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There’s a time and place for a thoughtful, hand-made (or Etsy-sourced) gift. There’s also a time and place to show your beloved the depths of your devotion by gifting them a coveted luxury item, and it’s all the time, forever.
Full disclosure, I am the type of woman who loves a pricey gift. It’s not that I’m out here googling every present I receive to check the price tag and log it as a measure of my partner’s affection or value, but I — like many people — enjoy nice things, and I appreciate a partner who recognizes that. I am aware that you might not be dating this kind of woman — or at least may not know it if you are — but even if the woman in your life has always seemed perfectly content with the practical presents, handmade tokens of affection or “experiences” you provide in lieu of a physical gift, there’s a strong chance she might appreciate something a little more on the shiny side from time to time.
As the kind of woman who likes to be gifted nice things, I’m also aware of a common misconception in the realm of gifting, especially between romantic partners, that holds a thoughtful gift and a pricey one as mutually exclusive. After all, the best things in life are proverbially free, come in small packages, etc., etc. I get it: a nice, meaningful gift needn’t necessarily break the bank, but that doesn’t mean a pricey, luxury gift is nothing more than a flagrant, lazy or empty display of expenditure. Gifting your partner that luxury item she’s been eyeing for weeks, months or even years can be just as meaningful and generous a gesture as a scrapbook cataloguing your relationship highlights or a romantic trip to the place you first met.
Listen, if your lady is truly the kind of free spirit completely unsullied by the hands of capitalistic greed who doesn’t know the difference between Louboutin and Louis Vuitton and doesn’t wish to, then please feel free to see yourself out; this article isn’t for you. Otherwise, there’s a good chance she’s got her eye on something on this list.
Why? Because this is a list of the most classic, universally coveted luxury items on the market, according to an actual woman. Keep in mind, these are not the latest, most of-the-moment styles, so if your gal is a verified fashionista, consider looking elsewhere. These, rather, are a collection of classic, never-goes-out-of-style luxury goods for the timeless lady in your life. You say basic, I say classic. Either way, if the woman in your life doesn’t already own one of the products on this list, (which, keep in mind, there’s a good chance she might) she probably wants to. Why? Because all of her most enviable friends, coworkers, family members and celebrity idols already have it.
Cartier LOVE Ring
Cartier’s iconic LOVE collection dates back to 1970s New York and is perhaps the most immediately recognizable way to show a woman you love her, and for her to show friends, family and strangers that she is beloved. Not ready to put that kind of ring on it, but want the world to know your woman is taken? This ring will send the right message.
Cartier LOVE Bracelet
Still wary of gifting a woman a ring and the potential fallout of it not being the ring? Go with the Cartier LOVE bracelet instead. Same message, same iconic design, sans the whisper of wedding bells.
Tiffany Diamonds by the Yard Single Pendant
Present a woman with anything that comes in Tiffany’s signature little blue box, and you’ve already won. I like to think of the Diamonds by the Yard Pendant, designed by the late and great Elsa Peretti, as something of a “starter diamond.” Gifting diamonds is a relationship milestone, and this piece represents a relatively affordable, understated way of easing into that phase of gift giving. The stone is available in various carat sizes, but even at its biggest, the necklace remains delicate, classic and unimposing.
David Yurman Petite Albion Ring
David Yurman’s Albion collection was introduced in the ’90s, designed to feature a dramatic center stone that wasn’t overstated, and thus remained fit for everyday wear. The Petite Albion has since become the more iconic piece than its larger counterpart, and it’s available in a variety of different stones.
Michele Deco Madison Two-Tone 18K Gold Diamond Dial Watch
Compared to other major players in the watch biz, Michele has a relatively short history. The brand traces its origins back to the 1940s but has only existed as we know it today since the 1990s. Still, the label’s “by women, for women” branding has quickly attracted a loyal following, and the Michele watch remains a popular leader in designer timepieces made originally and specifically for women.
Essential Elements 18K White Gold & 7-9MM White Cultured Akoya Pearl Strand Necklace
If you’re going to gift a woman pearls, Mikimoto is the way to go. Founder Mikimoto Kokichi is credited with culturing the first pearl in the late 19th century, making pearls more accessible and essentially killing the natural pearl market. You don’t have to know what any of that means; all you need to know is that Mikimoto is the name in pearls — the equivalent of what Tiffany or Harry Winston is to diamonds.
Louboutin So Kates
Created for model Kate Moss, of “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” infamy, the Louboutin So Kates are among the label’s most iconic red-bottomed designs. A sky-high pump literally fit for a supermodel, the So Kates combine sophistication and sexiness into one classic heel. That said, the So Kates are notoriously difficult to walk in, so if your woman isn’t used to regularly strutting runways on stilts, I’d recommend going for the Kates: same ultra-sleek, iconic style, just a slightly less intense pitch, which makes them infinitely easier to walk in.
Louboutin Pigalle Follies
The So Kates were actually adapted for Kate Moss from the Pigalle Follies, which have been a Louboutin staple since they were introduced in 2004. Technically, these are the older, arguably more iconic pump, and with a slightly thicker heel and less dramatic pitch, they’re easier to walk in and arguably better suited for daytime wear. So if the woman in your life is looking for a slightly more professional, less overtly sexy fit, these are the way to go.
Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Pumps
You may know Manolo Blahnik from Sex and the City, if from nowhere else. Carrie Bradshaw is famous for her well-documented, heavily unrealistic penchant for designer footwear — Manolos, specifically. The satin Hangisi pumps, which Bradshaw famously donned for the wedding-that-wasn’t in the first film adaptation of the series (sorry, spoilers) were introduced in 2008 and remain one of the brand’s most iconic pieces.
Jimmy Choo Lance
The Jimmy Choo Lance sandals made their debut in 2008 and have since become a red-carpet staple, worn by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson. For a go-to luxury dress sandal, it doesn’t get more iconic than the Lance.
YSL Opyum Sandals
If, on the other hand, the woman in your life favors statement over subtlety, this is the sandal for her. The YSL Opyum Sandals feature the brand’s iconic monogram in a can’t-miss, gold-toned heel, ensuring everyone will know the woman wearing them is rocking some fancy footwear.
Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM
You know this bag, or if you don’t, I can guarantee you’ve at least seen it. Where? Why, on the shoulder of at least one woman on every subway car, street corner and office building in every city in the country. Every woman on the face of the earth has this bag, and if she doesn’t, she wants it.
Chanel Classic Handbag
Not to be dramatic, but the Chanel Classic Flap is one the most important accessories in fashion history. Adapted from the iconic 2.55 handbag designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1955, the Classic Flap was created by late fashion giant Karl Lagerfeld in the 1980s, and remains one of the brand’s most coveted pieces.
YSL Envelope Bag
Chances are you’ve seen one of these hanging off a shoulder near you at some point in your life. Like many of the brand’s designs, the Envelope Bag prominently features the YSL monogram, and this classic design has had a major moment in recent years.
Louis Vuitton Horizon 70
In one of the most cringeworthy lines from the 2007 premiere of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim Kardashian admits that her family comes with a lot of baggage, “But it’s like Louis Vuitton baggage; you always want it.” Cringy, but true. Louis Vuitton luggage is the ultimate travel flex; always has been, always will be.
Gucci GG Marmont Wallet
The Gucci Marmont collection made its debut on the Gucci runway back in 2016, and since then, the line’s signature double-G insignia has been seen on belts and bags pretty much everywhere you look. The Marmont Wallet, specifically, has topped the Lyst Index’s ranking of most popular designer fashions in recent years, and has been sported by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Emily Ratajkowski.
The Kate bag is easily one of YSL’s most timeless and consistently popular bags. Regularly sported by celebs, the iconic flap bag is one of the brand’s most recognizable, glamorous designs.
Clothes and Accessories
Burberry Mid-length Chelsea Heritage Trench Coat
Burberry basically invented the trench coat. No, really. Founder Thomas Burberry is credited with creating and patenting the Tielocken in 1912, from which the trench later evolved. To this day, outerwear doesn’t get more classic than a Burberry trench.
Burberry Classic Check Cashmere Scarf
One of the most recognizable plaids in the world, if not the most, Burberry’s classic check has been adorning scarves so iconically and for so long it’s basically the only scarf. If I asked you to close your eyes and picture a scarf, there’s a good chance you’d picture Burberry’s, even if you didn’t know what Burberry was.
Oliver Goldsmith Manhattan Sunglasses
Famously worn by the Audrey Hepburn as the Holly Golightly in the 1961 classic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the Oliver Goldsmith Manhattan Sunglasses are about as iconic as eyewear gets.
Return to Tiffany Heart Tag Key Ring
If the woman in your life had a Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16 or generous parents in the early 2000s, chances are she owned this style in the form of a chunky necklace, bracelet or both. But while the Return to Tiffany collection is a staple of early aughts fashion, it actually dates all the way back to 1969, and it all started with a key ring. Originally, each key ring was assigned a serial number and registered, so if the owner lost their keys, they could, literally, be returned to Tiffany’s 5th Avenue Flagship and reclaimed by their rightful owner. The serialization system has long since been retired, but the design lives on in a complete collection of “Return to Tiffany” heart tag jewelry. Still, the key ring remains the most classic way to honor this iconic design.
La Perla Maison Black Satin Slip
There are plenty of quality, non-Victoria’s Secret lingerie brands out there, but if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of pretty underthings, look no further than La Perla. A black satin slip is the little black dress of lingerie, and La Perla’s embroidered Maison slip is among the most luxurious versions of this timeless wardrobe staple you can buy.
Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999 Satin
If the woman in your life likes a classic red lip, this is the classic red lip. Dior’s 999 shade dates back to 1953, when Christian Dior created the “perfect” shades 9 and 99 for his models to wear on the runway. In 2013, the shades were revived and updated as the 999 we know today, continuing Dior’s legacy as the first name in red lipstick.
Louboutin Khol Eyeliner
Compared to other major designers like Chanel and Dior, Louboutin is a relative newcomer to the luxury beauty space, but the makeup line’s luxe design — inspired by the sky-high stilettos for which the brand is best known — has made Louboutin’s beauty products some of the most recognizable in the designer beauty catalogue. Inspired by Louboutin leather, the brand’s liquid eyeliner draws a line as sleek and glossy as the patent leather red bottoms that defined the luxury footwear brand.
Chanel No. 5 Perfume
Chanel No. 5 is the word “iconic” embodied. There is no other fragrance — arguably no other luxury product, period — that even begins to approach No. 5’s level of fame, recognition and endurance. Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, couture’s own signature scent continues to evoke, as Coco Chanel herself put it, “the scent of a woman.”
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