Unique graduation gifts for guys: 5 modern takes on classic presents for stylish men

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Alice-made-this-alexander-steel-cufflinksWith graduation around the corner, here are some gift ideas for guys that put a unique spin on some old standbys, courtesy of a new generation of entrepreneurs. From a book about surviving life in the digital age to a luxury watch without the luxury price-tag, there are options for any budget:

1. Under $20: Food for thought about work and life in the digital age

Under twenty bucks, a book might be best.  While you could go sentimental (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!), ultra-practical (Effective Immediately), stylish (Dressing the Man), or funny (Complete World Knowledge by John Hodgman), how about giving a book that helps the new graduate grapple with coming to terms with life in the digital age? Hamlet’s BlackBerry fits the bill, as author William Powers encourages readers to think about what it means to lead a purposeful life. Alternately, while in The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss occasionally comes across as a modern version of the overenthusiastic TV infomercial personality — think Tony Little with a laptop and shorter hair — his book contains nuggets of good advice for cutting through digital distractions.

2. Around $150: simple, classic cufflinks from a UK Entrepreneur

Designer Alice Walsh created her own line of minimilist cufflinks, Alice Made This, which serve as an understated option for the guy who might not be used to wearing them. (Her Alexander Steel cufflinks are pictured above.) For a more personal touch, Royal Countess offers a number of intriguing cufflinks options, via Etsy, including circular “Charisma” cufflinks that can be stamped with the recipient’s initials. Louy Magroos is another Etsy-based option.

3. At $400: A post-backpack bag for the working man

At around $450, the cognac slim portfolio briefcase from Suitsupply is a stylish and lightweight upgrade from the university backpack.  For about the same price, Saddleback’s thin leather briefcase gets high marks from Primer Magazine.

4. For $500: “The cheapest most expensive watch in the world”

Launched by a couple of Brits who thought they could cut out the middle man and “marketing hype” markups associated with most luxury watches, the Christopher Ward Harrison C9 Automatic is a gorgeous timepiece and remarkable for the price, though with a watch face of 43mm, it may overwhelm slender wrists.  For half that, preppy Daniel Wellington watches, founded by entrepreneur Filip Tysander, have simple appeal and a marginally smaller watch face.

5.  From $400 to $1,000+: A killer custom-tailored interview suit

Starting at around $400, online made-to-measure startups will tailor a sharp suit for the graduating gentleman.  With its focus on customer satisfaction and smart finishes, Black Lapel is a good bet.  For other options, check out Indochino, one of the largest and most established of the new breed of online custom tailoring operations; Proper Suit and Suit Supply if you live in the ever-expanding number of cities they serve; or Astor & Black and Tom James, who will come directly to your gift recipient.

Left-to-right: Suit Supply's cognac slim leather bag and the Chris. Ward Harrison C9
Suit Supply’s cognac slim leather bag and the Chris. Ward Harrison C9



About Jake

Jake 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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