In December of 1928, "fashion maven" Lucien Lelong wrote a syndicated column about what women want for Christmas. "I find that in most cases they love best the small extravagance of life," he wrote. "Only the unimaginative like the utilitarian gift. A bottle of perfume, a scarf, a jewel, a bag, powder, rouge, a negligee, a flower, anything that is not an actual necessity, but a charming extravagance, is an agreeable gift to almost any woman." Monsieur Lelong gave tips on how to select these presents: "If you are choosing perfume - and what woman doesn't like it? - select a scent that is famous and fine." For jewels, he suggested, "the new metal daytime jewelry, or crystals, or rosequartz. Type and style will depend on the person to receive them." As for scarves, "choose between sports scarfs, daytime or evening scarfs, and you will be guided by the interests of [your] friend." And what of the other gifts?
A capacious bag which carries a small but useful umbrella for the woman who goes out every day — an evening bag of fine old brocade for the lady who loves the correct things for evening. Choose felt flowers for the sports woman, and fragile flowers for the friend in love. Pajamas are the smartest of gifts for certain ladies, and negligees for others.
So, are women today very different from 1928? Would you gladly accept any of Monsieur Lelong's suggestions as gifts? And if not, what do you want for Christmas? (New camera? Cashmere sweater? Ryan Gosling?)
Monday, Dec. 17, 1928: What Women Want For Christmas [Star-Tribune]