Fashion: Stylish Holiday Gifts for the Man in Your Life

Did you forget the gym membership or the newest video war game? When it comes to buying the guy in your life a gift this holiday season, why not dress him up a little? If he’d rather watch football all day rather than darken the door of a men’s retailer, then take matters into your own hands. It’s the perfect time to give him the best present of all — the gift of style.

— Start with “tech” accessories. “This is the perfect season to think carrying cases and leather goods, since most guys can’t live without their gadgets,” says Tom Julian, fashion industry expert and author of the “Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Everyday Dressing” (Chronicle Books, $17.95). But don’t think the old shaving kit is going to get it.”

Tech accessories will be in high demand,” says Julian. “The Dopp kit is passe, while zipper cases and canvas totes are custom designed for gadgets in all shapes and sizes.” Julian recommends the modern streamlined looks of carrying cases by brands, such as Incase and J.Fold and other luxury labels. But he warns, “make sure you avoid any unsightly contraptions in fake leather or with bulky holsters.” Tres tacky techy!

manfashion— Think luxury. Yes, your guy will appreciate the soft touch of velvet or cashmere when it comes to dressing up for those festive occasions. “With the return of a dressier nighttime look for men’s fashions, expect key trends like rich-colored velvet blazers paired with dark denim jeans and novelty shirts,” says Julian. “For an updated look, it’s the half-placket cashmere pullover layered with a dress shirt and worn with flannel trousers.”

Key pieces to put on your guy’s gift list: a cashmere, shawl-collar sweater jacket, a hand-loomed cashmere scarf or a velvet vest.

— Warm him up. Consider upgrading his outerwear wardrobe. The stores are stocked right now with great options for every type of guy. The “value-item” of the season, according to Julian, is a waxed hunting jacket because it has a shell, zip-out lining and is waterproof for cold-weather protection.

Other updated outerwear choices include the car coat in cashmere or wool trimmed with tech nylon, the toggle coat in neutral colors and plaids, and the sleek down-puffer coat in liquid metallic shades or brights.

— Keep it slim and trim. Is your guy still wearing baggy, pleated pants and oversized T-shirts? Give him an instant makeover and watch the pounds melt away. “Slim-fit items are the new must-haves when it comes to gift-giving for guys,” says Julian.

Shoulders are narrower, and bodies are tapered. Look for shirts with smaller collars and narrower plackets, which then dictates a thinner 3-inch tie. For blazers, 3-inch lapels are the norm today, says Julian, and the lean line continues to be fashion-forward in flat-front pants.

— Get cozy. What’s the one thing that should be at the top of your gift-giving list for those men in your life? “Every man should own a variety of half-placket pullover sweaters,” says Julian. “Not only do they fit all body types,” he says, “but they are available in a variety of styles and fabrics. They are fast becoming more popular than crewnecks or V-necks.”

For the preppy dresser, consider a merino wool or cotton option that can be dressed up with a tie and slacks, or dressed down with jeans and hiking boots. Fleece pullovers are great for active guys, and for the more fashion adventurous, think chunky knits in Nordic or Fair Isle patterns.

Image: The richly colored velvet blazer is one of the “must-have” gifts for guys this holiday season. Photo courtesy of


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