Together 2004
Published: February 4, 2004

How to buy
A guide for the clueless guy (or gal)

by Elizabeth White

With time running out until the big event, there is help yet for all those clueless men and women -- and there are many -- who don't know what to get their loved ones for Valentine's Day.

According to Rhonda Tatemichi, a personal shopper for Macy's By Appointment at Stanford Shopping Center, there are some classic gifts that won't miss on Feb. 14.

"A piece of jewelry, a piece of lingerie, chocolate -- those are the most popular," said Tatemichi, who has 12 years' experience in the business.

The first thing to do, however, in shopping for a romantic gift is to decide on a price range. That will narrow down options to something manageable, she said.
"We could sell them diamond earrings or we could sell them candy. The more you see and the more ideas that you get, you can make a more educated decision."

One thing to do is ask yourself questions about what you want the gift to say to your loved one. Flowers are not trite or overdone, as long as they communicate a personal message, she said.

Red is always in fashion for Valentine's Day, and pink can work, too. A personalized spa basket is also an increasingly popular gift. For something a little more personal but not too intimate, a frame is nice, if one tracks down a flattering picture of the couple. "It seems boring, but ... pictures say a thousand words," she said.

For men, a nice red golf shirt could send the right message, and Tatemichi said it's not inappropriate to give chocolate to your male counterpart.

"Just put a bottle of champagne with it," she added.

For those who are early on in their relationship, Valentine's Day can be an awkward time, but couples who have only been dating a couple of weeks can still give each other chic gifts.

"I would just say not a piece of fine jewelry but something tasteful to remember the occasion by," she said. "Something simple."

And it's not unromantic for a couple with children to tender kids' clothes on the special day.

"Just surprising somebody with a gift I think is always romantic," she said. "I don't think in love it really matters."