Without wanting to sound all bah humbug, I do find shopping for gifts at any time of the year a pain in the arse. Not that I’d consider myself mean or ungenerous – on the contrary, I love to buy gifts. It’s the getting-it-right bit I find fraught with stress. Go big and you’re seen as a show off. Too small and, well, you may as well have not bothered… unless it’s a diamond ring, of course. However, I’d be extremely happy and grateful to receive any one the eight stylish presents below as a gift. So no matter what age, taste or style the man in your life might gravitate towards, there’s something here that he will thank you for, with a genuine smile rather than a feigned surprise.
1. J Fitzpatrick ‘Anacortes’ boots
I was recently introduced to this fantastic shoe brand and was immediately drawn to its expertly cut simple leather sneakers and suede desert boots. This style in particular looks and feels a lot more dressy than a pair of trainers, but is not quite as formal as Chukka boot. Created with a footbed made for maximum arch support, your feet will want these ‘Anacortes’ boots on them every day. If you’re in an office with less formal dress code, then you will have the chance to dress these up with relaxed suiting or tailored separates. And not only do these look great, but the price point is hard to beat for a well made shoe. Worn in a multiple ways from winter into spring, this will be the gift that keeps on giving this Christmas.
£195, shop now
2. Byredo Gypsy Water eau de parfum
The recipient of this bottle of scent will thank you for the bottle design alone. Its tactile black magnetic stopper and clean graphic typeface are synonymous with the Byredo range. Yet it’s the addictive scent captured through the essence of fresh soil, deep forest and woody campfires that is a real assault on the senses. This is a perfectly balanced winter fragrance with its juniper berries and pepper top notes which meld together with pine needles and the base notes of amber and sandalwood, which conjure up all those familiar warm and comforting smells of this time of year.
£105, shop now
3. Drakes Diary kilim print scarf
Buying a loved one a scarf at Christmas might sound like a cop out on paper, but this richly textured and pattern scarf by London haberdashers Drakes is far from the ordinary. Made in Italy from wool and silk, it has both a warmth and lightness to it that will look good against any dark winter coat or wool suit. Drakes has drawn inspiration from traditional Indian kilim rugs, and its muted rich tones are spot on for these dark winter days. Team with corduroy trousers and a chunky cable knit in a tonal hue for those long afternoons sitting next to an open fire in a cosy country pub.
£195, shop now
4. NN07 Fair Isle sweater
I think I may have mentioned I’m really not a lover of the traditional ‘novelty’ Christmas jumpers, with their bells and whistles and flying reindeer. I know their intention is to get you into the festive spirit, but post 25th December they’re back in the bottom of the drawer for another 12 months. The clever way to bring a bit of festive knitwear is by gifting something a whole lot more stylish and wearable beyond the 12 days of Christmas, such as this Nordic pattern sweater by NN07. It has Christmas written all over it without being too obvious or cheesy, making it the perfect fireside knit for nursing a warm winter scotch. Wear it with dark denim and sturdy leather hiking boots in readiness for walking off all that turkey and Christmas indulgence.
£140, shop now
5. Sonic Editions 1963 Steve McQueen print
While the online retailer Mr Porter maybe be better known for hosting a wide range of fashion brands, it also offers a small curated offering of non-clothing products. It stocks Sonic Editions, which has a number of limited edition photographic prints of some of the world’s most recognised faces, from Hollywood to music. So, if you’re looking for something timeless and stylish but doesn’t involve clothes, then I would happily put my money on this iconic 1963 black and white print of actor Steve McQueen. This shot was taken by John Dominis at McQueen’s Palm Springs bungalow, with McQueen practising his aim before a shooting session in the desert. The print is limited to 495 and mounted in a sleek wood frame. A stylish addition to any bare wall in the house.
£200, shop now
6. Cire Trudon ‘Odeurs Royales’ scented candles
Christmas for many of us is all about those familiar smells, from the pine of the freshly cut tree to the heady scent of a saucepan of warm mulled wine. So while a scented candle might not appear to be the most original gift on the list, this triple hit from French perfumer Cire Trudon will fill your home with a warm familiarity. Fashioned from soya wax and cupped into three green hand crafted glass jars, each has its own personality, from the zesty citronella, lemon and cedarwood, to the fresh scent of aucalyptus and fir bark. All three have been inspired by the magnificence of the Grand Siècle and the court of Marie Antoinette, including conjuring up the smell of the parquet floors of the Château de Versailles. You’ll never find a more cultured candle under the tree this Christmas.
£125, shop now
7. Alex Orso necklace
Men’s jewellery always causes a reaction, whether it’s full on Liberace knuckle-dusters or darts champion Bobby George’s fondness for tomfoolery around his neck. There is a balance to be struck and I think a piece of jewellery, other than a watch or a wedding ring, can look great when worn with the right clothes. Alex Orso is a jewellery designer worth checking out if you are looking for those discreet, finely crafted pieces that still offer a bit of irreverence. This small disc, cast in solid sterling silver and plated in 22 karat gold, has a dappled surface in a high polish, while the back has a smooth brushed satin finish. It also features Goldsmiths Company hallmarks and comes with a shorter chain or longer brass chain, depending on personal preference. Wear over a T-shirt, under an open shirt or under a knitted sweater if discretion is more your style.
£125, shop now
8. Ichizawa Hanpu tool bag
As any member of my family will tell you, I’m a sucker for a new bag. A terrible affliction I remember having since I was 8 years old. So if any of them are reading this, I will be very much putting this on my list this year. It’s a completely practical, put-anything-in-it style bag, but looks smart with its simple design. Yet the bag has a storied history, as Ichizawa Hanpu is one of Japan’s most premium manufactures of hardwearing canvas bags. Each is hand made by two craftspeople in their Kyoto workshop, and is created from a study 8oz cotton canvas and finished with brass hardware. These will age really well over time, creating their own character through the owners’s use.
£140, shop now