updated 12/10/2017 3:43pm Eastern
As much as I love gift guides—I mean, who can resist them, amirite?! — I really look at them as personal shopping wish lists.
When’s the last time you looked at a gift guide and didn’t think to yourself, “Ooh, I’d like that for me!”?
So this year (and pretty much every year) we’re telling it like it is at EG. Here are our favorite things we think you should treat yourself to. And sure, if there’s someone on your mind whom you think would like one (or a few) of these things as well, buy two 😉
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The Cozy Shop
A light snowfall outside. Freshly-brewed coffee in the french press. A warm fire crackling (or maybe an old radiator hissing).
A soft cashmere sweater, maybe some well-fitting sweats, a nice chair to lounge in for a few minutes, perhaps hours… just sitting, reading, or catching up on Netflix.
Winter sucks, but if you’re cozy and comfortable (and indoors), it really isn’t that bad… don’t you agree?
I put together these picks for the ultimate in coziness. Just add a basketful of napping puppies and you have the perfect winter situation.
Dry Stretch SweatpantsUniqlo
These are what I wear to the gym on cold winter days, and ones I’m not embarrassed to have on in public (though I’m standing firm on my no-sweats-in-public-unless-headed-to-the-gym rule).
They’re made from a soft (not mesh-textured) moisture-wicking material, cut slim and tapered, have zip pockets (so your stuff doesn’t fall out when you make your way to the gym), and are the perfect length with no extra fabric bunching at the ankle.
Wool Flannel TrousersBrooks Brothers
The wool flannel trouser is THE pair of pants I’ve been touting for years as the most comfy pair of sharp, tailored pants you can own.
If you want the comfort of sweats but actually give a fuck about your appearance, just wear a pair of mid-gray flannel trousers all winter. Pair them up with a tailored sweatshirt, a chambray or an OCBD, or go full office-ready in a dress shirt, tie, and sport coat… up to you.
Y’know what I love about blackwatch plaid? It’s a classy ass combination of deep, vibrant colors. Mixes of bright and dark navy and forest green.
And blackwatch goes great with grey, navy, and camel… very typical color palettes during the winter.
Textured-Knit Wool CardiganS.N.S. Herning
I’m thankful oversized garments are having a style moment right now. They’re way more comfortable, especially when it comes to midlayers and outerwear.
Simple, classic leather gloves that you can wear today, and continue wearing in 20 years.
I don’t know what smartphones will be like in 20 years, but for now, you can use yours without taking off these bad boys.
Upgrade your winter pant selection to their flannel-lined brethren. Imagine a pair of tough denim or rugged twill chino on the outside, lined with soft-to-the-touch flannel cloth on the inside. Again, fulfill your “comfortable sweats” fantasies without looking like you gave up on life.
Hahaa I’m going pretty hard against sweats in this section. I swear I didn’t mean for it to turn out this way.
Irish Oatmeal Block Wool ThrowSimply Birch via TRNK
Your home and space are an extension of your own personal style, and I want the space where I live and work to be as “well-dressed” as I try to be, most days.
One quick upgrade to make to your living situation? A ridiculously soft, warm throw. Looks great draped over your sofa, and keeps you and your Sig O warm when catching up on Netflix.
Embassy Lounge ChairGus via 2Modern
Every man needs a good chair. A comfortable lounge chair that allows you to sink in and exhale after a long day, one that beckons you to stay for an hour or two, read, and drink a hot beverage on an early weekend morning.
If you’re in the middle of a living room refresh, or happen to have a bit of extra space to rearrange, make room for a lounge chair (here’s a non-leather version I like), and you can thank me later.
EG’s Todd Snyder Picks
Todd Snyder is classic American casualwear with an extra dose of refinement evident in their cuts and cloth. Here are some of my favorites.
EG’s Tie Bar Picks
You can’t go wrong with The Tie Bar. A seemingly endless selection of ties and other accessories at a crazy steal. Some of my faves:
The little details on this classic peacoat really make it stand out. The corduroy collar and military-esque styling are on point for a unique, smart casual look, with a twist from your standard wool version.
Curved Hem TeesBuck Mason
This is what the Lean Wardrobe is all about – a solid classic design with tailored details, like the curved hem. This shirt breathes easy, comes in a variety of colors, and is the perfect beginning to any outfit.
All Over Short and Bradbury JoggerOlivers Apparel
Olivers focuses on creating athletic apparel essentials with the best performance fabrics and detailed tailoring. If you’re looking for loud colors, oversized logos, and sporty, Hypebeasty looks, you won’t find that here.
Instead, you have simple, well-made, tailored activewear. Give the shorts or joggers a shot during your next run or lifting session.
Double-breasted Herringbone and Camel Colored Felt OvercoatsMr. P. via MR. PORTER
MR. PORTER has been the “grail” shopping destination for men of taste for years now. The selection of brands, the service, the experience, the editorial content… all top-notch.
