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When it comes to gifts for the guys in our lives, the last thing we want to do is get something cliche — or, after moving in together, simply replace his mother's role of restocking his underwear drawer, sucking all the romance out of your fireside or bedside gift exchange moments.
Inspired by the return to dapper dressing, my newfound addiction to watching American Pickers and their "man-tiques," and spending time with my friend Chris, our resident antiques & collectibles correspondent, over the weekend, I decided to put together a list of fun throwback gifts that have serious potential to make your guy swoon. Plus, they're all under $50!
1. "Colonel" Tortoiseshell Monocle, ($50, Warby Parker)
Leaving the steampunk aesthetic aside for a moment, monocles instantly evoke the image of well-dressed, intellectual men from a bygone era, like Sherlock Holmes. An added bonus, Warby Parker's monocle also gives back to those in need through their one-for-one program, outlined in our previous coverage of the company here.
2. Old-Timey Grooming Products from Portland General Store
A longtime obsession and Etsy favorite, Portland General Store creates fabulously apothecary-inspired handmade grooming products and colognes straight from the other Portland, Maine's coastal metropolis full of manly sailors and carpenters and brewers (among other thick-skinned New England types). Pick up the non-toxic smelling salts ($5), all-natural tobacco wet-shave soap ($12) or vegan whiskey after-shave ($12). While I think every man should own a bristled shave brush, those will set you back, a splurge starting at $42 for the travel size.
3. Monogrammed Tie Clip with Hidden Message
($25, Red Envelope)
Every man we know who watches Mad Men has gradually started to add more traditional elements of style into his wardrobe, and no suit is completely styled without a tie clip. I love that this tie clip can be personalized with a classic three-initial monogram on the front, yet features your choice of a racy or sweet love note engraved on the inside. What woman doesn't swoon for a well-dressed man?
4. Cell-Blocking Phonekerchief ($15, UncommonGoods)
Emblazoned with the embroidered message "My Phone is Off For You," this pocket square actually blocks cell phone signal, meaning completely uninterrupted quality time. If this idea seems too gimmicky or you'd rather he have something functional to wipe away your tears during sappy movies, opt for a classic set of handkerchiefs from a department store or something handmade/vintage from Etsy. They're eco-friendly and save money on all those tissues, not to mention sweet.
5. Navy "Snakeskin" Denim Bow Tie ($23, Brown Belle)
Bow ties have decidedly made an un-ironic comeback, and I love this style from Boston-based designer Mariama of Brown Belle. The look is subtly metallic in faux snakeskin-printed denim, much like the waxy faux leather jeans that are an object of lust around the Shoestring office these days. Add a note to download the eHow app for his phone, which can teach him step-by-step how to tie a bow tie for free.
Some other ideas:
What are you getting for the guys in your life this year? I'd spill on Santa's scores for Ginger, but, well, you'll have to wait until after Christmas for that. He does, on occasion, actually read Shoestring.
Story: Copyright 2010, Shoestring LLC. Image: Courtesy of Portland General Store.