Thinking of buying clothes for Christmas? Here are the rules

Buying clothes as Christmas presents is akin to high-stakes poker. Get it right, and there are rewards aplenty. Get it wrong and you could ruin both your bank balance and some of your closest relationships.

So what are the rules, and how can you reward fashion lovers with a great gift, without burning any bridges?

Steer clear of high-risk fashion gifts if you don’t want to offend anyone.Credit:Shuterstock

TV personality and the face of Melbourne's Chadstone shopping complex, Bec Judd, said one of the best presents she has received was a pair of shoes, from her husband, Chris.

"I've worn them every week this year. The size was wrong [initially], so I had to go back and swap them. So keep the receipt – always."

We know what Bec Judd is buying Chris for Christmas.Credit:DAVID CROSLING

Judd said buying clothes as gifts is especially a great idea for children.

"I would much more appreciate clothes than junky toys [for my kids]," said the mother of four.

As for adults, Judd's tip is only buy clothes for people you know well enough to gauge size and fit. "I wouldn't buy someone fashion if I didn't know them well."

The other major mistake people make when buying clothes for Christmas is they choose items that reflect their own taste, rather than that of the recipient.

One Teaspoon designer Jamie Blakey says the decision whether to gift clothing all depends on the recipient.

"People with strong personal style are easier to buy for as they go for those strong, statement pieces," she says.

If in doubt, go for a classic piece such as a white T-shirt or shirt.

"It can help bring together some staples for them. Instantly they have six new outfits [with the addition]."

Blakey says if a garment is designed to be oversized, then the fit isn't critical, and there's less chance of causing offence.

As a denim designer, Blakey said she has gifted people jeans but agrees it's a more technical garment to get right.

"It's tricky unless you know the size. With [jeans] it can be hard but you can always go for a jacket or shirt – they are staples … and pretty handy to have."

If you're shopping online, Amazon Fashion Australia creative director Ella Lymbereas suggests asking your "giftee" to set up a wish list, and then you can still surprise them with what you end up buying.

Ms Lymbereas also advises shoppers to carefully check returns policies to ensure that if a gift isn't quite right that it can be exchanged or returned without stressful time pressures.

Kate Charchalis, stylist for Universal Store, said buying fashion for Christmas can be daunting but is easier if you keep it simple.

"For girls, white linen pieces are really popular and will work for lots of different body shapes. For guys, bright party shirts are really popular. T-shirts are also a great choice, from the basics to graphic prints and vertical stripes," she says.

When it comes to buying accessories, Ms Charchalis thinks watches and straw bags are great options as "you don't need to know how the person dresses day to day" to get it right.

"And if in doubt, a gift card is always a good choice."

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