They’ve recently released a collection of their own – Mr. P. – filled with wardrobe essentials to sharpen any man’s closet. While I’m not going to talk about every single piece here — it’s definitely worth a gander — I’ll feature my two favorite pieces at the moment (both happen to be overcoats): The double-breasted herringbone overcoat, and the camel felt overcoat.
Both have a standard silhouette that works dressed down with jeans or dressed up with trousers. You’ll get plenty of years of use out of each of these. Now you’ve just gotta decide on color and if you’re a single- or double-breasted type of guy.
Leather and Suede LoafersSponsored by Ace Marks
Extra Special Discount Code: effortlessgent
Ace Marks is a relatively new made-in-Italy shoe brand with great style, uncommon colorways, and primo quality. The shoes themselves are hand-crafted in the same Italian factories as some of your favorite high-end brands and hand-dyed by a family of 4th-generation artisans.
These are on the same level as a pair of $600-$700 shoes you’d find in fancy stores, but Ace Marks shoes are in the $200-$300 range. Thank God for the direct-to-consumer model, right?
Sure, they’ve got you covered with simple black or dark brown leather wingtips. But they also offer more interesting shades with undertones of blue and burgundy – plus a few that subtly combine colors and materials like leather and suede.
Use code effortlessgent for a special discount!
Original Bean BootsL.L.Bean
Slick. Seamless. Waterproof. These are the boots to wear on sloshy winter days when the weather is terrible but you still want to look your best.
Both the tan/brown and the all brown colorways are classic and look sharp, plus, they fit comfortably in your Lean Wardrobe – no bright yellow rainboots here.
Caen BootAllen Edmonds via Nordstrom
Great boots during the cold months are a necessity. The Caen from Allen Edmonds is the new favorite in my closet. The leather is supple, the sole and toe feel solid, and they’re built to be water resistant – the tongue’s attached to the shaft, as it should be when you DON’T want water in your shoe. Damn those puddles.
The Caen comes in 4 colors. I prefer the cognac shade, though the taupe (a brownish, greyish, green suede) is also a great choice.
574 Sport in Maroon New Balance
If you’re sporting these classic kicks, you know you’re rocking a solid look. There’s a touch of old school style here that makes these shoes ready for just about anything – which is something any stylish guy can appreciate.
Sockscription (or a la carte) dress socksSponsored by Blacksocks
Special discount code for EG readers: ME10YL
Blacksocks, an old name in the “sockscription” game — seriously, they’ve been around since 1999 and are the first brand to offer a subscription for socks — manufacturers their socks in Italy using fine PIMA cotton.
You don’t have to sockscribe (see what I did there?); you can also buy sets and individual pairs a la carte, and there are plenty of options – from your standard black socks to more vibrant options.
One of my favorites are these cashmere silk socks. I mean, how much more luxe can you get? Your feet deserve it.
Use code ME10YL for a special discount for Effortless Gent readers.
Slim Cash WalletAnson Calder
This Cash Wallet covers all the bases and I’m hard-pressed to find anything I don’t like. It holds up to 12 cards, plus cash in a center compartment.
Oh, and it features push slots on both sides to make fanning out and retrieving the right card easy. (No more pinching and tugging to find your AmEx!)
Brooklyn Eagles 1935 Vintage BallcapEbbets Field Flannels
Bring a touch of vintage style to your look with this authentic recreation of the 1935 Brooklyn Eagles cap. It matches anything, has a great story to it, and makes you stand out from all the guys in that other NYC team cap.
Slate Gray Fair Isle Socks Chup via J.Crew
Stuff their stockings with socks like they’ve never seen. These are unique in all the best ways – made in Japan, limited edition, and designed based on folk art and the spirit world. Oh yeah… and they’ll keep your feet warm all winter long.
A perennial favorite at EG HQ, the Seiko “Cocktail Time” automatic looks great with both a suit jacket and a field jacket. The sunburst dial’s ice blue hue is more subdued (and more stunning) in person.
Seiko did create a version for the American market, but if you can get a hold of the original Cocktail Time (which is what I’m linking to here), it’s worth it.
This timeless (I couldn’t help myself) chronograph watch is the perfect accessory for any guy. It can be dressed up with a leather strap or made a bit more casual with a nylon option.
Either way, this is the kind of gift you – or anyone, really – will appreciate.
The Mod WatchTimex + Todd Snyder
“Based on a bullseye design discovered in the Timex archives, our fresh take blends mod style with state of the art functionality.
“Crafted with a vintage-inspired dial and military nylon strap, this versatile timepiece can dress down an office look or elevate your weekend wear in a split second.”
