Every Father’s Day (and every gift-bearing holiday, for that matter), my father discourages my siblings and I from spending money on him. He almost always requests “a thoughtful card” — and I think the most meaningful gift I’ve ever given him (based on his unexpectedly moved response) was a framed picture of the two of us from my childhood. (Total cost: under $20.) If the conversation I had with two of my amazing bridesmaids (on our way back from my surprise bachelorette party in NYC — more on that later this week!) is any indication of a general trend, it sounds like most fathers share my dad’s sentiment: they’d rather you not spend money on them. That being said, there are some Big Occasions for which you’ve just got to dispense of your father’s wishes and find him the perfect little something. And if that occasion never arises, well, use these ideas for your boyfriend, your brother, your best friend. Let’s hear it for the boys!
For the prepster…
($195, Jonathan Adler)
Ideas on what to give a preppy gent? A pair of boat shoes — my fiance wears them with everything (Sperry, $69, OnlineShoes.com):
If your guy is a bit on the bolder side fashion-wise, consider these kicked up colorful Sebagos in lieu of the classic sahara-brown Sperry versions above ($115, NeedSupply):
Have him pair the shoes with some other preppy staples — a striped button-down (on sale for $59, Ralph Lauren), a needlepoint belt (I bought my fiance the Smathers & Branson crab version below — $165, Smathers & Branson), and some crisp white chino shorts (on sale for $54.99, Ralph Lauren):
Finish the look with a pair of super-cool shades. One of the best gifts I’ve ever given my (very preppy) fiance was an afterthought: I knew he’d broken his sunglasses and — on a whim — I snapped up a pair of Ray Ban wayfarers ($145, Ray-Ban) as a small “side” gift for his birthday. He is now literally never without them.
My fiance’s snappily dressed father now wants a pair (he owned them back in the 70s too), which just means that these shades have got to be the most timeless, ageless, versatile option for eyewear out there. (And they look equally flattering on men and women.) Besides — JFK wore them.
For slightly dressier events, your prepster will need a blue blazer with gold buttons to look his country club best ($528, Brooks Brothers):
I think this red gingham button down would look adorable with it (Preston, $165, Billy Reid):
A nice little bow tie in a preppy print would be another perfect gift (check out Richmond-based Peter Blair’s amazing selection — my fiance and I had the cummerbund sets for our wedding custom-designed by them; $55 for a bowtie):
And maybe I just want this for myself, but for a weekend away at Cape Cod, what about this Jack Spade awning-striped duffel ($295, Jack Spade)?
For the Outdoorsman…
If you’re guy is more of an outdoorsman, buy him a classic hunting coat — I gave my fiance this Barbour coat for Christmas this year and he wore it constantly ($399, Orvis):
He was delighted to discover that it was an “authentic” huntsman’s coat, with a huge pocket in the back for game and waxed, waterproofed coating that would enable him to hunt in any and all weather conditions. (He doesn’t really “hunt” anything but clay pigeons, but he was ecstatic about these features nonetheless.) He’ll likely be obsessed with the cool styling of this walnut wood pocket knife as well ($210, W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery):
This Billy Reid field cap might be the perfect topper for a day in the wild ($38, Billy Reid):
And he’ll probably be interested in a little nip of the strong stuff while he’s out hunting and gathering — my fiance loves Woodford Reserve bourbon ($30 for 750mL):
If he’s headed out of town for a weekend, the worn-in style of this overnight bag will probably suit him to a tee ($265, NeedSupply):
For the Steve McQueens Out There…
If you’ve got a Steve McQueen on your hands (love that cool, steely toughness) —
consider directing him towards (or investing on his behalf in) a sporty leather bomber. Belstaff is the way to go (but it’ll cost ya — well over $1,000. See Belstaff’s site for different styles, like this Raf Button Blouson version):
For something authentic at a lower price point, consider one of these Cockpit USA “Antique Lamb A-2” bombers ($395, Cockpit USA):
And of course you’ll need to get him the Steve McQueen Persol shades ($338, My Wardrobe):
To get McQueen’s more formal look down (he wore killer suits in various on-screen role, for example) —
Have him dress up in this killer plaid blazer (“The Ruston Patch Plaid,” $595, Billy Reid):
A slate blue tie should complete the look — Brooks Brothers has an enormous selection, including a solid blue tie that would work well here ($75, Brooks Brothers).
For the Dapper Gent…
Continuing down the “dapper dresser” road: a well-dressed man will invariably own a trench coat, and this Burberry style is both masculine and practical (and on sale for $397, Nordstrom):
For a weekend out of town, imagine how well-heeled he’d look heading to the airport with this rich brown leather “Trans-Atlantic” duffel by Coach ($695, Coach):
Pair with these classic Tod’s moccasins (I bought my fiance a pair a year or two ago, and he adores them — $395, Neiman Marcus):
Alternately, I just read about a small Richmond-based men’s footwear company — the Rider Boot Company — who has just come out with a new collection of handsewn driving mocs that are just about the most perfect things you’ve ever seen ($225, Franco’s):
Another good gift idea for a sophisticated guy? An engraved money clip is in order ($125 plus engraving costs, Tiffany):
And for unwinding after a long day at the office — a set of monogrammed old fashioned glasses ($59, Williams-Sonoma):
Invest in a set of whisky stones — soapstones that you can use to keep drinks cold without running the risk of watering down the flavor — for $20 at Sur La Table: