Hello, Nick here. Husband of Jean. It’s that time of the year where I make a guest appearance on the blog. It’s also that time of the year where you’re mulling over gifts for the difficult-to-shop-for men in your lives. What a lovely coincidence.
You don’t need a wish list spelled out in crayon and mailed off to Santa (i.e. You) to pick the perfect gift. All you need is to look at one very specific piece of information. A piece of information from which you can glean many gift-related clues: his man-crush. Whether it’s a chef-author named Bourdain or a quarterback named Brady, I’m here to help decode those dudely infatuations into real, tangible gifts…
When visiting a new city, does he only trust the recommendations of his best bros, Anthony Bourdain or David Chang? Will he not shut up about the latest season of Chef’s Table? Does he stare lustfully at the Whole Foods cheese display the way you wish he looked at you? If so, any gift relating to eating or drinking will probably make him happy.
A Well-Designed Apron
These stylish, functional aprons by Hedley & Bennett are handmade in downtown LA and are loved by culinary pros. But you don’t have to be a pro to wear one. I can’t guarantee it will inspire him to cook you a gourmet meal. But, at the very least, he can wear it when you both eat takeout sushi on the couch while watching reruns of Top Chef.
This gift guide could’ve been made up entirely of cookbooks. I love cookbooks. How do you choose just one? (hint for Jean: you don’t have to).
– For the true Bourdain diehard, his newly penned Appetites: A Cookbook came out this fall.
– Anyone in or around Kentucky, or anyone anywhere really, should check out Edward Lee’s Smoke & Pickles.
– And people of NorCal and SoCal alike will enjoy the latest issue of David Chang’s Lucky Peach journal—it’s all about the food of Los Angeles.
When you’re wondering aloud “Who’s that actor who plays Sherlock?” does he shout “Benedict Cumberbatch!” before you even finish your sentence? Does he insist the guy from Luther and The Wire (Idris Elba) absolutely must be the next James Bond? Well, here are some gifts to help him feel more like those British movie stars he’s definitely only obsessed with because of their superb acting skills and not because of their great style and charisma.
It turns out, the only thing you need to pull off wearing a top coat is owning a well-tailored top coat. Plus, it’s the closest you can get to wearing a magical cape like Dr. Strange. I have this Theory coat (also sold here) and wouldn’t mind it in all colors. And here is a less pricey option that I’ve tried on as well.
A New Pair of His Favorite Sunglasses
Not every guy can or wants to pull off the latest wire-frame sunglasses trends. So go with a tried-and-true shape like the New Wayfarer in a slightly non-traditional tortoise matte finish. It also hides fingerprints, unlike its shiny counterparts.
While “dopp kit” is just a fancy way of saying toiletry bag, a little bit of an upgrade can make him feel extra suave. But no need to spend $100 on a bag that’s going to hold his retainer and athlete’s foot cream. Herschel Supply Co. makes nice ones for around $30. As a bonus surprise gift, fill the bag up with fancy travel-sized bottles of his favorite hair product, shaving cream, and whiskey.
A Grown-Up Backpack
State backpacks are basically the sleek, business-appropriate version of the Jansport he had from first grade all the way until he walked across the stage at high school graduation. And this particular style, which I use as my everyday bag, is water resistant and laptop-ready.
Does he know more about Tom and Gisele than you do? Did he watch the Bachelorette with you because he “just wanted to see if Aaron Rodgers’ brother wins”? Does he spend all of Saturday and Sunday (and parts of Monday and Thursday) watching football on the couch? Here are some gifts that cater to his inner-athlete.
Socially Acceptable Sweatpants
For ages, I’ve been searching for a pair of sweatpants that toe the line between the Russell Athletic drawstring sweats you find at Wal-mart and the $100 joggers at Nike Town. These are the ones. Zippered pockets. Dry stretch material that looks pretty high end. And a tapered fit that’s not too tight. Get them in every color.
Sneakers That Feel Like Slippers
I know these are technically running shoes, but to me they are just slippers you can wear outdoors for daily life. And thanks to the stretchy Flyknit fabric, these lace-up shoes are just slip-ons in disguise.
Every guy needs a good pair of headphones so he can blast Ed Sheeran and get amped up for the big Monday morning status meeting. And while I’m no audiophile, the Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones sound pretty good to me. The noise cancelling is very effective (especially for tuning out Jean’s movie commentary on long flights). And, they’re soft and pillowy like a freshly steamed bao bun wrapped around each ear.
Which of these categories do the guys in your life fall into?
And if you still need more gift ideas, these last-minute gifts from my previous post are still relevant. After all, a good wooden spoon never goes out of style.