El Primero 36,000 VPH with Panda DialZenith via HODINKEE
“The very first automatic chronograph movement, and the only of the three debuted that year that is still in production, the El Primero has played an outsized role in Swiss watchmaking in the years since. A “panda” dial configuration further confirms the vintage inspiration behind this design –
available in black-on-white and white-on-black – albeit within a resolutely modern 42mm case crafted from ceramized aluminum.
“Beyond aesthetics, this lightweight, scratch-resistant material adds some practicality whether you’re on the race track or at the office. This is a stealthy, modern incarnation of one of watchmaking’s most iconic timepieces.”
SBGR253Grand Seiko via HODINKEE
“We’ve long held up Grand Seiko as an example of the very best watchmaking taking place outside of the more expected countries of Switzerland and Germany. With the SBGR253, you get a discreetly sized, handmade watch equipped with an in-house movement endowed with more than estimable finishing. That movement, Caliber 9S65, also features an improved reverser gear train system with hardened components to wind the mainspring efficiently.
“From its 37mm case to its handcrafted automatic movement with three days of power reserve to the fit and finish of its three-link steel bracelet, this timepiece embodies so much of what we love about Grand Seiko.”
Divers Sixty-Five, Blue DialOris via HODINKEE
“In 2015, Oris reached deep into its archives and came up with an elegant timepiece that was ripe for revival. The Oris Divers Sixty-Five comes in a 40mm mid-size version as well as a 42mm execution, each of which is crafted in stainless steel, is water resistant to 100 meters, and features a screw-down crown for additional underwater security. And of course, each comes with a unidirectional bezel for timing dives.
“We’ve handled lots of dive watches over the years, and we struggle to think of a better vintage-inspired timepiece at this price point. Quite simply, the Divers Sixty-Five is an incredible value proposition.”
I mentioned Away in my recent article about city living essentials you can’t live without. They’re, by far, my favorite luggage brand out there.
Depending on your type of travel, they offer a variety of sizes. I prefer the Bigger Carry-on – it offers a bit more room than their regular carry-on, plus I never check in luggage. If you need more than one size, they all nest together nicely to store them away until your next trip.
There are a ton of other features built in, like a charger for all your USB devices, compartmentalization for everything from dirty laundry to shoes, and a scratch-and crack-resistant outer shell. Because even though you don’t plan on beating it up, travel can get intense sometimes.
Garment WeekenderHook & Albert via Huckberry
A nice alternative to carry-on luggage – especially for you lean wardrobe travelers – is a weekender bag. Sometimes, for quick weekend trips (or even week-long trips), a weekender is all you need.
My favorite is the Hook and Albert Garment Weekender. I typically fold my jackets and place them at the very top when I pack my weekender bags, but that’s just super inconvenient if I need to pull out my headphones or a book for the plane.
The hybrid garment bag and weekender is the best thing ever. A dedicated, lay-flat space for your suit or sportcoat that zips up into a regular garment bag, perfect for holding all your other things — shirts, shoes, dopp kit – you name it.
Oh and if you’re looking for a non-leather version, J.Crew has a similarly-designed bag, the Ludlow Garment Duffle, in cotton canvas.
This is the investment-worthy bag that will last a man a lifetime… and then some. The rugged leather and gunmetal hardware will only look better as they age. And there’s enough room for any weekend excursion – or even an entire week if you’re packing a lean capsule wardrobe.
CORE Shave KitSponsored by OneBlade
Wet shaving with a safety razor is one of those old school things that’s just better.
The CORE shave kit from OneBlade is a perfectly balanced, well-designed safety razor just like your grandpa used to shave with, minus the awkward learning curve (read: this one’s much easier to use).
Replacement blades are affordable and – unlike the 3, 4, or 5-blade cartridges you’re so used to – single blade shaves will irritate your skin much less.
Try Different Colognes Before BuyingScentbird
Have a tough time deciding on a fragrance when wandering the aisles at Sephora? Oh, wait, do you not wander the aisles of Sephora like I do? What, your wife doesn’t spend 13 hours in that store like mine does? Well, lucky you.
Anyway, I can never decide on a fragrance. Plus, those tiny bottles filled with scented liquid can be pricey. Enter Scentbird.
For $15/mo, get a sampling of any fragrance you’re curious about —they currently have over 150 brand name scents available. Then, when you’re actually sure you like a fragrance, you can pull the trigger on a big bottle at your local store. No more bottles you thought you’d like (but then decided differently after a few days) sitting at the back of your bathroom cabinet.
I have another portable charger from Anker, and while I love it when it provides the extra juice my phone needs during a long day, I kick myself when I forget to charge the charger itself.
With this 2-in-1 charger, you never have to worry about that. Simply use it as your wall charger at night, and before heading out in the morning, take the whole thing with you. It acts as your portable charger as well.
Whether you’re flying across the country and don’t want to be bothered, or you’re simply trying to drown out the noise in the room without having to turn the volume up to 100, The Wireless Studio headphones from Beats won’t let you down.
