So, welcome to the first ever Effortless Gent Holiday Gift Guide!
In my three years running this site, I’ve never put one together. But the people have spoken, and the time has come!
These are 21 things that caught my eye recently (or things I’ve been eyeing for a while). These aren’t necessarily the latest and greatest, newest and shiniest toys, and if you’re looking for some trendsetting, get-it-before-everyone-else-has-it items, you probably won’t find it here.
Buuut, if you’re into simple, well-designed, and clever things that make your life just a tad more wonderful, then I’m sure you’ll find something on this list.
Here we go!
Gifts Under $500
A Substantial Watch
If you’re a watch guy, then what’s on your wrist is a part of your EDC (everyday carry). I personally think every man needs a great watch. A Timex with a NATO strap is fine most days, but step it up a bit and find something more substantial.
Can’t afford a Rolex just yet? Me neither.
A simple, unadorned date model with a hefty leather or clasp metal band should suffice. These are two I like from Victorinox: One with a leather strap, the other has a metal band (aff links). The leather strap model has a Swiss Quartz movement, while the one with the metal band is an automatic self-winding model.
Ain’t no Rolex, but you’re still getting a great watch that will class up your getup no matter what. Also, you won’t be spending 5k.
Alden Indy Boot
To me, a pair of Alden Indy boots are grail status. You’ll never need another pair of boots as long as you live. Great for casual to dressy/casual situations, and would pair well with dark denim, hefty chinos, or wool trousers.
I’m a fan of well-designed things that are easy and intuitive to use. PC or Android diehards may disagree, but the iPad mini fits the bill. To me, it’s a nice-to-have (I find I do well without it since I have my iPhone and MacBook), but if you have a need, go for it.
Gifts Under $250
Bodum Bistro Electric Coffee Maker
This is by far my favorite purchase in recent memory (hat tip to my friend Leo for the recommendation).
I’m a big coffee drinker, but getting a good brew at home is tough. Most automatic drip machines just don’t make the cut, and that’s because most machines are big on technological fanciness but fall short on the basics: correct water temperature, appropriate water coverage / coffee extraction, carafe construction.
The Bodum nails the correct temperature (the optimal range is 195-205 degrees F), has a shower head-style dispenser to completely and evenly cover the beans with the water (extracting the flavors nicely), and drips the coffee into a double insulated carafe (no hotplate necessary, which ALWAYS burns the coffee and leaves it undrinkable). Oh yeah, and there’s one button: On.
If you care about your brew (especially if you drink it black, like me), you won’t be disappointed with this auto drip machine.
In my pursuit of a wireless office, this is the next piece in the puzzle. Plus, laptop speakers just don’t cut it. I think the jambox’s design is top-notch yet simple and does exactly what I want it to do (produce great sound from a small package).
Buy Jawbone Jambox. (aff link)
Archival Clothing Rucksack
I bought a version of this in navy from Barneys a few months ago and it’s become my go-to bag if I need to carry more than what fits in my pockets. Durable and handsome, and it does its job. I also like that it’s not technical, adorned with bells and whistles that I’ll never use but still take up space.
Uniform Wares watch
Clean, easy to read, well-designed, looks great. A nice alternative to your Timex (or the clock on your phone).
Gifts Under $125
Fifth&Brannan pocket square trios
We packaged a few sets of pocket squares over at Fifth&Brannan and included a sweet promo price, just for the holidays. The trios start at $60 (and we have a duo of chambray squares for $45). Check em out!
A slim card case
I’m an advocate of slim wallets. I’ve had my J.Crew “magic wallet” for 8 years now, and it’s still going strong. If for some reason this thing just gave out on me, I’d pick up a simple card case with slots on both sides, and maybe a pocket in the middle to hold a bit of cash or other random cards.
Get into penny loafers. Get into tasseled versions of penny loafers.
I know you thought they were nerdy when you were 9 and your mom made you wear them with that corny ass sweater vest, but these shoes are classics. Pennies optional. Throw some foreign currency up in that bitch for a potential conversation starter.
Pendleton Camp Blanket (with carrier)
I fancy myself a wanderer. I want to just up and go sometimes. Where am I going? No idea, but I figure it’s a place where I’d need a blanket. Buy one of these and keep it in your car for those spontaneous road trips with no real destination.
Or if you’re more of a homebody, on your couch.
The easiest way to get around the city (or anywhere really) is on a bike. What sucks is when your bike takes up precious floor space. Hang your bike up! So do it stylishly, and with minimal hardware.
Gifts Under $50
Super-secret spy lens
Take it to the next level of creepiness without anyone knowing by picking up this super-secret spy lens.
Seriously though, this thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a shy photographer trying to get the perfect shot without being TOO too obvious. Check out the video on the product page.
Photojojo has a lot of other really cool photography / iPhoneography-related goods as well.
Prints. For your walls!
You dress up your bod, you should dress up your walls. Start with some prints from 20×200, which print limited runs from emerging artists. They start around $24 and can go up to a couple bills.
If you watch out for new sales on Gilt, you’re bound to find some great art. You have to sign up and actually check in from time to time (so yeah, patience is key), but it can be worth it.
Bulleit Rye. For your bar!
Do I really need to explain why this is on my list? Great old fashioneds!
Also check out Rittenhouse Rye as a delectable alternative.
Field Notes 3-pack
With the endless number of ways to record something or jot something down, a small notebook is still an invaluable item. You also don’t have to worry about a low battery. Just bring a pen.
Buy Field Notes. (aff link)
Cedar Shoe Trees and Valet
Shine them shoes in style (and with ease), plus have a place to keep all your tools / polish in one spot.
The shoe trees? To protect your leather investments, of course.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my place smelling like sweaty dog paws, or something. I also don’t want it to smell like freesia or frosted cupcakes (that’s a lie, I bet this candle smells delicious).
For the non-holiday seasons, I like to burn a man candle. The Motley has a great selection to start you off.
You can’t go wrong with a set of coasters for your coffee table. Your everyday variety are usually kitschy, corny, boring. Try the felt ones above, or the set in slate (which you can label using chalk!)
12″ Cast Iron Skillet
You probably have a kitchen full of pans in every shape and size. To be honest, you only need one. This one.
Season it properly when you first get it and it’ll become your best friend when you’re in the kitchen.
Buy a cast iron skillet. (aff link)
There we go!
21 awesome things, some of which I hope you find awesome as well.
Any other recommendations you have that the EG community mind fight interesting? Leave em in the comments below!