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Stocking Stuffers and Small Gift Ideas

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone the gift giving holidays quickly approach.  Today being black Friday I thought it fitting to offer some suggestions for those of you whom may need some small gifts for your fathers, brothers, sons or friends.

It is my feeling that too often stocking stuffers end up being items that do not find much use or purpose after their after initial duties of filling a sock are complete.

These stocking stuffers are intended to compliment a man’s wardrobe by having value in their style and finding frequent use.

Wardrobe:

-A shoe horn is an important item for any man who wears leather dress shoes.  While many men may already have some type of shoe horn it is often a cheap plastic version.  For these men or men without any type I would suggest a fine shoe horn made from horn or brass.

-A suit brush is another addition to a man’s wardrobe that helps him properly care for his investments.  Used to clean a suit by brushing away dirt it also can be used quite effectively as a replacement for the adhesive lint roller which can leave behind a residue.

-Everyman can use a package of simple white linen pocket squares.  To add a bit of a personalized touch get them monogrammed with their initials.

-An assortment of silk knotted cuff links is a welcome addition to any man’s collection.  Being inexpensive means quite a few can be purchased.

Accessories:

-As I have written before a decent pocket knife is a welcome addition any man’s daily carry.  They can be very simple and find many uses throughout the day.  Some good deals on knives can be found on Ebay.  Case XX knives are quality knives that can be found for reasonable prices with a little searching.  For online retail I suggest Deadwood Knives.

-A great socking stuffer for a cigar smoker would be a leather cigar case.  These come in a range of styles from the number of cigars they hold to the type of leather.  An added advantage is the ability to be monogrammed to add bit of personalized style.  

This list could go on for some length so at the very least it is intended to sparks some inspiration and help you to get the right items for those who will appreciate them.

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Coordinating Leather and Metal

Friday, August 28th, 2009

It is important to pay attention to the different textures and materials that you are wearing in order to coordinate appropriately. A truly refined look is won through attention to detail. When laying out your clothes for the day it is important to first think about what shoes you will be wearing. This will in part depend on your expected activities for the day and what clothes you will be wearing.brownshoe

Once you have decided on your shoes move on to your belt. Your belt should coordinate with your shoes in the following way: black with black, brown with brown, and in a similar texture of leather. Browns do not have to match perfectly but should be of a similar shade. A cloth belt will be paired with brown shoes, as they are more casual. belt

After your shoes and belt move on to your watch. If the watch has a leather strap, again coordinate with belt and shoes following the same rules as with the belt. For metal watches or the watch face of your leather strapped watch the color of the metal should be similar to that of the belt buckle. If you do not own multiple watches but have versatile watch that works well on many occasions (such as a metal sport watch) I suggest getting a few different belts that can coordinate with the watch. Breguet

If your shirt has double cuffs and you decide to wear metal cufflinks then you should coordinate the color with your watch and belt buckle. If you wear a tie bar, it too should follow in suit. It is forgivable if wedding bands clash with the overall theme but other rings (especially if warn on your watch hand) should not.

Some of these items are available containing both silver and gold hues. These can be paired with either gold or silver.

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A gentleman’s accessories

Friday, August 14th, 2009

A great suit might really help to make a look but style does not rely on clothes alone.  It is subtle details such as accessories that help to refine the look and make it timeless.  These accessories are not just meant to look nice but they need to function and serve the purpose for which they are intended.

Wallet: Wallets come in many shapes and sizes but I feel that, as in most applications, simplicity is best.  I don’t like sitting on a folded piece of leather or having a lump on my backside.  To avoid this I started using a front pocket wallet.  They are thinner and have room only for the essentials (cards, cash).accessory wallet thinaccessory wallet open

This wallet is a great example of a good balance of form and function.  It’s made by Bosca who also make other luxury leather goods.

Watch:  A watch is as much a piece of jewelery as it is a functional necessity.  The criteria an individuals use when choosing the right watch for them should include their personal requirements and expectations.  Does the watch need to be waterproof, have lots of features, or only the basic simplicity of time and maybe date.  You should also go and try on watches with different sized watch faces to find the size that works best for you.

For the best of sport watches that can go from work to play while representing the epitome of class look to Breitling and TAG Heuer.  These watches are waterproof and are available with either leather or metal link bracelets.

    TAG Heuer's Monaco as worn by Steve McQueen in 1969s "Le Mans"

TAG Heuer's Monaco as worn by Steve McQueen in 1969s "Le Mans"

For a more traditional, simple elegance,  look to brands such as Patek Phillippe or Breguet.  These watches delight in the concept of less is more.  Relying more on clean lines and a well thought out layout to make an impression than an abundance of features. Patek Philippe's Ref. 3939 These watches while very nice tend to exist outside the average price range for the American man.  It is possible to find less expensive brand that have similar style cues and satisfy similar needs but for less money.  If you are lucky enough to be able to say that these watches are within your range then I would recommend the best.

The Pen: Every man should always have a pen somewhere on them at all times.  In more casual settings this may just call for a nice ballpoint for jotting down the occasional note or number but for the office or when a suit is involved I recommend a fountain pen.  Nothing can be more formal or more personal that a handwritten note written with a fountain pen.  For top-of-the-line, look to DunhillMont Blanc, or Waterman.  But from a design point of view one of the most beautiful pens is the discontinued Parker 51.

Parker 51:  Simple and elegant

Parker 51: Simple and elegant

Flask and Pocket knife:  More optional, but just as necessary in my opinion, are the hip flask and pocket knife.  Both  tend to show their real worth when you need them and don’t have them.

A flask can be a beautiful accessory that says a lot about its owner.  I recommend a vintage sterling silver flask.  They can be found on various auction websites and antique stores but if you are lucky enough to have one that has been passed down from father to son, fill it with your favorite tipple and carry it proudly.  Many a train ride home from work has been made more enjoyable thanks to a few sips of a favorite drink.

A small pocket knife has many uses from opening letters or boxes to cutting fruit.  Like the flask the most most desirable pocket knives are those that have been passed down and carry a history with them but don’t feel bad if you must buy one.  They can be extremely cheap while still looking very nice.  If you choose to carry a small pocket knife take care when traveling and make sure to keep it in checked luggage.

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