An Expert’s Guide To Gifting Clothes For Men
Mr Charlie Teasdale. Photograph by Mr Davide Annibale
The gifts you give and receive say a lot about you. Recently, I was the lucky recipient of a cashmere eye mask, which is impossibly soft and comfortable, but suggests that my tastes are perhaps perceived as boujier than they really are. (They’re not not bouji, to be fair.) And even though his own wallet is little more than a few rags of tattered leather, my best pal is yet to switch to the handmade bi-fold I gave him for his 30th birthday. That is to say, just because I thought his sorry excuse for a wallet wasn’t fit for purpose, I shouldn’t have assumed he shared the sentiment.
It is a lovely wallet, though; as classic and understated as they come. Despite my mate’s reluctance, most men would be happy to receive something so reliably perennial and perennially reliable, so you could do worse than give one of the agreed essentials of modern menswear. A pair of Redwing 8138 boots, for example, or a white crew-neck T-shirt by Sunspel or some black Ray-Ban Wayfarers. There isn’t a wardrobe that wouldn’t benefit from any or all of these. Dependably stylish as they are, however, they might not scream thoughtfulness. To achieve gifting superiority, you need to think of the thing they don’t know they want until it lands on their lap on Christmas morning. I was only aware of how much I needed a cashmere eye mask once I’d strapped one to my face.
My tip here would be to go for something that offers ritual. Ritual is experience and experience is the modern definition of luxury, I’m told. A well-chosen candle would do the trick, especially now that a raft of suitably macho brands and scents have banished any stigma. A better than average razor would work, too, as might the right pair of pants. Yes, even underwear can offer a moment of joy in someone’s day. In fact, it’s the very ethos of Swedish brand CDLP.
Buying “fashion” for someone else is a dangerous game, but not necessarily one to be avoided. Just don’t go in all guns blazing. An oversized Balenciaga track top might be a bit much for your giftee, but I’m sure they’d appreciate the easy-to-wear cool of one of the brand’s logo hoodies. And even if there are no cooler shirts right now than those from Dries Van Noten’s tie-dye-abundant collection, a pair the Belgian’s chunky Derby shoes might slide into an existing collection with less friction.
If all else fails, you can always rely on a tie from Drake’s, which will offer quality, eternal style and ritual in one easy-to-wrap package. And, as luck would have it, ties are back in fashion.
Mr Charlie Teasdale is the style director of British Esquire