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How To Choose The Right Gift For Men

Too early? Maybe, but here goes – a film showing you four surefire ways to win present giving this Christmas

No matter how many Yuletides we endure, the present-buying process never seems to get any easier. Yet, it’s not actually all that complicated. Giving yourself plenty of time to choose helps, of course, but at the end of the day the science of gifting comes down to two simple operations. First of all, there is quiet observation of your intended. Second of all, there is judicious decision-making based on the information available. There is no additional magical element to the process – it is simply about paying attention.

Yes, it all seems completely obvious, but still, it’s good to have some pointers. That’s why we at MR PORTER have put together the above video guide to getting gifting right every time. And why, for those that are currently in a public place, or simply averse to the moving image, we have summarised the said guidelines below, in text format. Consider this a poke in the ribs as we begin the jolly nosedive towards the big day on 25 December. Because, yes, you’ve got a bit of time to think about it all, but not that much time. In fact, if you do yourself a favour and get the gift-choosing out of the way early, you’re more likely to enjoy all the inevitable merrymaking later on. Whichever way you do it, though, abide by these rules and you can’t go far wrong.

Know what he likes

People sometimes feel awkward about being obvious when it comes to gifts. But there’s nothing wrong with being obvious if the gift in question ultimately hits the bull’s-eye where your intended’s personal taste is concerned. So, when choosing a gift for a man, look at the things he already has. If he has a white shirt that he likes, why not give him the same one in blue? If he owns a Gucci belt, perhaps he would secretly like a pair of the brand’s signature loafers, or a hat or scarf – by which we mean, it’s time to peruse that brand’s wares. There are also some items that no man can have too many of, specifically, T-shirts, shirtssocks and boxers. If in doubt, choose plain items from these categories – no one can object to those, especially if they come in premium fabrics (see SunspelZimmerli and Loro Piana) that he is perhaps less likely to buy himself.

  • Prada Stretch Cotton-Blend Poplin Shirt

  • Gucci Easy Roos Horsebit Collapsible-Heel Leather Loafers

Flatter him

Not everybody is born with a burning desire to be an artist, photographer, composer or novelist. And yet most people would like to be thought of as the kind of person who might have been any of those things. If that seems needlessly complicated, it is: the bottom line is that gifts are often a good way of showing someone what you think of them. If the impression that they get is that you think they’re intelligent, creative and something of a maverick, then all the better. So, in your quest for the tasteful and acceptable gift, consider the tools of various creative trades. Consider a Smythson notebook set for your intended to write down his weighty thoughts or perhaps a Leica camera for him to capture his daily inspirations. Failing that, MR PORTER has a range of inspirational coffee table books with the potential to pique his interest. Consider for example Phaidon’s aesthetically pleasing tome on modernist designer Mr Verner Panton, or, for more freewheeling types, Taschen’s wild look at the photographs of actor and artist Mr Dennis Hopper.

  • Smythson Panama Bright Ideas Cross-Grain Leather Notebook Set

  • Taschen The New York Times Explorer: Mountains, Deserts & Plains Hardcover Book

Trust in cashmere

There are a few things in this fallible universe that are impossible to dislike. One of them, as Ms Stephanie Rafanelli noted on The Journal earlier in the year, is the actor Mr Paul Rudd. Another is a cashmere sweater. Or a cashmere scarf. Or a cashmere anything, really. In fact, unless your intended has a serious allergy, he’s never going to turn his nose up at an item in this most prestigious and soft-to-the-touch fibre. And, if you’re in the market for something in cashmere, there are plenty of options available, from the supremely generous (we’re thinking something along the lines of a Loro Piana sweater or Brunello Cucinelli cashmere cardigan) to the fun and surprising (for example, the travel set currently on offer from Scottish cashmere expert Johnstons of Elgin).

  • Loro Piana Mélange Baby Cashmere Sweater

  • Johnstons of Elgin Fringed Checked Cashmere Scarf

Revamp his regimen

The holidays do tend to take their toll on the skin (watch this space for our pre- and post-party grooming tips), but more than that, they’re a time when self-indulgence seems most timely and appropriate. What better moment, then, to introduce him to some completely excessive and additional products that will help him to sail through the period looking like an angel and emerge the other side with a top-flight grooming regimen? There are various approaches you could take here. For the non-commital groomer, of course, it’s all about body wash – we recommend the exceptionally smart and festive varieties on offer from the likes of Byredo and Tom Daxon. But for someone who is already in the habit of spending a bit of time in front of the mirror, why not treat him to something a little more technical? A high-quality serum – such as the ones on offer from Dr. Barbara Sturm – is something that most men won’t think to treat themselves to. A top-flight eye cream (the very best, in our opinion, is Sisley – Paris Supremÿa Eyes At Night night cream) is also one of those products that will deliver startling results in a very short time, but he may not previously have considered. Of course, sometimes the best way to kick-start a new regimen is just to cover all the bases. For this purpose, we would recommend a gift set such as the one offered by Perricone MD, which serves as a quick and simple introduction to its wonderfully fizzy (and not to mention high-tech) hydrogen-powered H2 range.

  • Tom Daxon Sicilian Wood Shower Gel, 250ml

  • Sisley - Paris Supremÿa Eyes at Night - The Supreme Anti-Aging Eye Serum, 15ml