Every Valentine’s Day, the pressure of what gifts to give your friends, your lovers, and anyone else who’s special in your life mounts—until you end up buying a box of chocolates and calling it a day. But you don’t have to stress at the prospect of finding the perfect gift, especially ones that are of the opulent variety. Take it from the women featured below—podcast hosts, TikTok superstars, novelists, meme account curators, and creative directors—all of whom know how to live a luxurious life year round. When you’re springing for that last-minute Valentine’s Day gift, it’s always a good idea to heed advice from an all-around baddie.
Patia Borja wears many hats: admin and curator behind @patiasfantasyworld, model, UX Designer. She’s also big on giving gifts when it comes to Valentine’s Day. “Let’s be real, Telfar is the best. If I could, I would get everyone I love a bag, but they’re always sold out and I’m always too late for the bag security program,” she says. “Gold hoops are quintessential! You can’t go wrong with them. I love the idea of split-heart BFF necklaces, so with Telfar hoops, I would keep one hoop and gift the other to a close friend for that exact effect, but cooler.”
There’s also the home decor present, which she’s not opposed to giving, either: “If you’re going to gift someone an object, I think it’s important that it’s practical and something iconic that can belong in anyone’s home. In New York, people are always still ‘working’ on decorating their apartments and people are always looking for the ‘perfect’ lighting situation. A Tobias Grau lamp solves that problem. They’re sexy.”
If all else fails, you can never go wrong with giving someone chocolate: “Royce Chocolate is also the best chocolate in the world. The texture is unreal,” she says. “Nothing compares. Nothing!!!”
As for gifts to receive, there’s nothing wrong with going the handmade route. In fact, if you’re giving a gift to Patia, you might as well make a note or a card instead of buying something off the shelf: “A handwritten card/letter/drawing is the perfect gift for me! I hate when people buy me things…unless it’s something I specifically have displayed interest in, but I always cherish things people make specifically for me so much more,” she says. You could also give her a little bit of your time. “A fun Valentine’s Day moment would be getting kind of drunk at brunch for hours and then going to a museum or something! I like simple IRL moments!” she says, adding, “It doesn’t have to be necessarily with a crush or lover!”
And if you simply must give her something you did not make yourself, you can always give her the gift of Wagyu steak from Japanese Premium Beef: “It melts in your mouth and ideally I would like to have a fridge full of it at all times, but then I would go broke if I actually paid for it consistently, so I would like to receive this from my friends who are reading this.”
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Novelist Marlowe Granados knows a thing or two about living your own definition of a luxurious life. When it comes to giving gifts on Valentine’s Day, she’s committed to giving the gift of luxury. “If I had all the money in the world and if my boyfriend was very nice, I would give him a sweater from Loro Piana. Everyone enjoys a beautiful cashmere, but Loro Piana's sweaters in particular feel effortlessly luxurious,” she says. “Plus, it's Kendall Roy's favorite.”
According to Granados, you can’t go wrong with a simple candle or a silk pillowcase as a gift, either. “Whenever someone asks me what to gift a friend I always say an expensive candle or a silk pillowcase. People who don't sleep on silk pillowcases don't know what they're missing!” she says. “I know it's supposed to be good for your hair and skin, but really it just feels nice. Look for pillowcases made from mulberry silk with a high momme count (that's the weight of silk—the higher the count means the better the quality).”
For the stay-at-home type, there are the simple pleasures like boxer shorts that Granados thinks make a good gift to give. “I think everyone should have a pair to walk around the house in...or at least walk from the bed to the fridge,” Granados says.
On the receiving end, Granados would be happy with a couple things: a first edition book, for one, or a Mason Pearson hairbrush. “There's nothing like first edition books. Whether it's a novel or a big photography tome, I think the effort implied in the search is romantic in itself! You can really tell how well the person knows you by the title they choose,” she says. And as for the brushes, she considers herself a Mason Pearson devotee. “I've written thousands of words on the subject. They just look and feel so lush and make your hair beautiful,” she explains. “It's one of those things people don't think to invest in, so when someone gives one as a gift it's such a lovely gesture. The classic ruby color is my favorite.”
