Ask the Editor: Vol. III, No. Nine

Jan 20, 2022

It’s been a long, tough week.  I am mentally and physically exhausted in a way I did not know was possible.  So let’s take the easy, fun way out, and answer some reader questions.

Hi,

Huge fan of your site and long time reader. I have a question for your Ask the Editor section: This summer will be my fifth wedding anniversary and my husband has heavily hinted he’s going to give me a really nice piece of jewelry. What’s the male equivalent of really nice jewelry? He’s already got a watch and isn’t really into blingy things anyway. What’s something meaningful and worthy of this big occasion that I can get for him? I’m willing to spend up to $1000.

Thanks so much! Rachel 

Because this is his area, I asked Kyle for his help.  His first instinct was to get him an expensive bottle of liquor.  In our house, a Whistle Pig Boss Hog or a special edition Hibiki Suntory would be the selection.  Visit a nice liquor store, talk to the purveyor, and see what he or she could order in.  If he’s a wine drinker, a pricey bottle is a gift and an experience (but liquor obviously lasts longer and can be enjoyed on special occasions for years to come).

Beyond that, leather goods are a nice gift — a pair of Ferragamo driving moccasins or a Tumi backpack.  I’ve also given Kyle Burberry scarves, they wear well and are timeless.

Not a clothes horse?  A great coffee maker or an expensive knife set might be a good gift.

Hi Abra,

I’ve got a Favorite Things party coming up next month and I’m wracking my brain as to what to bring. The rules are the gift should be $15-$20 and I’ll need to bring 3 of them. I was thinking of a beauty product or an everyday item and suddenly everything I love is around $40…so I’m looking for new favorite thing, any suggestions?

Kate

If it’s a beauty product you’re looking for, I have a few suggestions in that price range.  This Cicapair Color Correcting Cream, this Necessaire Hand Cream, and the Makeup Eraser, to remove your makeup without disposable wipes.  An ice roller is also a good choice, since you don’t need to have a specific skin condition to get the de-puffing benefits.

Looking for a different type of item?  These are my favorite writing pens, and I love Red Clay’s Hot Honey with Honeycomb.  Also,

Abra,

My parents moved to Wyoming last year to be closer to family.  We’re visiting them next week, and being from San Francisco, I don’t have the correct footwear.  Recommendations for a snow boot that doesn’t look like I belong on an ice floe in Alaska?

Cody or Bust

Snow boots are something about which I have very specific needs.  I don’t like my boots too heavy.  I don’t want them covered in fur (faux or otherwise).  And I don’t want zippers.

I usually wear Sorel Caribous, but I recently switched to their Out N About Classic Boot.  It’s lighter, easier to wear, and has better traction.  Also, as a bonus for women who don’t wear boots often, they aren’t so bulky that they’re hard to store away.

Other options?  Sorel’s Harlow boot gives you the look of a fashion boot with the traction and warmth of a winter boot.

But the key with these boots, as with all boots, is good socks.  Smartwool is the best brand.  They’re warm and cozy.

Yesterday, I asked if anyone had any Valentine’s Day needs not covered in the original post.  A reader left this comment: 

I’d love some more Xl/1x options, cute pjs that are still comfy to sleep in.

I’m not a wearer of plus-sizes, but I try to include plus pieces in as many posts as possible.  Recently, I’ve noticed fewer plus options available.  I’m not sure why, but some retailers seem to be pulling back on inclusive sizing.  But here is the best of what I found when I went looking.

For lingerie, Elomi is a highly rated brand.  This Matilda bra is really beautiful.  This Sachi babydoll is also a good look.  Love, Vera is also a great brand, and it’s black-owned. This lace romper is also worth a look.

Looking for something pretty and comfortable?  Natori makes the most beautiful jersey chemises.  For something a bit more affordable, try this Dreamgirl chemise.  This Oh La La Cheri satin short and lacy tank set is also nice.  Uwila Warrior also makes a cute lace-trim tank and boy short that’s a relaxed, sexy look.

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  1. Evelyn says:

    For sleep wear and lingerie, try Hips and Curves or City Chic. For racy lingerie, try Playful Promises

  2. Eleanor says:

    Elomi is the best! Can verify the brand is supportive AND sexy, I’m a fan for life!

  3. K says:

    For the XL/1X Valentine question, I recommend Savage Fenty, Rihanna’s line. There is a big variety of styles and more importantly sizes – some of the styles are pretty over the top and *racy* but this is a great onesie/romper with a hood: https://www.savagex.com/shop/sleep-and-shine-hooded-onesie-sq2149282-0687-12556576?psrc=browse_sleep. It’s really cute in person, with shimmery fabric.

  4. Nancy says:

    I really like the cotton knit JCrew PJs…altho I think the new ones might have a bit more modal in them …they go up to a 3X I think and was shocked they were generous in sizing which is not always true for JCrew.

