I come from a family of indecision. There are no choices, whether life altering or seemingly inconsequential, that do not incite evaluation, pontification, or self-analysis and reflection. What color to paint the living room walls requires a jury. Family, friends, and strangers at the hardware store are selected to weigh in on the aesthetic deliberations. In reality, we have made up our minds at first swatch. But, plagued by deep neurosis that requires us to challenge our instincts, acceptance of what we have already determined will fit our orange and gold vision comes in stages. In other words, we must first discredit anyone else’s requested and thoughtful opinion that unknowingly contradicts the decision that has long since been made. (Benjamin Moore Aura in “Salsa Dancing” – Obviously.)

All of this is to say, we go with our gut.

So when it comes to the holiday season of gift giving, usually to ourselves, as sales are aplenty, shopping, particularly with my mother, requires patience and perseverance. On a late November jaunt a few years back, I made the mistake of popping into J.Crew with my mother on the way to the Barney’s shoe sale.

For most people with buyer’s remorse or even body dysmorphia, J.Crew is a safe place. This is not Dior Haute Couture…there are no $20,000 jewel-encrusted gowns or sky-high platforms for your ankle-twisting consideration. This is where you go when you don’t want to think – a store of admired staples that will remain in your wardrobe rotation for years to come. The white shirt, the little black dress, the classic cardigan, and a couple of brightly colored and sequined rabble-rousers for editorial eye-candy. But for my mother, we were entering a deep, dark abyss, where corduroys and cashmere play mind games.

“Do you like this dress?” my mother asks as she picks up an adorable, charcoal grey, three-quarter sleeved dress, that only my mother would look great in.

“Yes, I think that it would look great on you,” I honestly state, knowing that this dress would curse the rest of our holiday shopping venture, whether she bought the dress or not. I look around the store filled with mothers, fathers, sons and daughters checking off their nearest and dearest’s holiday wish list, and my mother is on her way to the dressing room trying to decide what tights she would have to buy for this dress that she wasn’t even sure she wanted in the first place. I follow her inside, bracing myself for the inevitable.

“Do I look fat?” she asks, knowing that I won’t answer that question. On fat days, my mother is a size 2, she doesn’t look a day over forty, and to my mother’s great pleasure, sales people constantly think that we are sisters. She doesn’t believe in exercise, eats what she wants, and knows that everything that she tries on will always look good. Yet, she still always feels the need to ask, “Do I look fat,” knowing that I will refuse to answer.

She drapes a sweater over her shoulders, looking completely adorable in the minimalist dress that any other mother would look like they were attempting to overcome a mid-life crisis in. “Do I like the dress?” she says, frowning in the mirror.

“I don’t know. Do you like the dress?,” I ask, plopping down onto the bench in the tiny dressing room.

“Do you like the dress?,” she asks me.

“I’ve already told you that I like the dress,” I answer, wondering if I will make it to Barney’s before it closes.

“Do I need the dress? What will I wear the dress to? What shoes could possibly go with this dress? Do I look too cutesy? I don’t know. Should I buy the dress?”

“Buy the %$&*&^!! dress, Mom,” I think to myself. “I think that you should get the dress,” I smile and say, knowing that dress was going home with her before she even took it often the hanger. I leave to stand on line for her, realizing that my mom doesn’t have shoes for this dress and things are destined to spiral out of control.

My mother reaches me at the cash register and puts the dress down, then picks it up and backs away. “This is ridiculous. Where will I wear the dress? What shoes go with this dress?”

I have visions of the lights within J.Crew dimming, the holiday music being turned off, and the doors firmly locking as the store closes and my mother and I are still within, deciding whether this dress is a necessary purchase.

“Mom, if you are not going to stop questioning the dress, don’t buy the dress. If you are going to spend the rest of the day wishing that you got the dress and then force Dad to come back and pick up the dress tonight, buy the dress. I cannot go home without at least one pair of booties – at a deep holiday discount – in my hands,” I say, trying to remind myself that the holidays are about togetherness and leaving her behind until morning is out of the question.

Confident with her new dress, we finally head to Barney’s….

“Do you like these shoes?,” I ask my mother…

At Garland Collection, we know that gift giving is an art. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we are helping to make your decisions a little easier with our Garland Collection Gift Guide. Here are our fine jewelry, vintage costume jewelry and vintage home go-to’s for every gal (and a few guys) on your list:

TASTEMAKER: Garland Collection fine jewelry gold, diamond, and sapphire owl pendant;  HAUTE MOM OR HIP SIS: Garland Collection rose gold and diamond initial stacking rings; NEWLYWED: Double custom ID bracelet/I Am My Beloved Bracelet; BOHEMIAN: Garland Collection yellow gold rope large hoop earrings; EVERY GIRL: Garland Collection Signature personalized pendants; HIPSTER: Diamond Initial Studs

**Please note: All Garland Collection jewelry is custom and made-to-order and can take up to 2-4 weeks to complete. For custom fine jewelry that needs to be received by a specific date, please email us at to insure that your desired items can be completed in time.

THAT GUY: Garland Collects vintage Trifari enamel cuff links; FLY GIRL: Garland Collects vintage Trifari wing earrings; STATEMENT MAKER: Garland Collects vintage Razza resin lion pendant; HAUTE HIPPIE: Garland Collects vintage Monet rope tassel lariat; RETRO PREP: Garland Collects vintage Hattie Carnegie Vishnu earrings; DESIGNER DIVA: Garland Collects vintage Karl Lagerfeld heart and arrow brooch; VINTAGE QUEEN: Garland Collects vintage unsigned Castlecliff swan bangle.

DESIGNER AT HEART: Garland Collects vintage Kahane figures; BIBLIOPHILE: Garland Collects vintage brass bookends; MAD MEN: Garland Collects vintage King Tut cocktail glasses; CONSUMMATE HOST: Garland Collects vintage swan salt cellars; QUIRKY CHIC: Garland Collects wiener dog condiment dishes; FABULOUS ENTERTAINER: Garland Collects antique grape server and shears. 



  1. Could I be a tastemaker or elegant bohemian? What about a haute hippie or designer diva? Can I be all those things??? (And none at all, all at the same time?) Love you! Xoxo


  3. Pingback: Homeward Bound | UP CHIC'S CREEK

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