My Practical or Otherwise Men's Gift Guide 2016

Why do I do a men's gift guide every year? Because I am, so they tell me, a man, so I should know, right?
Publish date:
October 20, 2016
gift guides, holiday gifts, Holiday Gift Guide

A men's gift guide. I know, you would rather watch paint dry than read another one of these. That's what you think NOW, at least, until it comes time to actually buy a gift, and then what? You're fresh out of ideas and frantically googling this very article mid-December, praying to god that I have some good ideas for you. And I do. It may seem early, but it's not, at least for the XO editors who told me to do it earlier this year for "SEO purposes." So do yourself a favor and bookmark this in your phone for later.

Why do I do a men's gift guide every year? Because I am, so they tell me, a man, so I should know, right?

Wrong. The men in my life are very hard to buy for, and year after year, it doesn't get any easier. Do you know how elated I was last year when my dad asked me for eye cream? I was like, "OK, now that I can do." Why can't it always be that easy? Hopefully this year he'll ask me for liquid lipstick.

Then again, I think about them having to buy for me, and I pity them, so maybe I shouldn't complain.

One of my favorite ways to buy someone a gift is to think about what they would want or love, but never buy for themselves. The beauty of this logic is that it can be applied to whatever they like! I'm usually thinking in the context of beauty products, gifting someone with a really nice moisturizer (and a really nice gift receipt) is always great, but you can do the same thing with like, kitchen tools! Or a bar set! You see what I mean.

So let's get to it.

Incipio Stashback Credit Card Case for iPhone 7, $39.99

Have you seen one of these before? Is it blowing your mind? I have owned no less than three iPhone credit card cases, so I thought I'd include one in this roundup.

A few years ago, all the shit in my wallet was getting out of hand, so I decided to to pare it down to a card case so that I had no choice but to not stuff it full of loyalty cards and receipts and phone numbers I was never going to look at again.

And then I saw one of these and the game changed. They're genius and handy and he'll always have everything he needs on him. (On the other hand, he'll lose everything he needs all at once if he misplaces it. Something to think about.)

Every like, six months, I get accessory-hungry and switch my phone card case back to a nice leather card case, and then I switch right the fuck back. I hate choosing functionality over fashion, but my jeans are really tight and the less I have to cram into them, the better. Is that what being an adult means? Tell me in the comments.

And look, it comes in pink!

Another phone case, stay with me here. When I'm working behind the bar, there's nothing more irritating than "Can you charge my phone?" Dude, NO.

But I get it, sometimes you just need some juice. Make sure he's always safely charged with a nice phone case like this. It's 2016; there's no excuse to have a dead phone.

Coach Leather Tech Gloves, $145

Tech gloves are a necessary evil in a lot of our lives, but a lot of them are made to look like they're made for the Winter Olympics, all black and neon, which don't pair well with a nice peacoat. These are beautiful, made with a leather that responds to his body heat, making them work for all of his touchscreen devices. They're lined with merino wool, and go pretty far up the wrists, to protect his forearms from drafty winter days.

See what I'm doing here? A battery case and tech gloves? I created this gift guide so he'll never have an excuse not to text you back.

Sprayground for Beyond Hype Chenille Black Camo Shark Top Loader, $80

Does the man in your life have a decent bag for traveling? And I don't mean his old Nike duffel that he used in high school wrestling. It may not be something he uses every day, but a decent bag should be an essential. I could include one from Jack Spade or something, but I probably already put you to sleep with those phone cases, so I wanted something a little more fun.

I've really loved Sprayground for a while now, I have no less than four of their bags. I bought my first one like, four years ago? And I still use it at least once a week.

Their designs are amazing inside and out. The backpacks are made to safely hold all your tech, spray paint bottles, and skateboards, whatever (no really, they've got ones designed for all of that) and they're basically bulletproof.

I grabbed their first top loader, similar to this one, this summer to take with me on all of my trips, and it couldn't have worked better. It held a week's worth of outfits (two outfits a day, plus a suit) and all of the beauty products I brought.

The top loader is a great alternative to the typical weekender because it's just as roomy, but you can carry it on your back instead of being lugged down by a bag on your arm. They've also got duffels and messengers, if that's more his style. Their designs are always evolving, and I have yet to buy the same bag twice. Each offering a different and unique functionality. I don't know, they're a fun brand to keep an eye on.

It's hard to buy clothes for anyone as a gift, but maybe you just need to drop a hint.

Scotch & Soda Chill Sweater, $165

Does the man in your life drink whiskey? Does he use a whiskey ball to keep it cold "the correct way"? If he does, you'll blow his mind with this.

Death Star Ice Sphere Mold, $12

I've never seen that Star Trek movie, but I guess the Death Star is a pretty big deal in it, and what better way to accessorize your drink than with a Death Star whiskey ball?

As long as we're on that nerd shit, how about the:

Vans Disney Pixar Toy Story Collab, $65

Apparently this is what you people want? They're selling out like crazy, but they're being replenished very quickly, so keep an eye on the styles/sizes you think he'd like and grab them before they're gone.

Or how about a nice pair of joggers? To me, a good pair of joggers always take a casual outfit from "I just rolled out of bed" to "I carefully put this outfit together after I just rolled out of bed." Kind of a more intentional, sporty athleisure moment.

I'm actually obsessed with these beautiful rose-colored Terry Fleece Joggers, $39.99.

Or this gray french terry option from Kenzo, $240.

I've never seen a gift guide for men without some sort of beanie option. Don't we all already own one of those? I feel like putting a stupid hat in is kind of a no-brainer, but if I have to, then how about this one:

Fendi Monster Fur-Pom Wool Hat, $600

I don't think I have ever loved an accessory more than I love this. The Fendi Monster collection is awesome, but a winter hat with a little fur pouf on the top and menacing eyes? Has anything ever been cuter? The only thing stopping me from buying it is knowing I would immediately lose it at a bar.


Jennifer Fisher Small Gothic Letter Cuff Links, $1,000

Jennifer Fisher is my favorite jewelry designer and my very favorite part of her collection is what she does with old English lettering. I know many guys don't own cuff links because nobody really wears them anymore, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't. And hell, they're probably going to come back around soon enough. He might as well be ahead of the curve.

They're available in 14 and 18K gold, white gold, and rose gold, so you can get him a set that matches his iPhone. Yeah, I know they're a clean G, but I'm not saying he needs these (he needs these) but you could use these as a nice starting point, finding personalized cuff links that aren't more than your mortgage payment. I'm here to inspire.

What are you getting your man? Who is the hardest person in your life to buy for? Tell me in the comments!