In Search of Thoughtul Gifts for Guys
For a unique, thoughtful present for your boyfriend or husband, reach beyond everyday options at the mall or online and give a gift with a story behind it. Discover these innovative and entrepreneurial places to find unique, interesting and unusual gifts for him via this gift guide.
One Stop Shops for Stylish Men’s Clothing Gift Ideas
The stores below are some of my favorites for inspiration for stylish clothing gifts for guys.
Huckberry, founded by Andy Forch and Rich Greiner in 2010, boasts an incredibly well-curated selection of menswear, accessories, homewares and textiles.
Nordstrom is my absolute favorite brick-and-mortar menswear option for its rare combination of stellar customer service, impressive e-commerce technology (including the outstanding option to filter neckties by width), speedy fulfillment and an amazing selection of young brands across many verticals.
Stag Provisions, based in Austin, Texas, is a true gem of a menswear store and sports an incredible, curated selection of menswear, shoe and accessory brands.
Suits and Dress Shirts
Suits and dress shirts are a thoughtful gift but can be tough to get right for guys at Christmas, even if your man’s wardrobe could use the upgrade.
Online Made-to-Measure Suits and Custom Dress Shirts
One option is to give the gift of a custom suit or shirt experience by pairing a gift card from online nationwide made-to-measure suiting standout Black Lapel or one of my favorite custom shirtmakers Proper Cloth with an accessory from their online collections, or try Knot Standard (review here) or Hall Madden (review here) if they offer fittings in your recipient’s neck of the woods.
For well-regarded off-the-rack suits, shirts, neckties and dressed-up accessories for men, try Holland-based bricks-and-clicks retailer Suit Supply, whose stylish (and sometimes fashion-forward) clothing is available online and in stores like this one in Washington DC;
Button Downs, Sweaters, Chinos and Jeans
Bonobos, founded by Andy Dunn and Brian Spaly in 2007, has been focused on chinos from the very beginning. Yep, they’re now owned by Walmart, but they also have a unique identity and great-fitting pants, which men can try on via more than 50 Guideshop locations around the United States.
Gant, a 70-year old brand born out of New Haven, Connecticut, has evolved over the years from a small family-run shop to a global company that sells European-influenced preppy staples including chinos and cords, slim cardigans and chunky cable sweaters and, of course, their classic white shirt.
Founded in 2011 by engineer Michael Preysman, the company promises “radical transparency” into its supply chain and offers solid, relatively affordable men’s wardrobe staples from t-shirts and cashmere sweaters to outwear and accessories.
Taylor Stitch was founded by Michael Armenta, Barrett Purdum, and Michael Maher in a San Francisco apartment in 2008, who wanted to produce well-fitting, simple-yet-sophisticated men’s clothes. With the unique detail of vintage San Francisco maps lining the pockets, their $98 chinos make a great gift for men.
Frank and Oak
Frank and Oak was founded by Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani in 2012 and creates thoughtfully designed clothing from sustainable materials.
Goodthreads and Amazon Essentials by Amazon
Amazon has expanded its house menswear brands and now has several private labels that produce affordable chinos, button downs, sweaters and other basics for men. Choose from Buttoned Down, Amazon’s answer to Brooks Brothers, Amazon Essentials, the company’s entry line, and (in between) Goodthreads, which Amazon suggests is for “go-to for wardrobe staples” for those who favor Banana Republic and J.Crew.
A slew of innovative brands is helping men add a little flair to their style with fresh ties, patterned pocket-squares and lapel pins. Here are some of my favorite places to score necktie gifts and other dressy essentials. (For more options, see Modern Fellows’ guide to the 37 places to buy stylish ties for men and 13 luxury necktie brands that will lend interest to a guy’s outfit.)
For affordable-yet-stylish neckties, it’s hard to beat Tie Bar. I like that many of their ties are available in multiple widths, ranging from super-skinny (2 inches) to skinny (2.5 inches) to slim (3 inches) to regular (3.25 inches). (Sadly, they manage to skip over the best possible width for a tie — 2.75 inches.)
