Madison Avenue Spy Gift Guide

December 8, 2009 by Lila Delilah

Madison Avenue types maybe the hardest personality to shop for. If she likes it, she buys it. So, if she (or he) has everything, what do you get? Below is a list of suggestions, along with some money saving hints. And don’t feel self conscious, everyone knows the best part of the holiday season is shopping for yourself.

1. Giuseppe Zanotti made the perfect high boot. It has a wearable heel and they can be slouched to look casual or rolled-up to go over the knee. The boots started at $1095 but are currently 30% off. We know the Giuseppe discount usually goes to 50% but this is a popular style. If your loved one is a size 8 or 11 you might luck out at, which has what looks like a very similar pair of boots for just $325.

2. Diptyque just opened a gorgeous store on Madison (@ 69th). Candles are $60, soaps $15 and perfume $120. Hint: Diptyque usually runs a sample sale in July, where candles are $25 to $35, room sprays are $25 and perfumes start at $25. For next year, remember to buy your Christmas candles in July.

3. All the uptown girls are raving over a spin studio (yes, that’s exercises) called Soulcycle. There are two locations, one on 72nd and Columbus and Third and 82nd. The 45 minute classes transpire in candlelight and combine yoga and meditation techniques. A single class is $32. We don’t know of any discounts besides buying a package but we do have a booking trick. Soulcycle classes are so popular that they usually fill up within an hour of open registration, which is noon on Monday, at We have noticed, however, that bikes open the night before from cancellations. So if you can’t think a week ahead, just pop on the site the evening before you want to spin.

4. Some people love buying fancy logo clad luggage but we think it’s much more practical not to be flashy or draw attention in an airport environment. Our go-to travel brand is Bric’s. It’s stylish enough for our travel needs and holds up. Our favorite piece is the extra large travel tote ($130) that folds to the size of a soft cover children’s book. We always pack the tote on the bottom of our suitcase and use it on way home to carry all our new purchases. We found our favorite 22″ tote on eBags for $100.

5. Every lady must have a clutch for evening occasions. You get extra points if the bag is made of an exotic skin. VBH is always an easy Madison Avenue choice. We just happen to prefer the intimacy of Paige Gamble’s boutique to the understaffed mausoleum VBH calls home. Even better, an Alligator clutch at VBH can cost you upwards of $3600 but a Paige Gamble alligator bag that’s adorned with semi-precious stones is $2800.

6. It should not be overlooked that, above all, the holiday season is about family and giving. May we suggest bringing the family to see fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi, narrate a special presentation of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, at the Guggenheim Museum. The production runs from December 10 to December 14th at 4:00pm and 5:30pm every evening. Creating family memories is more valuable than any gift.

7. Speaking of family, shopping for toys uptown can be a disaster. Toys at local stores are often two to three times the price of big box stores. Sometimes you have to pay for convince. If we have enough time, we try to order our kid’s toys from (Yes, I understand the irony.) If time isn’t on your side we suggest running to Daffy’s on East or West 57th Street. There you will find a large variety of Alex art toys for a fraction of retail prices. There’s also a great assortment of Dora and Hello Kitty toys.

8. Madison Avenue has always been a mecca for high-end retailers and is an obvious location for a dazzling array of jewelery stores. If you’re not in the mindset to spend your entire depreciated 401k, you could head over to Mauboussin where an attractive semi-precious cocktail ring can be taken home for about $3,000. If you’re looking for higher quality for less money, ask for Guy at the Manhasset location of London Jewelers. He will help you find a high quality gift for the perfect price.

9. Our very favorite chocolate store is Debauve & Gallais. It is a tiny shop just west of Madison at 69th St. Every thing in the chocolate jewel box is completely delectable. If it weren’t for the price we would not be able to control ourselves. It’s true, their chocolates are on the pricey side. One piece of chocolate can easily set you back $4. With those types of prices you would think they would be generous with sampling, but no. That practice was squashed about a year ago and chocolate shopping became a lot less fun. A less expensive alternative is always La Maison du Chocolat. (Who ever thought they would be in the less expensive category?) Chocolates here average half the price and they will allow you to try a bite before you buy a whole box.

10. Holiday season is synonymous with colder weather. And when the weather gets cold, out come the sweaters. Few articles of clothing feel more delicious on the body than a Ralph Lauren Black Label cashmere sweater. You can have one for years and years and years and years and every December it feels brand new. Spending almost $400 on a sweater isn’t for everyone — even if there are scattered sales. J. Crew, which is just a bit further up Madison is always a dependable substitute at $170.


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