Arguably the best purchase I made last year.
Hand-held steamers are the best. Sometimes your garments just need to loosen up a bit (literally, because they’re holding onto wrinkles) and you don’t want to whip out the ironing board and wait for the iron to heat up.
Or maybe it’s a nice wool, silk, or similar fabric that can’t take the intense heat from the iron in the first place. This Conair Steamer will come to your rescue.
Kate actually told me about this one. She has to use it when setting up homes for photoshoots and showings when ironing linens and curtains simply isn’t possible. This steamer heats up instantly and produces an impressive amount of steam. If they’ll take out the wrinkles from bed linens in a pinch, the wrinkles on your wool trousers don’t stand a chance.
Sonos has to be, hands down, the best sound system you can get for your home. It’s wireless, has its own interface that you can control from your laptop or phone, and is simple to set up.
If you don’t NEED that full home theater experience and you simply want a great bluetooth speaker you can take with you wherever you go, I suggest the Bose SoundLink II. A lot of deep, rich sound comes from this tiny speaker (I have no idea how) and it’s one of the best sounding ones I’ve come across.
Home + Lifestyle
Baby Alpaca Throw in Gray PlaidBrooklinen
If there’s anything softer than a Baby Alpaca blanket, I haven’t found it. This throw is perfect for staying warm and cozy on the coldest of winter days. Plus it looks great draped over the couch, tossed on a chair, or across the bed.
“Change is Good” TrayBillykirk via Huckberry
A punny take on a dresser necessity. Pick up one of these handsome leather trays if you need a place to keep all your loose change, keys, watch, and whatever else you tend to unload the minute you get home.
Essential Cocktail SetCocktail Kingdom
This is the complete cocktail set that no home should be without. No more being ashamed to pull out your bootleg mixing cups. It’s the upgraded cocktail set for you – or any guy on your list (aka, you) who fancies himself an amateur mixologist.
Barwell Cut Crystal Rocks GlassSoho Home
Whatever you’re serving drinks in, these cut crystal rocks glasses are a step above. They’re timelessly designed, endlessly elegant, and perfectly weighted. Serve up an Old Fashioned in one of these glasses, and you’re on a whole other level.
A touch of vintage style – with a gold rim, no less – elevates these liqueur glasses. They don’t hog the attention or have some gimmicky shape. Just classic, elegant, and superbly designed.
Wool Plaid Stripe BlanketPendleton
It doesn’t get much better than a cozy blanket to keep you warm on a chilly day. Add some hot cocoa and I’m happy to stay in all day, binging on Netflix. For days like that, this is the blanket you want to wrap up in.
It looks great, it’s machine washable, and it comes in a ton of interesting plaid colors and designs.
At first glance, a humble and unimpressive gift. But any guy who lives on the go will appreciate this must-have travel bottle. Because you leave your house with hot coffee and you need it to be hot 8 hours later when you’re still trying to power through the end of the day.
Artisan Candle SubscriptionVellabox
Kate and I always have a candle lit at our place. We love the glow, the warmth, and the scent that fills the air. But because we are always keeping them lit, we tend to burn through them and forget to buy more. So when I discovered Vellabox, I was an instant fan.
Vellabox is a subscription service for candles. Depending on the package you choose, each month you receive one 4oz candle, one 8oz candle, or both from an independent candle maker.
Every candle is soy-based (none of that gross, cheap paraffin stuff) and hand poured by US based artisans. You’ll get a new brand and scent every month.
I’m by no means a master in the kitchen – though I can cook a few (simple) meals. The tools I use most are my 8” and 10” pans, a solid cutting board, and a chef’s knife.
The chef’s knife is key. If I want to be speedy and not cut a finger off, it has to be sharp (a bit counterintuitive, I know) and well-balanced.
I’ve owned a few cheap cutting boards and knives, but have since learned that investing in quality is worth it – especially if I’m using it every day. I prefer John Boos cutting boards and my Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife.
You can buy more expensive knives, but if you’re a hobbyist or simply the designated meal maker at home, you may not need a $300 chef’s knife. This one will do you just fine at under $100. Or spring for the 7-piece set, which, surprisingly, isn’t that much more, considering you get 6 other essential knives plus a block.
My buddy Andy turned me onto this double wall, stainless steel french press coffee maker on Amazon. I like its sleekness, the fact that it’s not glass, and that its double-walled design will keep my coffee warmer, longer.
For the perfect single cup of coffee or espresso, you don’t need anything fancy (unless you want fancy). I stand by my Aeropress. It still makes the best cup of coffee I’ve had. I drink more than one cup in the morning (closer to one whole pot), but when I want a cup of coffee after dinner, I use this little guy.
Which of these make your holiday wishlist? What would you add to it?
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