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Serena Shahidi, or @glamdemon2004, as you may know her on TikTok or Twitter, wants you to have a good time on Valentine’s Day, especially if you have the sort of sensibility that can appreciate a good camp moment in the middle of February. “Cute barware is always a safe and sexy bet for anyone who drinks,” she says, choosing a set of “particularly retro-fabulous” glasses to pour your Valentine’s Day cocktails.
There’s also the chic option that is a cigarette holder. “This Etsy shop’s vintage-inspired cigarette holders (that can also be used as a wallet and/or a business card holder) are such a cute, glamorous little gift,” she says. “Plus, the store also has compact mirrors and pill boxes—all the essentials!”
Or, if you have a sense of humor about the holiday, she recommends you slip your best friend a very particular book: He’s Just Not That Into You. “This book is a literary classic and a perfect Valentine’s gift for a friend,” Shahidi says. “It serves as both a campy piece of 2000s nostalgia and as a reminder we all need from time to time!”
To receive, Shahidi is looking for two gifts: an Agent Provocateur slip (“Slips are a wardrobe essential because they are appropriate for the two most important activities—seduction and moping around”) and a lipstick holder. “The glamour of a Valentine’s-appropriate red lipstick is undeniable, and it should be respected with an equally chic holder!” she says.
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The New York City-based author and journalist Mary H.K. Choi plans to indulge fully in Valentine’s Day with a spread of jewelry, clothing, cookies, and a toke or two on the docket for February 14. Choi will be giving her close friends and family Levain Bakery’s signature cookie assortment—an NYC classic. “I go for the double chocolate,” she says. “It’s controversial, but I enjoy mine from the fridge a few days after baking because they’re crunchy and dense and moist and insanely decadent.” Surely she’ll snag a few baked goods for herself, which will factor in perfectly with another gift she’s hoping to receive: a bedazzled, crystal fringe lighter case by A-morir. “What more information does one require about a ludicrously louche Zsa Zsa Gabor moment when you light up your analog THC delivery system in the darkest of winter?,” Choi says. “It’s a morale booster.”
Along with plans for decadence comes a much more functional–albeit still self-care-adjacent—gift: The Backbridge, a stretching device that provides at-home back pain treatment and is said to improve posture. “This is ultimate sexiness and the pinnacle of self pleasure in that you can get rid of howling lower back pain and tech neck in just four minutes a day,” Choi explains. “This is what everyone over 35 in my life is receiving for every event until they’re all duly supplied because they genuinely cut complaints by a large margin, which is very romantic.”
For these activities and more, Choi will wear the Waystar Royco-branded navy mock turtleneck sweatshirt on her wishlist, along with a delicate diamond and gold eternity band from Sachi jewelry that her friend Carol Lim gifted her. “It was so emo and grand and exactly the sort of gesture you pull as a last-ditch effort to rekindle affection when one of you decamps for L.A. because: ‘family,’” she says.
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This year, creative director and cofounder of the London-based creative studio and digital agency Morning.FYI Lydia Pang will be trading gifts with her husband, Roo Williams, on Valentine’s Day. On her list: merch from the Shoreditch Taiwanese noodle house Bao (she’s hoping for a t-shirt depicting a “man chilling in a noodle bowl,” Pang says), a set of human teeth strung onto a pearl necklace by Simone Rocha, and a catalogue from the art gallery and community events space, Home.
As for gifts she’ll give to her “hub” as she lovingly calls him, Pang plans to purchase Wood Wood’s Hayden midlayer jacket, (“a chic tech tailored moment,” Pang says,) an oyster mushroom indoor growing set from North Spore and, of course, a heartfelt card to top it all off. She has her eyes on this specific flaming-hearts piece from the LGBTQIA+-led design studio, Pagemasters.