Do You Give Clothes as Gifts?

I remember the last time I got clothes as a gift. It was Hanukkah, 1994, and I had just turned thirteen. My mother had scanned the Seventeen Magazine
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I remember the last time I got clothes as a gift. It was Hanukkah, 1994, and I had just turned thirteen. My mother had scanned the Seventeen Magazine
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I remember the last time I got clothes as a gift. It was Hanukkah, 1994, and I had just turned thirteen. My mother had scanned the Seventeen Magazines on my floor - remember the one with Natalie Portman on the cover, that said "Who's That Girl?" on the front? - and realized plaid was cooler than Green Day (though really, didn't they go together?). She bought me a pink plaid baby doll dress. It looked a little bit like "Skipper Dates Kurt Cobain Behind Barbie's Back." It still had the price tag attached, from TJ Maxx. I think my mom got the hint when I was dead silent for five minutes - a rare state of being for her hyper 8th grader. I'll admit there's elements here of a spoiled suburban pout. But when a girl's too young to like boys (and weirdly, I didn't crush on anyone until I turned fifteen...), her emotions get channeled through clothes (and classic rock - I was a Beatles fiend, too). Seeing that hot pink Hanukkah gift felt like being dumped, even though I wouldn't connect the two feelings for another six years. The whole experience is slightly embarrassing, and if I could do it over, I would have totally been like, "You're the best mom in the world! What a great nightgown! I can wear this when I watch The Real World: London!" Instead, I take away something different: It's very rough to give clothing as a gift. It's hard to get the fit right - too small and they can't wear it, too big and they think you think they're fat. It's also hard to assume you know someone's personal style - "Omigosh, I can't believe he thinks I like this!" And it's hard for those shy about prices - with clothing, there's an implicit return-to-store option that usually includes a receipt. Still, some people brave the risks, sometimes with amazing results. Are you one of them? Or have you too abandoned clothes in favor of albums, yoga passes, and the latest Kid Robot toys? [editor's note: At left is the one item of clothing I would like for Hanukkah, a Luella mini dress.]