Gift Guide: Must-Have Luxury Items for Everyone in Your Life
In the same way that Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, the day after Halloween seems to serve as the unofficial opening day of the holiday season. (Regardless of whenever pumpkin spice lattes hit the market—even before Labor Day—each year.)
Thus, ye olde holiday shopping time is here, and some retailers trot out blockbuster deals as soon as Nov. 1. (In this digital day and age, if you’re waiting until the day after Thanksgiving, you’re doing it wrong.)
However, not everyone has time to shop around (IRL, in stores, no less) and look for the latest items on the market that might appeal to loved ones and colleagues on his or her gift-giving list. (Nor is there time to shop for oneself, because, let’s be honest, we look at holiday gift guides and deals for ourselves just as much as for others.)
With that in mind, here is a helpful list of luxury items worthy of a splurge or two.
Wax Buffalo Alicia Reisinger says she founded Wax Buffalo, a pure soy candle company based in Lincoln, Neb., because she believes in creating “marvelous and imperfect handmade products for the modern home.” After researching the prevalence of toxic household items, Reisinger set out to produce chemical-free products for the home, starting with pouring candles in her kitchen for family and close friends. Today the Wax Buffalo team consists of freelance female employees all pursuing the mission of “empowered women, empowering women.” The nine-ounce and 16-ounce candles come in a bouquet of different scents, from blood orange to rosemary and mint to fresh-cut grass. Special to the season this year is the Whiskey Tumbler Candle, which, while burning, emits aromas of warm vanilla-scented tobacco with notes of honey. Once the soy candle has burned away, the glass can be used as a tumbler for your favorite bourbon—after it has been properly cleaned, of course. Suggested retail price: Starts at $22
Beautycounter The planning of skin care routines—a wildly popular topic (and to an obsessive extent)—has jumped from the pages of magazines like Allure and Glamour only to inspire countless Reddit forums and YouTube videos, as well as influencers sharing their “secret finds” via Instagram. It can be daunting, intimidating, and exhausting trying to figure out what works best for you—or even where to get started. If you’re in the latter camp especially, finding an all-in-one set from toner to lotion may be the best place to start. And Beautycounter’s Countertime Collection fits the bill. Encased in frosted, peony-hued glass bottles, the Countertime Collection includes a cleansing oil, a moisturizing essence, a serum, a daily soft cream, a heavier overnight cream, and an eye cream. These products are lightweight on your face with barely any hint of fragrance, leaving your skin feeling light, dewy, and hydrated. Featuring Beautycounter’s plant-derived Retinatural Complex, the collection is designed to visibly firm, brighten, and plump the skin over time. SRP: $382 for the full set
Recognizing that an end-to-end skin care regimen is just as important for men as it is for women, the Counterman Collection is a lightweight, non-greasy set of products designed specifically for men’s skin and facial hair. Featuring the brand’s proprietary sequoia leaf cell extract, the collection was designed to protect skin from environmental stress; it includes a cleanser for scrubbing away dead skin cells, a clarifying toner to remove residual dirt, an oil-free face lotion, smoothing shaving cream, a cooling aftershave tonic, conditioning beard oil, and a charcoal body wash and body bar to detoxify skin. SRP: $188
Vintner’s Daughter True to its name, the company was founded in Napa Valley, Calif., with only one product: the Active Botanical Serum. And it has been praised by beauty editors as the holy grail of skin care in years since. The 100% active facial oil is composed of 22 ingredients from nutrient-dense, whole botanicals, including grape seed, evening primrose, rose hip, and turmeric. It is the balance of botanical and essential oils that enables the serum to deliver multi-correctional results to all skin types. The company has since expanded to produce a second product, an Active Botanical Essence, made from 13 nutrient-rich botanicals—including vitamin C, micro and mini hyaluronic acid, probiotics, and plant stem cells—for daily hydration and repair. SRP: $185 for the serum; $225 for the essence
Lunya Sleepwear brand Lunya’s signature fabric, washable silk, is both hypoallergenic and thermoregulating, meaning it should maintain your body temperature at a comfortable spot while you sleep. And, yes, Lunya items really can be thrown in the washing machine. Luxury made even easier—and silkier. SRP: $238
Feit The price tag may seem steep for a pair of sneakers, but these sneakers are a better investment than most dress shoes as they will not only serve you longer and more often—but they’ll look incredible while doing so. If you’ve ever wanted to exude cool Scandinavian style in one step (pun intended), this is your ticket.
All Feit shoes are made from start to finish by one master craftsman. The one-piece upper is sewn by hand directly to the midsole. A cork footbed and a bamboo shank stabilizer are added before cementing the leather outsole to the midsole with a natural, water-based glue. The hand-sewn latex low-tops, in particular, come with an extra set of cork and buffalo leather insoles to assist with in-between sizing. Additional leather insoles can be used alone, or the cork can be inserted underneath the leather for extra padding.
Bottom line: Investing in a pair of good shoes is great way to take care of yourself. And given their sophisticated look, Feit shoes are suitable for the office or walking all day while traveling.
