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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fortin

grad gifts for him & her

Happy grad season! Although graduates of the class of 2020 won't get formal ceremonies or celebrations on their big day, it doesn't mean they don't deserve to be celebrated! And what better way to celebrate someone than by giving them the gift of something you saw on my blog. ;)

This is my top 5 quality grad gift round-up, and you can thank me later. All of these items are real-grad-approved (by me and Evan, LOL) so you know they've been carefully vetted and were picked for a reason. Obviously any graduate would be happy to simply receive a "Congratulations!" on their Facebook wall, but if you're looking for a little something special for a hardworking graduate in your life, keep reading.

For Her

Work/Everyday Bag

I received the basic Transport Tote in English Saddle for my high school graduation and have taken it with me everywhere since then. It's a perfect day-to-day bag that can go with you from school, to the pool, to work, on get the gist. Think of that bag as the teenage sister of the Zip-Top Medium Transport Tote. The medium-sized zip-top version is more mature, takes no shit from anyone and wears a bright pink power suit to the office. It may come in four colors, but black is a very safe and classic option for anyone going out into the workforce. With inner and outer pockets and a zippered top, this is the perfect work bag.

Fancy Adult Lunch Box

I'm not sure who needs to hear this, but if you still use a stained, 10-year-old Vera Bradley lunch bag with a faint stench, you should reevaluate things. I know my family has a couple of those laying around, so I'm no stranger to the lunch box limbo — you want something cute and durable that will fit all your Tupperware and keep it upright, but you probably don't want to spend more than $40-50 on it. I have been eyeing this fancy "big girl" lunch box for years. It's office-chic and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb since it looks like just another purse to the untrained eye. Is it expensive for a lunch box? Yes. Will it bring a little more joy to your packed lunch experience? I think so.

Dresser Top Jewelry Box

I can almost guarantee you that 90% of college girls keep their jewelry on a dresser in a jumbled mess. Personally, I have jewelry dishes that I use to separate my pieces, but I still love this dresser top jewelry box — it really does it all! It's the perfect place to store all of your rings, earrings and any dainty necklaces. For any grad whose future job will require a lot of travel, check out Mark and Graham for adorable customized travel jewelry cases like this one.

Hand-Stitched Happy Valley Sweatshirt

All the Penn Staters reading this have probably walked by Ethereal downtown hundreds of times, yet have never gone in. I don't blame you...although cute and tempting, that store is priiiicy. Like the kind of place you drag your mom into on parent's weekend in hopes that she'll splurge and get you something nice. This hand-stitched ombré-dyed sweatshirt is a great Penn State-themed keepsake for any trendy girl who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it.

Roman Numeral Engraved Graduation Ring

Forget a typical class ring — unless your grad outright tells you that they want one, it will probably sit in a box collecting dust for the rest of eternity. This chic engraved ring is the perfect modern alternative to the classic class ring.

For Him

Smart Wallet

I've kept tabs on this brand since it was merely a start-up. This smart wallet is such a good idea, and you can even buy a solar-powered tracking device for it. I know that Evan has less than a dozen cards in his wallet and never carries cash (so if you were thinking of robbing him, you might want to pick someone else!), yet his wallet is basically 6 inches thick. I'm exaggerating, but you get the point. The Ekster smart wallet stores all of your cards in a slim leather storage compartment and pops them all out with the push of a button — it's functional, fashionable and you'll never have to deal with a messy wallet again.

Wireless Charging + Accessory Catch-all

Wireless charging is all the buzz as of late. This wireless charging and accessory catch-all is fun, sleek and like the smart wallet, functional. I love this for a bedroom side table, and it would even work well out in a living room or on a kitchen counter. Keeping all of your daily items in one place is essential, especially if, for example, you're a young guy who is known for misplacing things. I'm not saying all male 20-somethings are often discombobulated and unorganized, but there's no denying that those are common traits. Not only men can benefit from this item but women, too — I personally love it in the color 'bone'.

French Terry Collegiate Crewneck

Here we have a classic alumni game day sweater. I can't even tell you how many freshly graduated Penn State alum I've seen at Beaver Stadium wearing a sweatshirt like this one paired with jeans and bean boots. This sweatshirt is great for lounging at home or wearing on a Saturday in Happy Valley. My favorite thing about it is the chenille lettering, which has a perfect weathered, slightly vintage look.

High Quality Collegiate Letter Sweater

Now, for the more formal version of the tailgating favorite above. This sweater screams alumni and feels like the perfect fit for a company tailgate or a dinner at an upper-middle tier State College restaurant. When wearing this sweater, you're bound to be taken seriously — and you'll probably even get some people asking you where it's from!

Nice Work Bag

This one is a no-brainer. No matter what kind of job a male graduate is going into, a briefcase or satchel-style work bag is a necessity. When you first think of briefcase, your mind might immediately go to a chunky black rectangular briefcase stuffed with money straight out of a movie, but the modern man would not be caught dead with that style. Casual, yet professional, a quality leather work bag like this one can last a lifetime.

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