My Favorite...Holiday Gift

Three stylish women share the stories behind the favorite gifts they've ever received.

Source: Ashley Smith, Joey Wolffer, Jennifer Welker; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington

First, Joey Wolffer, founder of The StyleLiner, a unique e-tailer of stylish treasures culled from Wolffer's travels, tells us about this bag her mom bought her in Santa Fe.

How did this bag come into your life? "I've always been a boho girl. I've been wearing fringe since I was ten years old. My mother was going to Santa Fe, and I was so jealous. There's a beautiful store called Nathalie in Santa Fe, she has luxury products from local Native Americans. And [she brought me back] this black leather cross-body fringe bag with a huge turquoise flower on it. It's incredible. Fringe everywhere, but not in a rock star way–in a really luxurious way."

My Favorite...Holiday Gift
Source: Joey Wolffer

Do you remember the moment she gave it to you? "My mom gets really excited about Christmas, [as if we were all] three years old. Until this year, we all got up at six in the morning to open presents! So, she immediately handed it to me, and she was like, 'You have to open this one first.' And I did, and honestly, it was such an emotional gift because it was so 'me,' and so unbelievably generous and thoughtful of her because it is so luxurious. It's incredible. It was a nice mother-daughter moment. My mom was hip during the '70s and that Studio 54 time, so she loves that style too."

What do you love most about it? "What I love about it is that it's timeless. There is something about that Santa Fe turquoise that never goes out of style. I love wearing it in the summer, and also with jeans in the winter. My personal style is, I believe in more is more, and mix and match, so I have a really hard time finding an outfit it doesn't work with."

Ashley Smith, founder and designer of Otherworld, a new apparel line that celebrates the nomadic spirit, shares the story behind a gorgeous Indian wedding veil that inspired her company.

My Favorite...Holiday Gift
Source: Ashley Smith

How did this special piece come into your life? "This piece was given to me by my friend Chris, in Jodhpur, India. I had spent all day trying on scarves, saris and veils, and having a general love-fest with all the textiles out there. And I just hadn't found the right one that made me feel amazing. And towards the end of the day, we were in this shop, and he pulled this one out of the back, and was like, 'What about this, Ash?' I was just drawn to the colors, and the embellishments…when I put it on, I felt so exotic, adventurous and free. And I absolutely loved it. And he was like, 'Well, great, I want to buy this for you.'"

How did this feeling inspire Otherworld? "To be honest, it was in that moment when I put this on and felt like the most beautiful, worldly version of myself, it was like, 'Gosh, I want to make something that inspires this feeling of adventure in other women and can transport women to these exotic locales across the globe.' It's been so fun to build."

When you see the veil in your home, what's the first word that comes to mind? "Discovery. Because it reminds me of this time in my life, I was living in Australia at the time, traveling quite often. It was a time I was really exploring and discovering a lot about other cultures—and a lot about myself. It's so special to me. I wear it as a wrap around the house, I'll use it as a throw on my bed, or on the couch. It's just a special piece I wrap myself in to remind myself of how I want to feel on a daily basis: beautiful, free and adventurous."

Jennifer Welker, founder of handmade customizable jewelry brand Golden Thread, loves this vintage Chanel bag that was a Christmas gift from her husband.

My Favorite...Holiday Gift
Source: Jennifer Welker

How did this lovely vintage bag come into your life? "It was a gift from my sweet husband, five years ago—before we had two children. He knows that I am a vintage Chanel bag collector. I love my grandmother's Chanel; those old pieces. So he surprised me five years ago. It is a big black Chanel carry-on with gold hardware, and it's from the '70s. And I love it. It's huge. It's as big as I am. And now I have two kids, so it's my diaper bag. It went from being this chic getaway bag for the weekend to something I use every day for diapers and snacks, because my kids are very young."

Do you remember the moment he gave it to you? "It was a surprise. I had kind of hinted that that might be the next purchase that I want—an overnight, carry-on weekend tote, and he had found it at one of our dealers. It was certainly a big deal! We were very young so it was a big purchase for us."

When you see the bag in your closet, what comes to mind? "Oh, it totally reminds me of him, and all the memories we have with that bag, that we've taken it all over the world. [I think of] how much time and energy he spent to get that for me, and now it's dual purpose. I have my work stuff and my laptop, and my kids…it has all these different compartments, and in my heart, for sure."

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