The Nines is a fantastic (and relatively affordable) Paris-based online destination for neckties, cufflinks and more menswear accessories, including a great selection of grenadine neckties;
Sam Hober is a unique find. The Thailand-based company crafts made-to-order custom neckties. Just beware that orders can take weeks to fulfill.
Paul Winston’s ties are a throwback to an earlier time. He sells silk grenadine and madder ties, as well as “unapologetically cheeky conversation piece” neckwear, from his modest website and New York City storefront at prices you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in this day and age.
Vanda Fine Clothing
Vanda Fine Clothing began life selling through Styleforum.net in 2010 and has some interesting neckties.
General Knot & Co.
General Knot & Co. makes a variety of men’s ties — some classic, some very very floral.
Funky, Colorful and Unique Men’s Socks
Entrepreneurs are making bright socks that can add a touch of personality to an otherwise understated outfit. Our favorites include:
I love Happy Socks. While they seem to be everywhere these days, the brand only began in 2008, a co-creation of graphic designer Viktor Tell and advertising executive Mikael Söderlindh. Happy Socks was making colorful power socks for Silicon Valley execs before it was a thing. Find their colorful socks at Nordstrom, on the Happy Socks website, or through Amazon.com’s large selection.
Unsimply Stitched was founded in 2011 in Los Angeles by Alex Hendeles and offers customers a wide range of colorful socks, some of which — like plaids, windowpanes and the purple zig-zags — are daring even among a growing crowd of bold sock-makers. They’re awesome. Get ’em quickly via Amazon Prime.
I’m partial to this UK-based micro-ecommerce site’s focus on shopping by impact on communities and the environment. I’m also partial to the colorful and unique socks they feature from Guatemalan entrepreneur Antonio Prahl.
Southern Scholar, founded by Kevin Wohlman, offers a great gift solution — a monthly sock subscription for stylish guys. Kevin puts a premium on quality and customer service, partnering only with expert factories, sourcing quality materials and designing each classic-yet-cool pair in-house.
Stunning Men’s Watches
We may be in the golden age of watches, as the internet and global supply chains have produced an explosion of micro-watch brands that offer exquisite timepieces at price-points between $200 – $1,000.
For classic options, you can’t go wrong with a Christopher Ward chronograph.
Interesting and Unusual Accessories for Men
There are a range of startups offering a range of other unique accessories for men.
Beltology features funky braided belts that pair well with jeans.
Hats are making a comeback, and Goorin Bros. is leading the way. With a nationwide network of hat shops, gift-givers can find everything from a fedora to more subtle flat caps and knit hats — all made in the USA.
Dapper Woodworks, founded by Justin Trewitt, crafts sturdy tie racks, coat hangers and more out of walnut, bubinga, cherry and maple hardwoods.
Detroit-based Shinola prides itself on its nearby watchmaking and leather goods factory and bike shop, which produce a range of interesting American-made watches, cruiser bicycles and leather goods, including a gorgeous tan briefcase spotted at their Washington, DC store earlier this year.
A Book on Men’s Style
Pinpoint a great book on men’s style for gifting via Modern Fellows’ list of essential men’s style books.
Use a platform to find something personal
While online platforms are largely targeted at and frequented by women, there is a growing selection of small batch and customizable gifts for men on sites such as Etsy — where Modern Fellows serves as a tastemaker.
Want more ideas for awesome gifts for men?
See these Modern Fellows guides —
- 14 thoughtful gift ideas for dad;
- The best Menswear Black Friday and Cyber Monday Coupons, Codes and Deals;
- 7 Made-in-America gift ideas, and
- 5 modern takes on classic presents for stylish men.
Who is missing from this list? Leave a message in the comments.
About JakeJake is an expert on men’s style and fashion based in Washington, DC. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovative clothing and lifestyle brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. He has published hundreds of articles on style and apparel, and regularly interviews small business CEOs and startup founders about industry trends. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine.
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