We are not all having babies, but we all deserve a shower. Here, I've done the shopping research for you.
1. The occasion: You got a full-time office job after a year of being unemployed/"uh, mostly freelance."
Where to register: J.Crew, Banana Republic, Zappos, Etsy, The Container Store
What to register for: This blazer is classic and sized from 00 to 16. Yes, it's almost $200 and you haven't gotten your first paycheck yet, but remember, you're not paying for it. Pencil skirts may feel snug if you were stress-eating entire boxes of pistachios and sugary dried pineapple rings while writing cover letters; pleats are comfortable, and tweed says you mean business. Accessorize with these "leather book earrings," a water cooler conversation-starter if ever there was one.
Obviously, you need some killer boots. How about these Fryes, which will accommodate longer and wider legs? Or maybe an ankle boot, like these by Marc Jacobs, which would be great if you have a creative gig in graphic design or "social media." Last but not least, show your friends and family that you are a thrifty, economical person who will walk to work in $1,000 boots while carrying a homemade lunch. This stainless steel lunchbox should do the trick.
What to serve at the shower: Anything except pistachios and dried pineapple rings. Sushi. Let's say sushi.
2. The occasion: You got a big promotion.
Where to register: Barneys, Navabi
What to register for: Oooh, you will dominate the boardroom in this dress, sizes 12-20. Or perhaps you will dominate the boardroom in this perfect black number by Helmut Lang. Either way, you'll need a nice bag in which to haul your notes and your BlackBerry. Don't get carried away with impractical shoes: ask yourself, what would Olivia Pope do? She'd buy these nude Louboutin pumps, that's what she'd do. Only, you are doing this better, because you are getting other people to buy them for you.
What to serve at the shower: Caviar on blini, coconut-kale smoothies, cheese platter, chocolate-covered strawberries, champagne.
3. The occasion: You ended a long-term relationship/cohabitation and are living alone for the first time in six years.
Where to register: Macy's, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn
What to register for: These 1,000-thread count sheets in whatever color you like. A few sets of matching bath towels (don't forget the tub mat). Some nice picture frames, so you can display photos of yourself and your friends having fun, picnicking in the park, attending yoga retreats, etc. Monogrammed cocktail shaker, and this KitchenAid stand mixer. Maybe you'll even use it!
What to serve at the shower: Tacos, chips and guacamole, shrimp ceviche, sangria. (Optional: piñata.)
4. The occasion: You ended a medium-term relationship that did not involve cohabitation.
Where to register: Sephora, HerRoom
What to register for: Pretty underthings (Hanky Panky boyshort, 1x-3x; Cosabella Queen of Hearts The Vera mid rise. A fancy bra with bows and stuff, or a demi version if you're more plum than grapefruit. Concealer that actually works. A nail polish set. Ingredients for a bubble bath. You deserve all the bubble baths.
What to serve at the shower: Grilled-cheese sandwiches, pickled everything, cookies, rose.
5. The occasion: You're getting a pet.
Where to register: PetSmart, PetCo
What to register for: If it's a kitten, this food, this litter, this "decorative cat pod," and this Swat'n'Go mouse toy. If it's a puppy, this food, this leash, this dinosaur chew toy, and these treats.
What to serve at the shower: Fried catfish or hot dogs, depending. Ask one of your relatives to make that chocolate Chex mix thing that looks like kibble. Ask another relative to crochet tiny lace bags for the Chex mix, and ask your college roommate to make calligraphy name tags so everyone knows which tiny lace bag of faux-kibble is theirs.
Photo via conantcaniff/flickr.
Mary Phillips-Sandy is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She recently bought herself a brand-new set of dishes, just because.