This is a guest post by Nick, husband of Jean:
I’ve done a few of these gift guides over the years and have come to realize something. This whole thing is a wonderfully self-serving endeavor. Sure, some of you might get a few gift ideas for the men in your lives. But really, at the end of the day, I’m the big winner here. I’ve managed to sneak quite a few items into these lists only to have them magically end up under the tree. So, without further adieu, here it is: my annual wish—uh, I mean, your annual Gift Guide for Guys.
When Neutral is Great
I have a camel topcoat, and I wear it way. Too. Much. At this rate, the cuffs might soon look like they got caught in a paper shredder. So while I don’t need a new coat now, I will eventually. And there are a few classic, decently priced options currently available that a brother, boyfriend, or husband would appreciate.
J.Crew Ludlow Topcoat (4 colors) – Same signature Ludlow cut as their suit jackets, which are my go-to for a good fit off the rack. I normally take a 36 Short in their blazers, but I’m trying on a 36 Regular here since I’d want the sleeves longer on a coat. A classic blend of 95% wool, 5% cashmere.
Club Monaco Topcoat – The priciest of the bunch at retail, but man does it feel nice. The fabric is this fantastically smooth brushed wool and cashmere something, something, something. I don’t know, I lost my train of thought just thinking about it. Sizing on this coat fits like Theory and runs slightly smaller than the J.Crew one (two images down). I’m trying on a 36 but am in-between that and a 38.
Topman Classic Fit Overcoat – I have a special love for Topman, if only because Justin Timberlake’s stylist once complimented my bomber jacket. I can’t fit into many of their “European-cut” clothes (turns out, your thighs do not get slimmer with age), but I have had luck with their outerwear. The taupe color is a nice alternative to camel, and the fit is a little more “contemporary” (i.e. with a hint of slouch and less fitted at the waist). For coat length reference, I’m 5 ft. 8 in. (and a quarter!).
Ok, that’s many more words than I intended to write about coats. But I wanted to do it justice because it’s a style that can be sartorially intimidating at first. I know. I used to be #TeamParka all the way. But now I spend at least half my time on #TeamTopcoat. Consider me coat-verted.
“Hey Google, Do Something Useful”
Google Home / Amazon Alexa Accessories – Chances are, the guy you’re shopping for got a smarthome speaker device (or ten) on Black Friday. But without any additional complementary gadgets, that Alexa or Google Home is just an expensive kitchen timer that tells you the weather. Compatible light bulbs and outlets are an easy place to start, but my favorite is hooking it up to the TV with Chromecast for Google (or an Amazon Fire stick, if you have an Alexa). This way, even when I can’t find the remote (i.e. always), all I have to do to watch my favorite channel is say, “Hey Google, play Extra Petite Blog videos on YouTube on the TV.”
Lined Flannel Shirt Jacket – Shirt jackets are tricky. It’s a delicate balance between looking refined and looking like you belong in an oil refinery. This one nails it. It’s got a nicely structured heather gray outer, and the torso is lined in a fuzzy, shearling-esque fleece. And $99 is a great value for a shirt jacket, especially considering a lot of the other nice-looking options are really expensive. Trying on a M (would prefer a S) which was all that was left in-store.
This GIft Sucks
Here is a weird confession: sometimes I lay awake at night thinking about upgrading my vacuum cleaner. I know, I know. Of all the gadgets a guy could lust after, why a vacuum? But we have the Dyson V6, and I love it. It makes me want to clean. And I thought it was all I could ever want in a vacuum. But then I saw the Dyson V8. And I started to wonder, what does that feel like? What do those extra 2 V’s get you? V8 has to be better than V6, right?! After all, I am man; vroom vroom; me want more power, etc., etc. Either one is a good option.
STAY IN TOUCH
After over a decade together, Jean finally convinced me that I can’t wear oversized Burton nylon snowboard mittens with every cold weather outfit. If you’re also not a fan of walking next to a guy sporting a puffy boxing glove look, here are some gift options. Bonus: These work on touchscreen phones, so no need to de-glove in order to aimlessly scroll through Facebook.
Club Room Leather Touch Gloves – These cashmere-lined gloves in cognac brown or black are often on sale at Macy’s. And my god, the leather is so buttery you could bake it into a croissant. The sizing runs a little small, so I’ll take a large, please.
UGG Tech Gloves – You know how you always want to just stick your hands in a new pair of UGG boots and leave them there forever? No, just me? Well, their tech gloves let me live out that fantasy AND they look great in both a supple, non-shiny black leather or a wool blend. Even though they’re thicker (and I assume warmer), the fingertip touchscreen functionality still worked well enough for me to check how badly my fantasy football team was losing during my very rigorous in-store test. Runs true to size – Medium fit me well.
Fun fact: they are called UGG boots because every time you try them on it makes you go “UGH!…I did not want to like these but they feel so damn good.”
I Heard These Are Good
You know the old proverb: man cannot live on one pair of headphones alone. Ok, maybe it’s not a real proverb but you can always use another—a pair for the office, for working out, for walking the dog. You get the idea.
I’ve heard good things about the wireless Apple AirPods. But if you’re not into the futuristic tribal jewelry style, I use and would recommend the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones, which, confusingly actually still have one wire at the back connecting the two ear pieces (but perfect for the guy who can’t even keep a pair of socks together). They also come with several ear mould attachments to make sure they stay in comfortably.
23andme and Ancestry.com – (UPDATE: Ancestry.com clustered Jean’s DNA into one uninformative “East Asian” lump so if you’re mostly Asian, perhaps try 23andme which should provide a more specific Asian country breakdown) Being a mixed race baby, I’ve been wanting to try one of these DNA family ancestry kits for a while now, and what better time than the holidays! You could even get multiple kits for other members of your family. Nothing quite gets you in the holiday spirit like sitting around the fireplace together and spitting in a cup.
Also see Nick’s prior year gift guides for men!