IF YOU HAVEN'T found the perfect gift yet for your Valentine, you're not alone. "I'd say thousands of people will probably be last-minute shopping on Valentine's Day," says Dede Glassband, who as manager of the concierge booth at the Owings Mills Mall helps shoppers select gifts for special occasions all year long.
You've still got the lunch hour to -- out, and then, depending on what time dinner is, you've got at least an hour to hit the stores at the end of the day.
There are always flowers or candies, but in case you're looking for something a little different, we've gathered some options that include both the whimsical and the luxurious.
If you like the idea of giving fragrance, but a bottle of cologne seems too trite, you might try the Kama Sutra line at Bare Necessities in the Greenspring Station. Items can be purchased individually or as a special package, which for $65 includes massage cream, honey dust powder, clove soap, bath sea salts and an instruction booklet.
At the environmentally conscious Body Shop in the White Marsh Mall, you can pick up vanilla-scented massage lotion for $6, massage oil for $1.75, which you can have custom scented, and a red Body Buddy massage mitt.
The newly opened Victoria's Secret Bath Shop in the Owings Mills Mall offers a full range of fragrant gift baskets and bath wraps, and since it's only been open a few weeks, it might be a good option for a woman who seems to have everything.
If you think your loved one would appreciate a bottle of cologne, the following list of Christmas best sellers at the F&M discount chain is a guide to some of the most popular. The top 10 women's fragrances were in order of popularity: Liz Claiborne, Chanel No. 5, Red by Giorgio, Beautiful by Estee Lauder, Eternity by Calvin Klein, Obsession by Calvin Klein, Poison by Christian Dior, Colors by Benetton, Estee by Estee Lauder and Lauren by Ralph Lauren. The leader in men's fragrance was Drakkar Noir, which outsold Polo 2 to 1 and Lagerfeld 3 to 1.
A little whimsy for him
For lovers who take a light-hearted approached to Valentine's Day, the whimsical abounds.
Novelty boxer shorts seem to be the No. 1 best seller judging by the incredible variety available this year -- although you wonder how often men actually wear these.
At Dallas Alice, you can get a pair for under $20 that glows in the dark "he loves me, he loves me not." At G. Briggs, you can pick up a box of heart-decorated shorts for $11 that plays "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" when you open the box lid.
A. J. Borenstein's Eclectic carries shorts that blink "Yes" at night and "No" during the day for $16.50 as well as red silk briefs that are rolled up to look like a rose for $22.50.
Among the neckwear possibilities is a tie decorated with hearts and cupids that sells for $21.50 at Fader's.
Baubles and bijoux
Jewelry tends to be the choice of those serious about their declarations of love since it can be a reminder of devotion for years to come.
Jewelry with heart motifs can be found in nearly every jewelry and department store for a variety of prices. Hecht's, for instance, carries gold-toned pins for $24, silver earrings for $20, porcelain rose pins for $15 and Waterford crystal pendants for $42. The least traditional choice might be one of the new heart-shaped ring watches for $23.
Impostors Copy Jewels is an option for women who love the look of the real thing. You'll find recognizable copies of jewelry made famous by Tiffany, Cartier and VanCleef & Arpels and a $60 replica of the $60,000 sapphire and diamond engagement ring Prince Charles gave Princess Diana.
For those who treasure the real thing, the H. C. Garthe Co. has a 14-karat gold heart, set with amethysts, that sells for $165, or one set with diamonds for $875.
The classic Valentine's Day horror story usually revolves around lingerie, but it remains a perennial favorite of men and women.
The popularity of lingerie in street wear make it an especially stylish and practical gift this year.
The cowl-neck teddies in red, pink and black that sell for $35 at fTC Bare Necessities can be worn to sleep in or out for an evening on the town under a pretty jacket.
The pearl or rhinestone encrusted bustiers at Rococo with dangling crystal hearts priced at $300 are pure fantasy and perfect for a party.
The footed black lace body stocking at Bare Necessities makes a dramatic boudoir statement but also eliminates the need for other undergarments when worn with jacket and skirt.
For more demure personalties, there are white cotton embroidered camisoles at The White House stores, priced between $22 and $42, which can be worn under clothes or on display with summer denims and cotton floral skirts.