When it comes to giving gifts to friends and loved ones, clothes can be one of the trickiest gifts to give.
There are just so many ways you can go wrong when buying clothes for someone else, and it goes way beyond just size, style or color.
Take my husband and the simple polo shirt, for example.
Most Polos are made longer in the back than in the front to help them stay tucked.
But hubby goes un-tucked -- always.
He snubs any polo with a rear hem that's longer, and 99% of them are! I gave up long ago...
But if you must give clothes this season, there's one recipient on your list who's sure to appreciate in any outfit you buy him.
He'll wear your gift with pride and enthusiasm, head held high and tail wagging.
That's right, your dog.
Or your friend's dog.
It's so easy you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before.
Dogs love any kind of attention you can give them.
So, Spike will wear his outfit - whether it's cute or ridiculous - as soon as he sees how happy it makes his owner.
Fido will eat up all that extra attention he gets from strangers.
And Fifi might even Vogue for the camera if her outfit has enough bling.
Clothes shopping for dogs is a lot like clothes shopping for babies.
Unless you're going for practicality, cuteness is king.
So it's hard to go wrong, given that any dog wearing clothes looks pretty darned cute.
Choices in dog clothes range from winter sweaters to football jerseys and summer tees.
You can get a set of flannel PJ's for bedtime or a terry robe for after bath.
There's even an entire line of Harley clothes for dogs, complete with leather cap and studded collar.
And dog costumes made for parties and holidays are just too cute for words.
If you really want your gift to be a hit with admirers, accessorize.
Try a designer dog collar and maybe a cool pair of sunglasses--they make them just for dogs.
In fact, "doggles" are more than just an accessory.
They protect your dogs eyes from UV rays and wind-born particles.
Oh, and I recently heard that leg warmers are making a come back.
Got a mischievous sense of humor? Silly-looking outfits are good clean fun when it comes to dressing up a dog.
There are some really creative doggie costume out there that are good for a chuckle or two.
There's really only a couple of rules you'll need to keep in mind when shopping for dog clothes: One is that if the dog in question is an avid chewer, you should avoid buying him anything tempting.
Shiny buttons, fringe, and feathers are examples that come to mind.
An object that can easily be chewed off and swallowed is a choking hazard and can get stuck in the dog's digestive tract.
The other rule is that any dog, no matter how tolerant, will be more comfortable wearing clothes that fit.
Proper fit typically requires measuring from the dog's collar to the base of her tail for length.
Most garment's girth can be adjusted with velcro tabs, but could still be an issue with a barrel-chested breed such as a bulldog.
Measurements are typically in inches.
Remember that a dog will never "diet down" into an outfit that's too small, or -- unless you're shopping for a puppy or a pregnant female -- "grow into" an item that's too big.
Oh, and one more thing--if you're handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own dog clothes creations.
Just don't forget to include an opening for the dog to relieve himself.
Don't laugh, it happens a lot! Now, if you're shopping for your own dog, you're all set.
But if you're buying clothes for someone else's dog, I've got a few more tips for you.
Surveys conducted on the subject of gift preferences of men and women have shown that men prefer gifts that are more playful or practical.
So, if the dog's owner is male this might translate into a doggie Harley jacket, a funny costume, or a reflective hunting vest (or a pair of doggles).
Women, on the other hand, like gifts that are beautiful, memorable, and personal.
It shouldn't be hard to find an item of clothing for a woman's dog that's either beautiful or memorable or both, and it will of course be personal! I hope you'll have fun picking out something nice for the canine on your shopping list.
If you get a chance, send me a photo!