Holiday Gift Guide Part I — For The Ladies Seduced By Janelle Monae’s Metropolis
Shopping should never be a drag, especially when you’re looking for holiday gifts that will bring a smile to a loved one’s face. To keep our holiday coverage upbeat and fun this year, then, we’ve chosen to run themed installments, each featuring an array of fashion, beauty and lifestyle goodies that nod to the unique style sensibilities of a groundbreaking female musician. Today’s muse: retro-loving, pompadour-rocking funkstress Janelle Monae. From equestrian boots to quirky bow ties, ruffled white blouses, tailored tuxedo jackets, retro button earrings, and sweet, fanciful skincare sets, we’ve got everything you need to keep your Monae-loving maven seeing violet stars.
Alice + Olivia Archer Military Peacoat, $495. Available at Shop.AliceandOlivia.com
Monae’s ensembles center on contrasting black and white separates, and she leans towards traditionally masculine pieces but tailors them so as to fit her slim figure, giving the final look a playful and cheeky twist. The Alice + Olivia Archer peacoat pictured above, then, would be an excellent addition to your Monae lover’s wardrobe. The double rows of gunmetal buttons, upright collar, epaulet-like buttoned shoulder accents, and rounded tailcoat give this piece a sergeant-goes-to-the-cabaret feel.
Created by Fortune “Phantom” Bow Tie, $35. Available at CreatedByFortune.com
Grooms aren’t the only ones who can rock bow ties. A crispy bow peeking out from underneath a crispy shirt collar with instantly jazz up an ensemble — and, when it’s covered with punk-y conical pyramid studs and hammered studs, such as with this Created by Fortune number, the effect is simultaneously quirky, edgy and whimsical. No cold feet here!
Bass Breck Oxford in Black/White, $79. Available at Endless.com
A smart pair of oxfords is a necessity for any woman willing to saunter along the tightrope between “masculine” and “feminine” garb. These classic Bass shoes will complement that white suit with the double-breasted jacket and remind everyone that, as the Godfather of Soul James Brown once said, “It’s a man’s, a man’s, a man’s world, but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.”
Philosophy The Gingerbread House, $20. Available at Sephora.com
She may love science fiction, but Monae’s imagination isn’t all Blade Runner antics. She also revels in childlike dreamland universes, like the world of Ferris Wheels, talking sunflowers, pink Cadillacs with built-in marching bands, and pink poodles captured in the Outkast “Morris Brown” video. Philosophy’s The Gingerbread House holiday set, then, would appeal to those with a similar zest for life, reminding them of the joyful days when they played Candyland and dabbed icing onto freshly baked gingerbread cookies. The gift set’s box is illustrated to resemble a candy home, with rooftops, balcony ledges, and doorknobs made of gumdrops, mints, and lollipops. The two front flaps open up to reveal a wallpapered living room with two armchairs —one a retro, green leather number and the other, a quilted pink chair) — and portraits of a gingerbread girl and gingerbread man hanging above each seat. The Gingerbread Girl and the Gingerbread Man shower gels, both of which smell like tangy but sweet baked goods, are positioned in front of this whimsical backdrop, representing the true inhabitants of this abode. The Gingerbread Girl shower gel has a bit of a sparkle to it, which makes you feel like you’re frolicking in fairy dust as you apply it onto your skin. The shimmer washes off when you rinse, however, so there’s no need to worry about staining towels or clothing — it’s all for the sake of a more fulfilling and enjoyable in-shower experience.
Elva Fields “Start Your Engines” Necklace, $228. Available at ElvaFields.com
This cheeky necklace from jewelry designer Emily Maynard recalls retro diners with its two strands of large, oval-shaped, mother-of-pearl and faceted black crystal beads, each of which features a harlequin-flavored, black-and-white diamond pattern. The sequined, bow-shaped clips along the side of the necklace infuse the piece with more swing and verve than a poodle skirt in the ’50s.
Rochas Tuxedo Jacket, $1325. Available at Barneys.com
When Lady Winter unfurls her snowy white mantle on our metropolis, we know to seek refuge in cozier, heftier fabrics. Instead of a cotton-blend blazer, then, you can opt for a more elegant, holiday party-ready number like the above-pictured single-button, velvet tuxedo jacket with slim, satin-trimmed lapels from Rochas.
Vintage Repeats Large Red and Orange Marbled Vintage Button Earrings, $12.50. Available at vintagerepeats.etsy.com
The express route to a fun retro look: oversize button earrings like the marbled sunset red and sherbet orange ones pictured here.
