When my grandmother was a little girl, her family had a lot of money, and then they lost it all in The Great Depression. It’s a wild Great Gatsby–stock market crash kind of tale. But instead of spending her life bitter about everything she’d lost, she spent her whole life saying, “Life is short, always eat off the good china.” And because she was an artist, who really cared about beautiful things, she saved up for a full set of china when they were living on Okinawa (and she could get beautiful Japanese china relatively affordably), then spent years instructing me that good china was for actually eating on, before finally passing it down to me.
Here is the thing about china: it gets a bad rap. The idea of china itself has become so antiquated and uber traditional that people think registering for it means you need to make sure to pick the world’s most traditional design—you know “that thing you’ll still like in fifty years” (even though you probably don’t like it now, so your chances of liking it later are low). And if you do that, it will sit on a shelf and you’ll never use it.
But what’s best about my grandmother’s that china is that it’s not traditional. It’s not safe. It’s not the thing she thought she would probably still like in fifty years. It’s striking and full of personality, and every time I eat off it (for big holiday meals, or for just-because snacks), I think of her. Which is why when Bloomingdale’s asked to partner with us to show off the new china designs from Lenox, I was thrilled to discover that they had some really beautiful stuff. Stuff that’s maybe not timeless, but my grandmother would really have loved. Also? Lenox understands how life works, so lots of those new designs are both dishwasher and microwave safe. (Thank you universe.)
Which is why I think that if you have the chance to register for china, you should. But not the boring old safe super traditional china. Nope. You should register for the breathtakingly beautiful stuff, that isn’t timeless at all. And someday a generation from now, when someone who loves you is setting the table with it, it’ll feel like they’re right in the room. (And if you’re lucky, maybe they will be).
And pro-tip: I know china is expensive, and you may not have the budget for it right now. But it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone buying a gift off your registry is your broke BFF from college. Because if you’re lucky enough to have people in your life who want to demonstrate their support by means of a present, chances are that includes some people who are really into the idea of buying you something nice. And maybe a little traditional. And maybe even a little expensive. And if years of doing this job have taught me anything, it’s that you never know which person that’s going to be (thanks, aunt whose love language is gift giving). All of which is to say, if you want to add some pricier or more traditional items to your registry (like, say, china), do it. No shame. Because just as the WIC should never keep you from doing you, neither should some imaginary definition of what’s practical.
So let’s dive into some of those new designs. Because it’s the weekend and they’re really pretty (click on any of the photos to go straight to the product page):
for the minimalists
This two-tone set is simple but striking (and the scalloped edges are a fun twist on traditional china). Plus it also comes in classic white and gold or grey options so you could even mix and match. Marchesa by Lenox Shades Dinnerware, Dishwasher & Microwave Safe
Got slightly preppier tastes? (But still gold, because all gold everything?) This set gets it done. Lenox Federal Platinum Dinnerware
a new take on old classics
There’s a lot of gold in traditional china (and I’m not complaining), but this design mixes traditional with a little funky. Sharon Sacks by Lenox Jeweled Jardin Dinnerware, Dishwasher Safe
This set is actually a little like the set my grandmother left me, and I love it. Marchesa by Lenox Gilded Pearl Dinnerware Collection, 24K Gold & Dishwasher Safe
modern & geometry
I mean, clearly this belongs in the APW office. Watercolor and gold that’s edgy and organic at the same time? Duh. Lenox Radiance Dinnerware, Bloomingdale’s Exclusive, 24K Gold, Dishwasher & Microwave Safe
This set is bonkers in a Jay-Gatsby-meets-Melanie-Griffith-from-Working Girl kind of way, and therefore amazing. No further explanation needed. Gluckstein by Lenox Audrey Dinnerware, 24K Gold & Dishwasher Safe
Click here to check out allll the china at Bloomingdale’s (because it’s seriously good.)
This post was sponsored by Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry. When we walked into Bloomingdale’s to buy our Lenox china for this post, we were totally blown away not just by the style of products available, but by the level of customer support we received at the registry counter (hat tip to Anthony at the San Francisco location, aka our new BFF). With Bloomingdale’s Wedding Registry you get a personal registry consultant, thank you management tools, plus bonus perks when people buy stuff off your registry. Bloomingdale’s also hosts a number of special registry events in stores across the country, in case you want a little extra in-person help putting it all together. Click here to start building your Bloomingdales registry today!