    • E says:

      You have to really read the sizing charts in J. Crew though. I’m a 3X (top of the range) in J.Crew and only looser fit items work well, but I’m between a 1X and 2X in Lands End and I can get away with a 22 in Boden or a XXL in Ann Taylor or Gap (looser cut items). As for lingerie, I keep getting ads for Adore Me (I think my second or third cousin might be a consultant for them, not sure if they are MLM) and they appear to have a healthy plus size collection.

  5. LT says:

    Two things to add for guy’s anniversary gifts
    Upgrading a basic (belt buckle, money clip, etc) to a luxury item is a safe bet. I’ve purchased from this shop before (a sterling money clip specifically) and the customer service + quality materials just cannot be beat.
    https://comstockheritage.com

    Hear me out – bespoke handkerchiefs. I’ve bought several items over the years from this company for anniversaries and Father’s Day. It’s a lovely, personal, quality item. Excellent customer service. Only warning is lead times are long b/c most embroidery is done by hand.
    https://leontinelinens.com

    Happy gifting!

  6. E says:

    I have and love my caribous but agree they are heavy. I’m intrigued by the boot you switched to, but how is the platform? I read the description and it sounds like an ankle sprain waiting to happen for me (I wear flats exclusively and have not attempted platforms since a disastrous and painful attempt in the 90s). Is it noticeably and do the boots feel unstable at all?

  7. Jen M says:

    RE: Man gifts. For my husband’s engagement present I got him a first print edition of his favorite book. Depending on what his ‘favorite’ is early editions definitely hit around the price quoted.

  8. Jill says:

    Smartwool socks are the best, but if you want to spend a little less money try the very similar merino People Socks, available on Amazon. I’ve only had them a few months so can’t speak to longevity, but so far have been really happy with them.

  9. Sarah says:

    With respect to comfy plus size PJs, I will add that Athleta has a great PJ line now (up to 3x), and Universal Standard has some great offerings as well!

  10. Lexi says:

    Thanks for the plus size lingerie ideas! Definitely getting some. Also 2nd the poster above who mentioned Playful Promises, they have some really gorgeous stuff.

  11. Lauren says:

    Re: man gifts, my go-to is experiences: really good tickets for his favorite sports team (seats he normally wouldn’t be willing to pay for), a surprise weekend away at a fancy hotel, or great seats for a favorite band.

    • Liz says:

      I second this! With a hard to buy for husband myself, experience gifts are always something he enjoys! If he’s a sports guy, you may even be able to get ticket packages for multiple games in the season (depending on the sport) at that price point.

      Another option no one’s mentioned – if he’s into gaming, and hasn’t got the latest platform, PS5 and Xbox Series X will both run about $500 to start, and there are accessories he’ll want/need with each. Computer gaming has lots of high dollar options too for upgrades, and then there’s VR set ups.

  12. NatalIe says:

    Thank you so much!!

  13. SherYl says:

    Re: man gifts- I got my husband another watch (he had a few) for our wedding, but this was nicer. It was perfect, and he used it like I do jewelry, ie when he wears it he comments on it being our wedding watch. For our 10 year anniversary he asked for another- he got a dive watch, and now he wants a dressier one.

  14. Rachel C says:

    Two things to add/agree with –

    1. For our 10th anniversary, my husband gave me an eternity band. I gave him a bottle of his favorite whiskey and had it engraved with our anniversary date. He loved it, and we’ll keep the bottle forever.

    2. I love the sores out n about boots. I live in TN, so snow isn’t much of an issue; however, I wear mine year round when it rains. They are lighter than most rain boots, keep my feet dry and aren’t as hot.

  15. Katel says:

    For the favorite things – two kitchen ideas: 1 Stasher bags – there are sizes and colors on sale on their website 2 ceramic paring knives.

  16. Bonnie says:

    Abra,
    Do you still have your Amazon “store”? I might purchase the Jura A1. Bloomingdale’s customers indicate receiving refurbished machines. I was thinking of ordering through Amazon instead. Both for customer service and ease of ordering products to support the coffeemaker.
    I appreciate and enjoy your site so much!
    Bonnie

  17. RosaD says:

    This is very taste dependent but I do buy jewelry for the men in my life, for a big occasion I would get a simple gold chain necklace or bracelet. Obviously only works if you know he will wear jewelry but a lot of the men I know do and love getting it as a gift.

  18. Laura says:

    My fifth anniversary is also approaching, and I’m on a similar budget. I always like to do a play on what the traditional anniversary gifts are for that year. I’ve been researching this, and the “traditional” gift is wood and the “modern” gifts are flatware or sapphires. If he’s a clothes-y guy, maybe some cufflinks that incorporate sapphires? In my house, my husband and son love to build Legos, so I’m buying a (wood) table for our living room just for that purpose.

  19. Leu2500 says:

    Soma is a great source for PJs. Especially their cool nights.

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