Introducing the first annual Gentleman Within Holiday Gift Guide!
With the holidays upon us—it’s a time for family & friends, near & far—to gather in a season of giving; not only of presents, but of presence, perhaps the greatest gift of all.
But of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a thoughtful gift or two now would it? And so here’s my guide to help you give or receive the gift of style this year.
I decided to keep things simple for my first holiday gift guide and break it into two parts; style and grooming (body & mind). It’s a collection of many products I own or use myself that I highly recommend, products that I think are really cool, and things on my personal wish list.
Let’s get right to it, starting with STYLE first.
“Style” Holiday Gift Guide 2017
Any man of style can benefit from a pair of killer shades. My pick this holiday is a classic frame in brown from YSL. It’s quite pricey, but sleek as hell. I’ve provided stylish alternatives incase it’s too rich for your blood. A pair of dope sunglasses can help prevent crows feet and keep you stylin’ thru the holiday season and beyond.
2) Bomber Jacket
Alpha Industries—Slim Fit MA-1 Flight/Bomber Jacket
I love myself a good bomber jacket and the Alpha Industries MA-1 Slim Fit is a great jacket for the fall/winter seasons. It’s got more bulk than the lighter-weight MA-1 Skymaster that I reviewed earlier this year. This classic piece has heritage and will keep you looking sharp on these streets.
3) Comfort Blazer
This stylish jacket from Uniqlo is one of my all-time faves. It’s made from a jersey material so it stretches, doesn’t wrinkle, and allows for your body to move comfortably. I recommend one in navy, gray or both.
This blazer is unconstructed so it’s got a casual vibe. It’s the most dressed down blazer I own and has long been a staple in my closet. Think of it as stylish as a blazer with the comfort of wearing sweatpants. A win-win.
4) Leather Bracelet
Bryer Leather—The Bracelet 2.0
I’ve written about the advantage of wearing accessories before and so I had to include one of my favorite accessories to wear in this gift guide.
It’s a minimalist accessory that comes in black or varying shades of brown. They’re hand-dyed, hand-waxed, and handmade in America with vegetable-tanned leather. It’s a quality piece of leather that’s as stylish as it is modest. If you’ve always wanted to experiment with bracelets, this is a good starting point.
5) Dotted Knit Tie
It was the knit tie that started this whole sartorial journey for me. I still have the original navy knit tie that I bought off eBay for a few bucks. I wore it so many times over the years. It’s got a special place in my wardrobe even though I’ve upgraded since then.
Maybe it can do the same for you as it did for me. If you’ve never tried a knit tie before, it’s a piece I highly recommend for any stylish gentleman. As for the quality of The Dark Knot ties, they’ve got quite the bang for your buck.
6) Dress Watch
Orient—2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 3
No fashion watches in this holiday gift guide. The differences between a watch like the Orient Bambino and a fashion watch are plenty. For one, a watch like the Orient has heritage behind it whereas the multitude of fashion watch brands are made with cheap materials from China with higher than average markups. A reason fashion watches are so popular is because of their marketing efforts and ability to appeal to a naive audience.
The Orient Bambino has a beautiful minimalist face with domed mineral crystal, and a Japanese-automatic Movement. It’s a fantastic entry-level watch into the world of quality automatics.
7) Dark Wash Denim
Banana Republic—Slim Dark Rinse Japanese Traveler Jean
My favorite shade of jeans to wear is dark wash. And my favorite pair of dark wash jeans are the slim fit Banana Republic Traveler. Over the course of 2017, I’ve talked about dark wash denim as an essential in every stylish man’s wardrobe.
I love the slim silhouette of this pair and that it has a nice stretch for extra comfort. You can’t go wrong with slim fit dark wash jeans. Try the Traveler for yourself and you might just find your new favorite pair.
8) Moccasin Slippers
Slippers like these are comfortable, warm and perfect for lounging around the house. The rubber sole is good for outdoors as well.
Whether you’re sipping hot tea by the fireplace while reading a good book or entertaining guests for a holiday party, you’ll be sure to stay comfortably stylish this winter.
9) A Man & His Watch Hardcover
The book title says it all. If you’re a watch guy, then this book is a must read. If you’re remotely into watches at all, I think you will still love this book. Inside you’ll read stories of Nas’ Patek to Ralph Lauren’s Cartier, Sylvester Stallone’s Rolex to Mario Andretti’s Gold Heuer.
The pages are filled with beautiful photography of the men’s actual vintage watches in all their glory, that really brings each story to life. The stories are equally fascinating as they are relatable.
