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Holt Renfrew’s Lisa Tant Helps Us Welcome This Holiday Season With Winter Fashion and Gift-Giving Advice

The shopping, the madness, the pressure…we all secretly love this part of the holidays. But if, like us, you’re sometimes stumped when it comes to gift-giving (and who hasn’t been?), Lisa Tant can guide you to star gift-giver status.

What was the best gift you ever got?
That’s a tough one because I’m so difficult to buy for that I’m always grateful when anyone gives me a gift. But there was one that stood out.

It was a diamond band that I lost. I had worn it every day for years and it meant a lot. But one day I lost it, it just slipped off my finger and I was devastated.

My boyfriend Andy decided to replace it for me. That required some carefully thought out sleuthing, involving his 13-year-old daughter, trying to figure out my size.

That was years ago now. I wear that ring he gave me every day. I still have the boyfriend too.

What makes a “great gift” great?
Thoughtful is the number one thing. It could be very classic or out-of-the-box and innovative, but someone really thought about it and knew you would love it. That’s what makes the gift meaningful.

We do monogramming at the menswear store, or you can get an Eddie Parker clutch with someone’s name on the front.

What are you hoping to get this year?
I would love an Apple i-Watch, but I don’t think they’ll be in on time. If I could have my whole life on my phone, I would. Add the fact I can now strap it to my wrist, so much the better.

Last-minute or early planner—what kind of shopper are you?
I buy gifts for 10 to 12 people and one dog. (He always gets treats.)

I really think about what I’m getting for everyone and I don’t wander aimlessly around stores. I make a list and I go shopping the last week of November. I don’t like a lot of crowds, so I pick a Monday or a Wednesday when stores are quiet. I’m very targeted and I’m a really good shopper. Given what I do for a living, I should be.

Gift inspiration…how can we find it?
Ask yourself what’s happening currently. I’ll give you an example.

I had a birthday gift to give a woman I didn’t know very well, but I did know she was an active, outdoorsy person. I bought her the book Wild and a movie card. She was stunned. Even knowing only that little bit about her, I knew that was a moment in pop culture that would appeal to her.

What does this person do everyday that could be made more special? That’s the secret: finding something people use everyday and making it special. A calendar from a museum, a new iPhone case or, if they’re old fashioned, an elegant agenda.

What should we add to our wardrobe to get through all the after-work cocktails, concerts and parties that will start happening soon?
I love a red dress at Christmas, but for me it’s all about accessories. I like eye-catching necklaces or earrings—not both, one or the other.

You don’t want to be hauling your work tote to an after-five event, so slip in a clutch. And of course, add nice shoes. They don’t have to be high; flats with sparkly toes instantly take you from work to evening.

Speaking of shoes…are there boots that keep you warm and dry, and aren’t destroyed by salt, but still look good?
This is such a good season for boots!

I especially like anything by Aquatalia, Moncler or Palmroth. They’re stylish, maybe in a patent finish, or with quilting details or a great buckle. They’re warm and will keep you dry. There’s nothing worse than wet, cold feet. I still recommend people don’t wear boots all day at the office, but these at least look stylish running on and off the subway.