ECCO Hobart Buckle Boot, $220. Available at ECCOusa.com
We may not see her saddling up and commandeering a horse, but Monae can’t get enough of sleek riding boots. These cognac brown leather boots feature three buckled straps for an English country feel.
Tarte Ring It In Cheek Stain Set, $25. Available at Sephora.com
Since Monae-istas tend to prefer minimalist makeup looks, they’re likely to ditch the heavy foundation and focus on evening out their complexions and making their skin appear dewy and radiant with just a flush of color. This trio of Tarte’s popular Cheek Stains allows you to blend the desired cream color onto your skin, making the effect all the more natural, so that the color seems to radiate from within. The three miniature cheek stain colors selected allow for a range — whether you’re going for a bronzed glow (which you’d get from the Luster stain ), pink blushed cheeks (try the Vivid), or a deep berry flush (go for Flawless). And, for added charm, Tarte included a golden stretch ring featuring a thick mesh chain twisted into a knot shape.
EDUN Asymmetric Wool Cape Coat, $700. Available at Net-a-Porter.com
Featuring built-in knit sleeves and a tie belt, this EDUN wool cape will keep your sassy little body warm — plus, when you think about the company’s socially and environmentally responsible production standards, your heart will feel a little warmer too.
Fresh Brown Sugar Social Gift Set, $50. Available at Sephora.com
This covetable gift set is all about brown pride — well, brown sugar pride. Turns out the darker the sugar, the sweeter the treat — or at least that’s what we believe after trying the inimitable Brown Sugar Body Polish from Fresh, which smooths skin and eliminates rough patches while also nourishing and moisturizing the skin, and the Brown Sugar Body Cream, which smells like grandma’s kitchen and features shea butter, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, and evening primrose oil to hydrate, soften, replenish and protect skin. With the Brown Sugar Social Gift Set, there’s a new addition to the posse: the Fresh Brown Sugar EDP Rollerball, which you can apply to pulse points when you want to smell good enough to eat. Hey, a few love bites never hurt anybody!
NYX Luscious Lip Gloss Palette in The Naturals, $8. Available at NYXCosmetics.com
When playing with androgynous motifs, Monae avoids flashy lip colors, instead opting for a touch of gloss or lipstick in an understated earthy shade that will complement her pout’s natural tones. The NYX Luscious Lip Gloss Palette in The Naturals features five such shades: a golden brown with yellow gold glitter, a shimmering coral pink, a terracotta-tinged reddish brown, a medium nude with shimmering gold and pink particles, and a hot cocoa hue with pink and gold glimmer.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label Asymmetric Striped Cotton Shirt, $103.50. Available at TheOutnet.com The perfect white shirt — a concept as elusive as the ideal LBD. Those who, like Monae, appreciate the ruffled, pirate-flavored shirts of Prince’s Purple Rain era will recognize the genius of this Vivienne Westwood Red Label shirt, which features vertical, satin-twill stripes, asymmetric buttons and a ruffled front.
Study Footwear The Drop Shoes in Black/White, $47.99. Available at PickYourShoes.com
The streamlined silhouette of these black-and-white plaid kicks is perfect for off-duty days when a casual look is in order. And who can resist a great plaid?
DSquared2 Silk and Grossgrain Bow Tie, $145. Available at Luisaviaroma.com
When going for a full-on, tuxedo-ready look, this silk and grosgrain bow tie will work magically. Plus, the way the grosgrain is layered above the silk enhances the bow tie’s sense of texture and dimension.
Tweezerman Brow Beauty Bubble, $20. Available at Sephora.com
Ever noticed how Monae’s brows are always perfectly groomed? She pays the same degree of attention to her brows that she does to her quirky hairdo, making sure no stray hairs sprout up and ruin her neat arches. With the Tweezerman Brow Beauty Bubble, you can provide someone with the tools to maintain gorgeous brows. The set features a pair of tweezers with a candy cane motif and a magnifying mirror with three suction cups along its back, so you can stick it onto almost any surface. Both the mirror and the tweezers come packaged in a clear slightly rounded plastic case for safekeeping.
Jules Smith Burak Star Earrings, $95. Available at SouthMoonUnder.com
In her female empowerment song “Star,” Monae encourages women to tap into their potential, have faith, and become stars. So why not give the gals in your life something to recognize their star light with these dainty silver stud earrings?
