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#LoveWhatYouGive: The art of the gift, from the CEO’s right-hand woman

PeopleTara R. Hunt, Gap Inc. blogger3 Comments
  Love this look? Adrienne is wearing Banana Republic's  Pieced Jacquard Fit-and-Flare Skirt ,  Leopard Hidden-Closure Belt  and  Villa Platform Pump ; Athleta's  Remarkawool Top ; and Gap's  Opaque tights .

Love this look? Adrienne is wearing Banana Republic's Pieced Jacquard Fit-and-Flare Skirt, Leopard Hidden-Closure Belt and Villa Platform Pump; Athleta's Remarkawool Top; and Gap's Opaque tights.

The Shopper

Adrienne Sletten, Senior Executive Assistant to the CEO of Gap Inc., Art Peck

Over the past 10 years, Art Peck, CEO of Gap Inc., has held multiple roles across nearly every area of the company. Despite his many positions and areas of focus, one thing during his tenure remained constant: for nine years, he has had the support of Adrienne Sletten. From traveling coast to coast (and everywhere in between), to getting exclusive sneak peeks of the brands' new designs and ideas, Adrienne has a truly unique perspective on the entire company and its leader. Today, she shares insight into her relationship with Art, her favorite kinds of gifts and her tips to make sure you #lovewhatyougive.

Clothes make a great gift when you work at a fashion company. If Art's family were to ask your advice on what to get him, what would you say?

“His favorite outfit, which starts with Gap's 1969 slim fit jeans (Japanese selvedge). These also happen to be his go-to gift for VIPs," said Adrienne.

“I'd pair those with a great button-down shirt from Banana Republic, a nice pair of Italian shoes and a bomber jacket or classic piece of outerwear from Banana Republic.

“Even at board meetings back in the day, everyone else would be dressed up in suits, and he would be in denim. Denim is really personal to him. It's what he wears to feel like himself. It's his uniform."

Personal and thoughtful gifts also appeal to Art. For example, a special, meaningful Gap (RED) T-shirt, or a heartfelt letter or thank-you card.

What, to you, makes a great gift?

“It doesn't matter if it's $5 or $500," Adrienne said. “Referencing something that's special between you and the person you're giving to makes a great gift. Thoughtful gifts are the best gifts."

One such gift: When she moved into her current office, Gap Inc.'s Head of Corporate Services (aka Adrienne's travel, food, wine and party guru) gave her a #BOSSLADY sign. It's a simple gold-and-white printout placed in a sleek, black frame. It's one of her favorite pieces in her personally decorated office. It's also a great conversation piece for the varied stream of people who enter her office.

The right gag gift would make a great stocking stuffer. If you could get Art a gag gift, what would it be?

“Maybe a lump of coal?" she smiled. “Because a gag gift is supposed to be a joke! Actually, for his last birthday, I personalized an Us Weekly magazine for him. I changed the usual 'Stars, They're Just Like Us!' story to 'CEOs, They're Just Like Us!' with paparazzi-like shots of Art that I had taken, unbeknownst to him, and put together a whole story headlined 'Art Peck: what he did on his wild birthday.' He got a good laugh out of it.”

These inside jokes are a glimpse into what Adrienne describes as an extremely honest and positive working relationship.

“He allows me to be me, and there is so much trust," Adrienne said. “We really respect each other. We know when to be professional and when we can be funny."

What kind of holiday shopper are you?

“I always have ideas of what I'm going to get people. But because of my schedule, it's hard to bring all those ideas to fruition. This year, I had a new strategy. If I saw something in October, something that reminded me of someone, I bought it on the spot."

Adrienne’s gift picks

So far, this strategy has been pretty successful and she now has a trunkful of fun, quirky, special gifts waiting to be wrapped in her San Francisco apartment.

“Clothes are also very personal gifts. When I buy clothes for a friend or family member, I really want to make sure that it screams that person," Adrienne said, noting that the bags from Banana Republic with printed messages have made great gifts in the past.

This year, Adrienne stuck with one of her favorite holiday themes for the people on her list: winter whites. Here are her top picks from across the brands:

Old Navy's Long Sherpa Coat for the sister; Old Navy's Girls' Faux-Fur Jacket for a little cousin; Gap's Fair Isle funnel sweater for the brother; Banana Republic's Ruffle-Front Blouse for the best friend; and Athleta's Lux City Scarf and Juliette Beanie for mom.