Welcome back to The Buy Line, where we analyze how the new market forces of menswear—driven by the Internet and the rise of a more savvy consumer—have redefined where the intersection of well-made and well-priced lands.
It’s not an insignificant amount of work that goes into making Thanksgiving, well, the best.
And unless you’re the one who plans on spending their Thursday basting, mashing and otherwise preparing for that all-out food-for-all, then you better not be showing up empty-handed. Now, we’re not at all saying you need to spend a fortune. But in the spirit of the day, your hosts better damned well know that you appreciate them putting in the effort.
That’s where we come in. Having combed the Internet so you don’t have to, we’ve compiled some of the finest ways to praise your own pumpkin pie purveyors.
All right, the man’s not perfect. But he’s your father. And this Sunday, you have to show him that you appreciate that.
Now, fathers are certainly easier than mothers when it comes to these sorts of things. All dear ol’ Dad probably expects is your presence and a strong handshake. And maybe a card. But since he taught you not to do anything half-assed—for better or worse—you should probably go ahead and get the guy something anyway. And no excuses here; you can afford to splurge a little on the man you owe half your existence to.
From GQ to Cool Hunting to Vanity Fair, everyone’s got their opinions on where you should spend that pretty penny. So in an effort to simplify the decision, we’ve cut through all that noise and chosen our favorites... of their favorites.
It’s become a time-honored tradition for a son to give his father a token of appreciation on the third Sunday of June.
In our experience, it really is the thought that counts—whether it’s a card, a bottle of fine cognac or a steak dinner (every dad likes to celebrate differently.) But should you be feeling an extraordinary urge to lavish dear old Dad this year, we cut through all the noise (and Nooks) to help you figure out where to focus your attention—ranging from the gents at GQ to the ladies at DailyCandy to the geeks at Wired. It’s enough gadgetry, machinery and sockery to need a guide just to get through all of these gift guides...
Here’s one last piece of gift guidance before we call it a year: You can’t go wrong with chocolate. And rawer is always better.
CoolHunting rounds up a pretty good set here, but they leave off our favorite of the bunch, the famous Mast Brothers of Brooklyn. Known for their impressive beards and faculty with the chocolate arts, they’ve been one of the highlights of Williamsburg’s culinary scene for a while. Pick up a fleur de sal bar (possibly as a stocking stuffer) and you should be set.
We’re entering the 11th hour of the gift guide roundup, but we’ve got a couple more that should be worth your while. You can see the full list here to catch up.
Temple specializes in deadstock WWII gear—mostly army green scarves and repurposed bags—but for their gift package, they had a very good idea: put it in a stocking. Specifically, it’s an army issue sock, with a wallet, keychain and a skeleton key necklace thrown in for good measure. It’s all good, rugged gear…and about as festive as military chic gets.
The khaki pant has gotten a rough shake over the past couple decades, but if you go back far enough, it was every bit as rough and tumble as denim. To the archives!
Fortunately for connoisseurs of indestructible clothing, Nom de Guerre has a pretty good recreation in stock—which just happens to be on sale at Context. It’s essentially dyed Japanese selvage denim, but the cut and the archival quality gives it a little more history than your average hipster jean. There’s even a cinching strap in the back for an extra bit of retro flair—another touch that would be out of place on the indigo version—but the fabric is the same stiff, raw weave you’d find at higher end jean shops. Well played, gentlemen.
It’s tough to pull off a pocket square without coming off like a trad, but if you choose wisely, it can give a staid suit some much-needed playfulness. Our advice: nothing too flashy and per A Suitable Wardrobe, stay away from silk.
Which is why a touch of homemade can be extremely useful. Like cufflinks, this is an instance where you may find the best stuff on Etsy. These cotton squares range from chambray and navy stripe to more complex graphic patterns—depending on your irony tolerance—any one of which would go over pretty well at a holiday party, if tucked into an appropriately rugged blazer.
One advantage of the newly global market: It’s remarkably easy to trace heritage looks back to the source. That means Tokyo hipsters can order their Red Wings direct from the source but also—more relevantly—there’s no point relying on stateside Fair Isle recreations. Scotland’s just a few clicks away.
For instance, the norsemen at Oi Polloi dug up this appropriately patterned scarf from Jamieson's to remind us of just that. Technically it’s from Scotland’s Shetland Islands, just north of Fair Isle itself, and all the wool is grown, harvested, processed and knit onsite, making it very much the real deal. Even accounting for exchange rates and shipping, it won’t set you back much more than the stateside mass market version.
Unless your wardrobe’s already pretty twee, your best bet might be using it as a gift for a female acquaintance, but it’s a lot more versatile than it looks. And if it’s warm enough to withstand the Scottish winter, we doubt the Northeast will be much of a challenge.
This one is for advanced gifters only, but if you’re intimately familiar with a particular gift-worthy acquaintance—and she’s got an appreciation of carefully considered design—this might be just about perfect.
It’s called the Form 2, and judging by the cleverly cordless charging system, it’s staking out an early claim as the iPod of vibrators. It’s also waterproof and stereophonic (hence the name) and comes with packaging impeccable enough to be a pleasure to unwrap. The first of many, naturally.
This might be for tie aficionados only, but if there’s a particularly accessory-minded person on your list, you may want to consider wrapping up a cravatte or two. As the trend pieces may have told you, it’s not just for grandmothers anymore.
This Band of Outsiders crest tie is piece of sly preppidom currently on sale at Aloha Rag and, while it’s not as obvious as candy stripes or snowmen, something about the tongue-in-cheek classicism says holiday spirit to us. Now you just have to find a matching sweater…
The latest crop of APC gear is landing in stores this week, which means the usual assortment of close-cropped flannel, some intensely speckled sweaters…and this hat.
We’re not quite ready to call it a trend just yet, but we’ve been waiting quite a while for a faux-fur earflap hat that didn’t make us look like a Cossack or a duck hunter—and we suspect we’re not alone. This one doesn’t ditch the woodsy vibe entirely, but adds enough rough plaid grunginess to give urban dwellers a little cover. And since it’s a good deal warmer than all the equally handsome alternatives, the cold should do the rest.
Despite the mind-boggling volume of men’s mag articles on the subject, shoe maintenance is never going to be fun, sexy or exciting. But, with the right set of gear, maybe it can be handsome.
This truffle leather shoe cleaning kit contains everything you need for a vigorous session of loafer scrubbing—including three brushes, two tins of beeswax polish, a rubbing cloth and a shoe horn—but the important thing here is the dopp kit style, which lets you keep it on your closet shelf without feeling like you’re prepping for a second career at a stand in the airport. It’s a radical idea but a good one: If your cleaning gear looks good enough, you might find yourself inspired to use it.