All Feit footwear is guaranteed against defects for life and covered under warranty for wear and tear. When that wear and tear becomes too much, all Feit products no longer in use can be returned to any Feit flagship store, and those who donate a pair of Feit shoes will receive a $100 credit toward future purchases. SRP: $600 for the hand-sewn latex low; $650 for the lugged runner
Sarah Flint Move over, Manolos, and leave your Louboutins behind. There is a new up-and-comer in the world of women’s dress shoes. Founder Sarah Flint says her eponymous brand was inspired by feedback about pain points so common to many (if not most) designer pumps. So after years of product development and fit testing, the Perfect Pump debuted with anatomical arch support, an expanded toe box, and extra foot padding—making for a pair of heels that should be comfortably snug. And comfortable they are as Sarah Flint has enjoyed rave reviews for not sacrificing style for comfort (or vice versa).
Sarah Flint also has the unofficial royal stamp of approval as a favorite of Meghan Markle’s. The Duchess of Sussex is frequently photographed at public events in the Perfect Pump heels. SRP: Starts at $355 for the Perfect Pump 50 in gunmetal lamé fabric.
Courant Styled after a classic valet tray, Catch:3 is wireless-tech maker Courant’s flagship product, designed to combine fast wireless charging with accessory organization. Just line up your compatible phone (such as the iPhone 11 or Pixel 3a), and let it charge in a comfortable spot while you remove your watch and drop your keys down in the very same place—all ready to collect when you’re ready to go. SRP: $175
Flaviar Spirits subscription club Flaviar has released not one but two different calendars this year: Flaviar’s Whiskies of the World and Spirits of the World. The Whiskies of the World collection—including award-winning drams, single malts, grain whiskies, bourbon, and ryes—will take you around the globe from Ireland and Scotland to Texas and Spain and even Taiwan. Spirits will include the usual bunch (gin, vodka, and rum) but also some special treats (Armagnac, cognac, and aquavit)—Madre Mezcal, Hardy Legend 1863 Cognac, and Pisco Logía among them. Both calendars ship to the U.S., and each will include 24 drams, plus a Glencairn glass and a tasting booklet. SRP: $250, including presale offers of up to $50 off for Flaviar members
Absolut Elyx Simultaneously classic and modern with its rose-hued, copper-plated, stainless-steel exteriors, this eight-piece deluxe martini kit will inspire you to be stirring (not shaking, seriously, regardless of whatever James Bond says) your martinis all winter long. The set provides all the bar tools and glassware you’ll need (including a julep strainer and a pair of cocktail coupes) plus a comprehensive martini-recipe guide. And Absolut Elyx says for each of its boutique items sold, the Swedish vodka maker will donate funds through its partnership with Water for People to provide access to one week of safe water (140 liters) to someone in need. SRP: $279
Great Jones Some might say that getting a Dutch oven is a stepping-stone into adulthood. But the Dutch oven has gotten a makeover thanks to cookware startup Great Jones, cofounded by former New York magazine writer Sierra Tishgart and Maddy Moelis, a veteran of Lola and Warby Parker. Available individually or as a Family Style set (with several candy-colored shades to choose from for the cast-iron Dutch oven), Great Jones’ fully-clad and nonstick stainless-steel pots and pans are designed with specific use cases in mind (i.e., soups vs. stir-fries) to make cooking manageable for the busy home cook. SRP: $395 for the complete set
10 Grove Some people talk about breakfast in bed as a luxury, but really you should just be focusing on the quality of the bed itself. And after the mattress, that starts with the bedding. Touting sheets that “look and feel like heaven, but don’t cost the earth,” 10 Grove produces a quartet of upscale, modern styles of bedding in percale and sateen fabrics. And for online shoppers wary of buying bedding without seeing or touching it in person, 10 Grove offers an online “blind feel test” (more like a quick diagnostic quiz) to help you make your selection. SRP: Packages start at $150 for a fitted sheet and a pair of pillowcases, and scale upward to $430 for “the whole shebang,” consisting of a fitted sheet, pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a duvet cover.
Brookstone An iconic brand widely known for innovative gifts, gadgets, and home solutions, Brookstone will relaunch this fall under new ownership, with exciting new products and a new retail partner: Bed Bath & Beyond. Brookstone will also be available at 30 retail stores in major airports across the country. The BioSense Charcoal-Infused Pillow consists of a memory-foam shell and removable charcoal-infused cover; charcoal is a natural purifier that helps absorb and eliminate odors and also promotes healthy skin. The memory-foam shell provides support and is filled with the brand’s Better Than Down for comfort. SRP: $59.99.
Rove Concepts Although based in the Pacific Northwest, Rove Concepts specializes in developing mid-century-style European furniture inspired by the likes of Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll. With its subtle Scandinavian look the Lucas Sideboard is a statement piece that’s both durable and eye-catching. Framed by a luxurious wood veneer and featuring a white lacquer finish, the Danish sideboard can serve as a beautiful storage space for multiple use cases thanks to the Italian-engineered soft-close drawers and cabinet doors.
For smaller spaces that still require a bit of extra seating, the supple leather-outfitted Pavilion Bench can sit at the end of a bed, in an entryway, along the wall of a living room, or even double as a footrest or coffee table with a tray on top. SRP: $1,195 for the Lucas Sideboard; $1,195 for the Bench
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