I've worked in the retail world on and off for years now, and have found the one thing that has remained constant over the years is the difficulty men have when shopping for a woman. Whether it's a holiday gift, birthday present, or a just-because purchase men struggle with knowing what to buy and where to go. Next time you're shopping try these basic tips to ease the stress.
Note the colors she wears. You may love red, but she may look horrible in it, or maybe her old Aunt Bertha wore it too much. Stick with the colors she wears most often. Those are the shades and hues she is comfortable in and most likely looks the best in.
Know her style. Not every woman dresses the same. Some like more flare in their wardrobe, others stick to simple classic pieces. Some go for understated elegance and others opt for show-stopping attention-grabbing attire. Don't purchase the things you'd like to see her in. Go for the style she dresses in most often. Her style is something she has honed over the years and it is what she most likely feels best in.
Figure out where she shops. Do some sleuthing to find the stores she usually has luck in. Since womens clothing is much more difficult then mens, it is not about just picking up her size at any store you pick. A size 10 in one store may not be a size 10 in another store. She knows the places that fit her the best and will tend to shop those retailers most often.
Know her size! This is something you cannot guess at. And this is the one way in which you can either score points or fail big time. If she is a medium and you buy her an extra-large she might read into that purchase. Likewise if you buy a small and she is a medium the return or exchange hassle is discouraging to you and her.
Now it's time to hit the stores. Try to have something definite in mind before going out. Do you want to buy her a sweater, a skirt, a jacket, a scarf?
If you are still uncertain about what to get or you need help picking between several options your best bet would be to approach a sales associate that had a similar style or body shape as the woman you are buying for. This associate will be able to offer her suggestions of pieces she likes, what she has tried on and found to work, etc...
Do not become discouraged if you don't find anything you like or that would work for the woman you have in mind. When women shop it often takes dozens of try-on attempts to find the perfect fit. Your mission is no less daunting. Don't settle for something you're not totally convinced about. Keep looking till you find the piece she is sure to like.
Make sure to get a gift receipt with your purchase. This will ease the return or exchange process should it be necessary.