I was lucky enough to acquire a copy at a Todd Snyder Event earlier this year. Todd personally gifted me the book and had the author, Matt Hranek of The WM Brown Project sign it. What a night that was. A Man & His Watch is beautifully packaged making it a perfect for the coffee table.
10) Minimalist Wallet
Anson Calder—Cash Wallet
I’ve owned this Anson Calder “Card” Wallet for almost two years now. The wallet is made with high quality vegetable tanned leather that’s real durable. It’s even developed a beautiful patina over time. It feels like a part of me now. And the best part is that I don’t have to worry about the bulk of a traditional wallet. It’s sleek, functional and best of all minimal.
Two years later, Anson Calder just finished a Kickstarter for its new cash wallet with an updated design to hold more cash without compromising its minimalist design. It’s not cheap, but is a worthwhile investment for the quality you’re getting.
And if you’re more of a billfold kinda guy, I can understand, (Anson Calder has those too) but if you’re still rocking a Costanza wallet, it may be a good time to downsize.
11) Patterned Socks
Ties.com—Einstein Sock Pack
In one of my earlier articles on this blog I touched on utilizing fun socks as a statement piece to expand your style comfort zone. I still believe that socks are a simple way for men to experiment with their style. And although I’m not all that big on brightly colored and wacky graphic socks any longer—I believe that socks with classic patterns like argyle, dots, stripes and diamonds are a nice way to tastefully mix things up and not always default to boring solid colors all the time.
This sock pack courtesy of Ties.com is great for starters. I own some of their socks and they are a good value for the price.
12) Casual Watch
The Seiko 5 is my go-to casual watch. Its design pairs well with a canvas or leather strap.
It’s a mechanical watch with an automatic movement as opposed to quartz. This means you never have to replace the battery as the watch is hand wound. It gathers energy from your movements.
Seiko has a heritage and so you know the SNK is built to last. Not to mention it has an attractive, classic design equipped with a day/date display. With a little online research you’ll find that the Seiko 5 is one of the best value watches out there.
13) Wireless Headphones
Sure the standard Apple or Android headphones come free with our mobile devices, but let’s face it, they’re a pain in the ass. Wires aren’t very durable, they’re always getting ripped out of your ears as you get up from your laptop or computer, not to mention the tangled mess.
Enter wireless headphones. This pair by Bose has quality sound and a sleek design. And they’re not as easy to lose as say a pair of Apple AirPods. I still use my wired headphones from time to time, I guess due to old habit, but when I put on a pair of bluetooth headphones, I feel free to move around as I please. Do yourself a favor and pick up a quality pair of wireless headphones this year.
14) Ratchet Belt
Anson Belt & Buckle—Anson Gift Box
I’ve been rocking with Anson for nearly two years now. And if you know me then you know I’m a huge fan of Anson Belt & Buckle’s ratchet belt system and especially the buckle interchangeability.
The ratchet belt or slide belt is distinguished by no belt holes, just a quick and simple way to slide your belt on and off. Anson Belts are high quality (leather and canvas), stylish and the perfect accessory for any guy. I like to say that once you go ratchet, you’ll never go backwards (just made that up).
You can see more about the Anson Belt in this in-depth video I put together earlier this year.
15) Casual Sneakers
Todd Snyder x New Balance—247 Luxe Suede Knit Mesh Sneaker
These aren’t your dad’s sneakers. New Balance have always been known to be a perfect balance of comfort and style. When I saw this pair from the Todd Snyder AW2017 collection, I knew I wanted to include it in my holiday gift guide.
What you wear on your feet are important. You want to be comfortable without sacrificing style and this pair does an exceptional job of that. I just love the neutral colors which makes it ultra versatile.
If I was in the market for fresh pair of sneakers, this would be my first pick.
16) CHUKKA BOOTS
Thursday Boot Company—Scout Chukka Boot
If you were to ask me what kind of boots you should buy for your first pair, I’d say a pair of chukka boots. There’s a reason why I included chukkas in my recent editorial on 7 Boot Styles For Fall/Winter and 6 Types of Shoes Every Man Needs earlier this year.
I’ve worn Thursday boots extensively over the past year and they’ve held up nicely. Not only are they comfortable, but they are some of the most stylish boot silhouettes out there.
Thursday Boot Company is all about high-quality leather goods affordable price point.
“Grooming” Holiday Gift Guide 2017
Not only should we be grooming our bodies, but our minds as well. So here’s a list of several of my favorite grooming products at the moment and a few resources to help train and stimulate your mind.
1) Mindfulness and Meditation
Give or receive the gift of calm this year. I’ve used Calm, a guided meditation and mindfulness app for a while now. Train your mind to relax. Practice counting your breaths. Your head and your heart will thank you for it.
