Gift Guide: For the Gentleman

Dec 14, 2010

It’s been several years since I’ve been in a relationship, so my gift buying skills are as a rusty as, well… my other skills.  But since guys can be notoriously difficult to shop for, I knew that I needed to provide some counsel on the matter.  So I decided to ask some of my closest guy friends what they’d like for Christmas.

1. The Art of Shaving Sensitive Skin Kit ($65)

It may come as a surprise to some men, but you have skin too.  And while women love (LOVE) the feel of a freshly shaved face, we know that shaving can be tough on the skin.  This kit includes the basics: cleanser, moisturizer scrub, and most importantly, a post-shave mask to prevent burns and ingrown hairs.

“Shaving every morning for work sucks.  The mask makes it suck less.” –Paul

2.  Johnnie Walker Blue Label (Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, $150)

According to my friend Chris, buying a man an expensive bottle of scotch is like buying a woman a $200 face cream.  He really wants it, but he’d never buy it for himself.  And according to Chris, Johnnie Walker Blue Label is the go to aspirational label.  If this is out of your price range, he recommends Clyneish 14-year-old ($50).

3.  Andrews Ties Dot Pois Tie ($49)

While most men think that a good tie needs to cost a lot of money, Andrews Ties, handmade in Italy, are surprisingly heavy and luxurious for a sub-$50 tie.  My school friend Amir has so many that he actually has to rotate them in and out seasonally to make room in his closet.  He likes the dots, but my favorite is the Vellutino pattern.  Throw in a matching pocket square and you just lifted your man’s wardrobe from B- to solid A.

4.  Tickets, to anything.

Of the 11 men who I asked for suggestions, 10 mentioned tickets.  Tickets to what?  Sporting events, concerts, a comedian, etc.  But the most helpful suggestion came from my friend Mike:

“Don’t come with me.  Buy me two tickets, and in the card, give me permission to take a friend.  Especially if you hate the band or sporting event you bought me tickets to see.  If you want to do something as a couple, drop a few hints and I’ll set up a date night.  But sometimes, a man needs to be around other men.”

5.  Jack Spade Nylon Messenger Bag ($195)

I hate backpacks on men.  This isn’t college.  You’re not Josh Lyman.  It isn’t cute anymore, buy a real bag.  

Unfortunately, briefcases are kind of stuffy.  So I was thrilled when my friend Billy mentioned that he’d kill for a Jack Spade bag.  This seems to strike the right balance between leather briefcase and backpack.  

If your man is particularly fashionable, try a vintage messenger bag.  They look chic and have character.  You can find them in any price point, and with a little sprucing up, they look as good as new.

Gift Guide

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  1. Norwegianette says:

    Best gift guide yet! Who knew asking real live men for advice would yield such amazing results 😉

  2. Leila says:

    Belle, this is a fabulous post! It almost makes me want to have a serious bf.

  3. Rachel says:

    While as a avid West Wing fan, I love the reference, but it's Lyman.

  4. I Do Declare says:

    Your friend is right – I gave my boyfriend some Johnny Walker for Chistmas just three months after we'd starting dating. By the next Christmas, we were engaged! Makes a great wedding gift, too – Something Blue! If you order in enough time, you can also have the bottle engraved!

  5. M says:

    Belle, these are great gift ideas. Do you have any gift suggestions for the parents of a boyfriend? Or a very fashionable sister of a boyfriend? I am at a complete loss when it comes to buying gifts for his family…

  6. Annie G says:

    Belle this post is amazing!! Too bad I can't find a man in this city to date…

    Once I do this will come in handy!

  7. Jill says:

    Non-boyfriend, non-relative men can be hard to buy for — I've been told by male friends that a fun bottle to stock the bar is a welcome gift, as Belle suggests. Hendrick's gin is another suggestion. One male friend is getting Belgian beer from me this year (packaged and bought at Costco but I don't think he'll care about the source).

  8. Kim says:

    If the guy you're buying for is a scotch drinker, I'd be sure to pay attention to what he drinks before forking over the $150 for a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. Some men (and women) don't like blended scotch, no matter how high the quality. Other than that, great suggestions! I especially love the bit about not necessarily giving one ticket for him to attend an event and keeping one for yourself.

  9. Ashley says:

    Ditto, Kim!
    My husband is a single malt guy and would prefer a Glenlivet 12 before the JW Blue.
    Solid single malts, in my humble opinion: the aforementioned Glenlivet, Balvenie and Macallan.

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