collaborations, a smattering of apparel, and an exclusive Clare V. resale platform. What I love about Clare V. bags is that they come in all kinds of shapes and colors, are made in Los Angeles from very high quality leather or other materials, and are sold at prices that don’t insult your intelligence. Choosing a bag for someone else can be tricky, so opt for simplicity with this small saddle crossbody bag made from vegetable-tanned Italian cowhide. It’s a classic and reminds me of one I wore to threads back in the late 1980s.
Matriarchy Now! Sweatshirt ($190) from La Double J
La Double J definitely needs to be on this gift list! Founder J.J. Martin, a former ad and fashion executive turned fashion journalist in Milan, started her quasi-signature label of fashion, accessories, and home decor in 2015 by selling her personal collection of vintage clothing and jewelry, all of which reflected her love of pattern, color, print, and texture. The label is best known for its bright, bold prints inspired by art nouveau and art deco, among many other motifs. The latter are splashed on separates, including skirts or tops, that can be worn alone or paired for a matchy-matchy look. The company also sells some fun, less pricey basics, and we love this feminist sweatshirt in cotton felpa, a kind of fleece. The top was created in collaboration with Matriarchy Now founder and young activist Chiara Hardy.
Aztec Tears Opal Stud Earrings ($950) by Jennifer Dawes
While riding the MetroNorth suburban train last June from Westchester to New York City, I looked across the aisle and saw a woman wearing stunning gold drop earrings with colorful stones. She wore these with a casual top and worn-in jeans. Of course, I had to find out more. I introduced myself and met Santa Rosa, CA, jewelry designer Jennifer Dawes of Jennifer Dawes Design. Dawes combines her creativity in jewelry design with a commitment to sustainability, fair sourcing, and local manufacturing, using recycled metals, notably 14k–24k, from clients or metals- and tech-recycling giant Umicore, as well as ethically mined or recycled stones, among other initiatives. Everything in Dawes’ broad collection, with inspiration ranging from the Etruscan era to botanicals, is stunning. I also have a penchant for her use of textured hammered gold with opaque diamonds and rough-cut stones. It was Dawes’ use of color that caught my eye on the train (check out the gorgeous Pomegranate and Plum Ring in 18k yellow gold — wow!). For an extravagant holiday gift, we love these stunning 14k gold 6 mm studs boasting 1.5 ctw Peruvian opals in this cloudy jade color. Many of her pieces are one-of-a-kind so if there’s a style you see on her website, it might be sold out but she will work with you to create something similar.
Shiny Blue Parachute Pants ($65) by Gold Hinge
You had to have been living in a cave if you didn’t see the sorority pledges for University of Alabama and other big Southern schools explode on social media during their rush last fall. #BamaRush had garnered 3.3 billion views on TikTok by mid-August. Many videos featured #OOTD (outfit of the day) breakdowns, and these little pleated tennis skirts in a host of colors with built-in shorts from Gold Hinge, a cute, snazzy brand of athleisure, were everywhere. Company founder and designer Katherine Watercutter launched the company out of her home with just the pleated mini, and it remains the brand’s bestseller. In fact, they just launched it in a 15-inch length, about 3 inches longer than the original, in black and off-white — perfect if for the person who might want a bit more coverage. It is winter, though, so the oversized half-zip fleece ($64) is also a great find. But why should Gen Z-ers have all the fun? The label’s shiny elastic waisted slate blue parachute pants paired with a luxe sweater make for a sophisticated street vibe perfect for women of any age.
Laina Sweater ($290) by Khaite x Bonpoint
Khaite designer Catherine Holstein, who established her luxury fashion label in 2016, just won the prestigious American Women’s Wear Designer of The Year award for 2023 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. This is her second time around, having won the same award in 2020. Khaite is known for exquisitely tailored and crafted separates, pieces that can be collected from one season to the next for a subtly chic, non-trendy wardrobe. I dare you to find a more gorgeous suede jacket than Khaite’s Ross in rust or a chicer little black dress than the slip dress version trimmed with black chantilly lace. But with four-digit pricing, these might be a bit much for a holiday gift. Thankfully, Khaite has some great gift ideas, notably the cute Fair Isle merino wool Laina baby sweater from the new limited edition collaboration with French luxe children’s brand, Bonpoint. Adorable!
Midnight Rituals Remmi Mini Skirt ($188) by Tuckernuck
I have not met one woman who doesn’t love Tuckernuck, founded in 2013 by sisters Jocelyn Gailliot and Maddy Moore, and their friend September Rinnier. My younger girlfriends say that this fashion label and multi-brand retailer is the go-to for their wedding guest wardrobes. But it seems that women of all ages love this brand, named after Tuckernuck Island off of Nantucket, where the two sisters spent their summers. The Tuckernuck collection is definitely preppy, but not in the Preppy Handbook way. It’s both stylish and classic, with a good dose of fashionable flair built in. It is sold alongside a host of the founders’ fave fashion labels, including Milan’s La Double J, Paris’ Vanessa Bruno, as well as smaller sportswear brands. There’s also a bit of menswear and children’s clothing, along with fashion and home accessories. A nice way to offer curated one-stop shopping, compared with a department store that sells hundreds of brands in hundreds of styles. For the holidays, this sequined mini skirt is too much fun and will light up any gal’s night.