2) The Handbook of Style
This small hardback book is chock full of sartorial knowledge and wisdom. To date, it’s my favorite book on menswear. It teaches the basics, the essentials and timeless style advice that all stylish gentleman should know about dressing well in a modern-age.
It’s a tightly packaged book that looks great and is perfect for gifting. Or pick up a copy for yourself. You’re in good hands with this one.
3) Tribe of Mentors
The best piece of advice I have is to never stop learning. No matter your age or station in life, to learn is to grow. And every person in this world should seek to grow or risk falling behind.
I’ve read several of Tim’s books from The Four Hour Workweek to Tools of Titans. I’ve been an avid listener of his podcast for many years now. I’ve learned so much from him over the years, so much so, I’d consider him a mentor.
That’s the beauty of the world we live in. Mentors are not exclusive to people we have a personal relationship with. In this book, Tim gathers life advice from world class performers, giving us what’s sure to be pages of gems.
This book is definitely on my list of books to read in 2018.
4) Voice (Is The Future)
All modern smart phones come equipped with some form of voice assistant and so it’s easy to understand the premise of voice controlled devices.
The Google Home is a gadget that sits in your home and it simplifies tasks. You can ask it questions, tell it to do things and it’s compatible with all your other smart devices. In a few years, every home is going to have some form of voice at the center.
Similar to how print gave way to the radio, radio to the television, and TV to the internet—voice is the next wave.
5) Hair Spray (Travel Sized)
ECRU New York manufactures prestige haircare and cosmetic products and has a rich heritage in beauty world, wellness and fashion.
It’s a professional product that I’ve been using for a few years now. The hold is on par with Rusk, another brand I trust, except Rusk hairspray has the common issue with the nozzle plugging up with a quarter of the hairspray still remaining and so picked ECRU for this gift guide.
If you want a fast-drying hairspray with crazy hold, then ECRU is definitely a brand you’ll want to check out. I can go to bed with it in my hair and wake up with my hair still styled the way it was the night before, it’s that effective.
6) Lip Balm
Brickell—No Shine Lip Balm
I like this Brickell chapstick because the peppermint has a soothing/cooling sensation on the lips that no other lip balm I’ve tried has. I can literally feel the lip balm working its magic on my lips.
Not only does it protect and restore chapped lips, but it’s made with all-natural organic ingredients of olive oil, vitamin E, beeswax and SPF 15.
7) Restoring Eye Balm
Brickell—Restoring Eye Balm
Brickell makes the gift guide twice. Their eye cream which I used earlier this year has since run out and so I tried another brand, but it’s not quite as good as Brickell.
I saw results after several months using Brickell eye balm. It definitely reduced bags, puffiness or any dark circles around my eyes and overall I looked more energized anytime I saw my face in the mirror.
It’s made of all natural, organic ingredients, including aloe, protein peptides, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and green tea.
8) Face Lotion (And Post-Shave)
Every Man Jack—Post Shave Face Lotion
I learned about Every Man Jack a couple of years ago when its post shave face lotion was included in a men’s accessories subscription box called SprezzaBox (thanks sprezza).
It’s light and non-greasy, smells good and leaves a cooling sensation on my face. Gotta have the post shave face lotion to help sooth and protect sensitive skin after a rough shave.
9) Shave Cream
Harry’s—Shave Cream with Eucalyptus
My first time trying Harry’s products was a few years ago when I picked up a Movember gift box. Since then I’ve been using Harry’s razors and shave cream exclusively for about a year now.
I like the Harry’s shave cream over traditional foam shaving cream because it allows for a better shave. I’ve learned that shaving foam in a can isn’t as effective as a cream.
Harry’s is a solid shave cream that has a blend of 12 natural ingredients and provides a nice smooth glide. And although I don’t love the razor, I do think their shave cream is a good value.
10) Facial Wash
The Body Shop—Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
Using a daily facial wash is a hugely important part of any skin-care routine.
I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Tea Tree face wash for a few years now. To me, scent is important and this face wash has one of the best scents compared with other facial wash products I’ve tried. Not only does it smell good, but it works. I noticed my face started clearing up after extended use a few years back. And so I’ve stuck with it as my primary face wash.
It’s infused with potent tea tree oil to cleanse blemished skin. It’s got a cooling lather that removes impurities and excess oil, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and purified.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOUR AND YOURS
Alright, so that’s it for Gentleman Within’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017. Let me know if you liked it and how I can improve things in the future. I hope you and yours have a blessed holiday season filled with much laughter and joy.
Cheers to your style,
(Gentleman Within Founder)
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