It feels like everyone I know is graduating. I have college girlfriends who are finishing up grad school, sorority sisters who are somehow seniors, and friends’ siblings who are off to college in the fall. After a couple emails from readers asking what to give new grads in their lives, I decided to round up my best ideas for pretty and practical gifts they’ll actually use in their next chapter. 

1. Luggage
Whether they’re headed off to campus or moving to a new city, every new grad could use a little luggage upgrade. This vegan leather weekender is only $70 but you’ll find more splurge-worthy options here and here.

2. Furniture
Chances are they’re moving to a new place and decorating it on a budget. Be careful to give them a piece that’s easy to incorporate into any decorating style. My parents gave me this acrylic console for my college graduation and I like knowing I’ll always have a place for it either as a console or a desk.

3. Leather goods
Bonus points for adding a monogram. This is a great option for treating them to something they might not buy themselves, like a classic briefcase for a guy or a timeless clutch for a girl.

4. Desk accessories
A great gift that’s both thoughtful and affordable. A monogrammed pencil cup, business card holder, and tape dispenser will ensure they have the prettiest desk in their dorm or office.

5. Lighting
Dorm rooms and apartment rentals aren’t known for their flattering overhead lighting. Instead of adding lamps to their shopping list at Ikea or Target, give them something special (like this Dana Gibson beauty) that will last them more than one year’s lease.

6. A reminder of where they come from… or where they’re headed
A meaningful piece of art always makes a great gift. I love this New York print for anyone who’s bound for the Big Apple but this Etsy shop has gorgeous pieces for every city.

7. Travel accessories
Upgrade from their shower caddy to a luxe leather case and a gorgeous luggage tag that will make them think of you every trip they take.

8. A coffee or espresso machine
…or maybe a really generous Starbucks card just in case.


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  1. Completely agree with your gift ideas! I have one more year of college left and am already freaking out about the real world. Having an internship this summer in fashion, I started thinking about what in the world was I going to carry my laptop and every day stuff in. My G-Big just graduated and she was thinking the same thing as me! Thankfully she works in government, so the fashion aspect isn’t as stretched. I think it would be super beneficial to add that to the list (it’s a nice mix of the tech accessories and bag). I found a cute bag that has a spot to carry my laptop and a place for everyday items- so yay for only having one bag and not two! I got mine from thegraceship.com in the New York style, but they have two others that i’m sure would fit most grads styles! 🙂

  2. I’m not graduating any time soon, but I might have to grab a few of these treats for me! I would have loved to have sent out this guide when I was graduating high school. A beautiful leather luggage set definitely would have trumped the millions of plastic hangers I unwrapped…:) xx

    The What’s In Between

  3. This post is stocked with great ideas! Giving a generous Starbucks gift card is such a great idea! I also can’ believe that the leather luggage is only $70, might have to scoop that up myself 😉