Dear J &J: What do you think about buying a dress for a women’s birthday?
Highland Park, IL
JILL: Dear "Dress You Up in My Love,"
I love it. Of course, you’ve got to do it in the right way. Shopping for others is tricky. It’s hard to tell what will look good on another body — particularly a women’s. Nonetheless, if you know she has a favorite designer, you may want to pick something out that you think will flatter her. A safer bet is to arrange for a saleswoman from that store to call her, let her know that an "admirer" has arranged to buy her a dress/outfit, and that she should come in to the store. Items to avoid: bathing suits. Don’t even go there.
JACK: Did I hear someone say "Frederick’s (of Hollywood)?" Seriously, if this is an already intimate relationship, a dress or other garment can be a thoughtful and romantic gift. Combine this with enough time for her to change and a surprise night on the town, and you won't go wrong.