Guest column: Think twice about gifts of clothing for the holidays
As you make out your holiday shopping list, you are sure to find a variety of things on it. Some popular items may include toys, household items or electronics.
Some shoppers may opt to give the gift of a textile item this year, said Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension clothing specialist.
“There are several things you need to keep in mind if you’re planning to give clothing to a family member or friend,” Ruppert-Stroescu said. “First of all, make sure you know the style and color preferences of the person for whom you’re buying. You might like bright, bold colors, but your granddaughter may prefer more subdued tones. While you may love a turtleneck sweater, your daughter may not. You don’t want to give a gift that will simply hang in the back of the closet.”
In addition to style and color, consider the proper care required for the garment. It may not be a good idea to give a dress that needs to be dry cleaned to a young girl if the dress would need to be cleaned often.
Another factor to keep in mind is the recipient’s textile care habits. If you know the person throws all fabric types and colors into the washing machine together, you might want to pass on purchasing that cute wool sweater you found at the mall.
“Proper care of textiles is important to ensure the garment looks good throughout its lifetime,” Ruppert-Stroescu said. “Washing and drying a wool sweater will likely shrink it to half its size, rendering it unwearable for the gift recipient. It’s not a good idea to buy clothing that requires special care for someone who won’t take the time to care for it properly.”
In addition to giving clothing gifts during the holidays, this time of year also will find many people dressing up for special parties and get togethers. Instead of buying something new, here are a few tips to stretch your holiday fashion dollars.
“While it’s always fun to buy something new, spending money on clothing may put a dent in the funds you have available for other holiday needs,” she said. “Instead, think about accent pieces to dress up your existing wardrobe. Scarves, tights with fun patterns or statement earrings from the discount store can really dress up that little black party dress.”
Another option for holiday gatherings could be pairing a red dress with black, green or gold accent pieces. That same dress can then be paired with white, pink or silver pieces in the spring. The same dress can have two completely different looks.
“When it comes to stretching your wardrobe, a few dollars spent on different accessories can make you feel like you’ve got several new outfits for little cost,” Ruppert-Stroescu said. “This time of year it’s a good idea to keep your spending in check.”
Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.