LUSH The First Snow Gift Set, $34.95. Available at LUSHusa.com
All the treats in this gift set celebrate the chilliness of winter — from the Snow Globe Soap, a soap bar featuring white circles against a teal backdrop and produced using invigorating lemon myrtle oil and mood enhancing grapefruit oil, to the Iced Wine, a tropical scented body wash which works best when frozen prior to use in the shower for a chilly, slushy-like texture; the Glogg shower gel, which has a warm and spicy scent thanks to clove, brandy, vegan red wine, and cinnamon notes; the Too Drunk Emotibomb, an aromatherapy treatment that will awaken senses dulled by lack of sleep, a bad hangover, or just the winter blues, with its combination of peppermint and fennel oil (just turn on the shower and let the product dissolve, its aroma emanating into the steam); and the Ice Blue Soap, a chilly soap with purifying, exfoliating sea salt.
Balmain Black Gold Button Jacket, $3165. Available at Stylebop.com
Double-breasted jackets always up the elegance factor, and this Balmain piece is a prime example. From the strong pagoda shoulders to the pointed edges of the satin lapels and the etchings on the gold buttons, this jacket will rip the stage, the runway, the red carpet, and the streets down which you walk.
Candela Stud Gold Loafers, $275. Available at Saks.com
A fan of menswear-inspired shoe styles, Monae would swoon over these lace-up Candela loafers, which feature overlapping tassels with gold studs and playful perforations along the toe cap and heel.
Ralph Lauren Palermo Huds Jodhpurs, $380.75. Available at MyTheresa.com
When she’s out of her “uniform” (black-and-white suit and shirt combinations), Monae likes to toy with equestrian fashions, pairing jodhpurs with knee-high riding boots. These stretch twill pants feature contrasting suede patches along the inside of legs for a stable-ready feel. Off to the races!
Pixi Essentials Nude Shade Wardrobe Eye & Cheek Makeup, $26. Available at Target.com
When it comes to her makeup, Monae likes to keep things basic, simply patting on a bit of color and perhaps some neutral shadows that complement her skin tone and make her look appear radiant and fresh. This Pixi Nude Shade Wardrobe eye kit features 18 shades — from sandy peach to a light cinnamon brown, an eggshell shade, a matte clove brown, a shimmering plum, a grayish lilac, and much more — all meant to subtly enhance and accentuate your features.
Ariat Plymouth Boots, $219.95. Available at Ariat.com
These simple black boots, with their long shafts and textured sides, will complement any equestrian-inspired ensemble.
heart by ban.do “heart h” bow, $25. Available at ShopBando.com
Can’t quite master the art of tying a bow tie? We’ve got you covered: these versatile “heart h” bows from ban.do features both a brooch closure and a clip pin so that you can wear it on your hair, attach it to your shirt collar, clip it onto your shoes, and much more!
Forever 21 Leatherette Oxfords, $24.80. Available at Forever21.com
If you want a really affordable, on-trend alternative to all the high-end oxford shoes in the market, check out these puppies from Forever 21. The level of craftsmanship obviously isn’t as high but, if you think these will only come out to play on special occasions, they’re a much more logical and accessible purchase.
Created by Fortune Barracuda Bow Tie Necklace, $28. Available at CreatedByFortune.com
Let your Bow tie take a walk on the wild side. This 10″ chain necklace features a 5″-wide black mesh bow tie covered with enough silver, pewter and black sequins to make a Bob Mackie stage costume jealous.
Physicians Formula Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Cream Liners, $10.95 each. Available at CVS stores nationwide.
Aside from a bit of gloss, Monae livens up her face with a small cat eye, which she accomplishes with just a touch of liner. These Physicians Formula gel cream liners are designed to complement a woman’s natural eye color, so there’s an option for those with blue, brown, hazel, or green eyes. Each set features three stackable pots of smudge-proof, water-resistant gel liner, along with a liner brush for a precise, mess-free application.
Ms. & Mrs. Minimergency Kit for Her, $12. Available at MsandMrs.com
Any mover-and-shaker needs to prepare for the unexpected – especially when her routine involves a lot of time away from home. The Minimergency Kit for Her by Ms. & Mrs. consists of a palm-sized, zippered metallic pouch packing 16 miniature problem solvers: a bottle of hairspray, a clear nail polish bottle, one polish remover pad, an emery board nail file, a packet of Blistex lip balm, two earring backs, clear elastics, a sewing kit, double-sided tape, a stain remover towelette, a disposable deodorant towelette, an Advil pack, a tampon, a breath freshening spray, dental floss, and adhesive bandages. With this kit, you’ll have any girl scout beat in the readiness department!