Welcome to the 6th annual Rath & Co. holiday gift guide! This list is one of my favorite posts to create for you. And if your inbox over the past week has been anything like mine, it’s filled with a frenzy of sales and offers, some better than others. It’s a little overwhelming, even for me. There is so much stuff to weed through. And let’s be real, much of what’s being touted as good holiday gifts is uninspired and trite. Kind of like just going through the motions of giving someone a gift without putting much thought into it. What’s the point of that?
What I’ve done with this year’s gift guide is scouted for Rath-approved items that not everyone else will be getting — interesting and unique gifts that show some thought was put into choosing them. The list is divided up into ideas for men and ideas for women and cover a range of budgets. The ideas for men may cover the guys on your list — or maybe they’re things you’ll ask for yourself.
Cause and Effect bracelet ($50) – This is for a guy who’s somewhat advanced in the style dept. Man jewelry is not the easiest thing to pull off (post coming soon on that, I promise), but I love the raw feel of this painted copper cuff. It can be worn alone or in combination with a watch or other bracelets for a full-on arm party.
Nike + Undercover Court Force High-Top Sneakers ($150) – OK, so he’s got a basic non-workout sneaker (hopefully). Now it’s time to take it up a notch with something more stylish. This high-top from Nike is a great option for a guy who wants to step up his style but doesn’t want to get involved in wacky colors or over-the-top patterns.
Felisi jeans belt ($175) – If you or the guy on your list doesn’t have a solid jeans belt (no, the reversible black to brown one does not count), it’s time to remedy that. I like this one from Felisi because each buckle hole is embossed with numbers for a subtle twist on the classic.
Wooly Mammoth Tusk Kershaw Knife ($270) – I can’t think of many gifts more manly than a badass knife like this one. The handle is made from the tusks of wooly mammoths that lived around 15,000 years ago.
Kingsman + Deakin & Francis rose gold chevron money clip ($395) – Many of my clients use money clips, so I’m always on the lookout for extra cool and different ones. This rose gold chevron one is a great find — totally unique and eye-catching.
D.L. & Co snake journal ($35) – There’s something so luxurious about pulling a gorgeous journal out of your bag to write in, and this glitter snake journal does not disappoint. If snakes aren’t her thing, D.L. & Co. has a number of other lovely options including feathers and butterflies.
Eberjey pajama set ($102) – Nice pajamas are the kind of thing women rarely buy for themselves but make them feel totally pampered when slipping into them at night (I will admit though that I inspired myself with this post and picked up a couple pairs of these for myself).
$495 Dana Rebecca earrings – Every woman needs a pair of signature everyday earrings — ones she can wear to spin class and straight into the shower after — without having to remember to remove them (who has time for that, really?). Jewelry is also an awesome gift because it’s something she can wear but that you don’t have to worry about sizing for. Bonus is she’ll think of you whenever she looks in the mirror.
Miscere weekender bag with zip on/off appliqués ($650) – I discovered these Miscere weekender bags on Instagram a while back and became obsessed immediately. With interchangeable fabrics/patterns to choose from for the center panel, she can adjust the look seasonally or just according to her mood or outfit. Such a smart idea in this era of “bespoke” everything.
Lana Jewelry necklace ($980) – If you want to roll a little bigger on the jewelry front than the earrings above, then have at this black mother of pearl and quartz necklace. It has tons of different colors in it and will therefore work with a lot of different outfits. It’s unique, sexy, earthy and interesting — lots going on in one piece!
Here’s to a hip and happy holiday season.
Guest post by Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner(™) from Brilliant Event Planning
We’ve all been there: you check the calendar on February 1 and make a mental note that Valentine’s Day is a mere two weeks away. But before you know it, it’s February 13, and you and your sweetheart still have no plans. All is not lost! There’s still time for you to create a romantic, brag-worthy day. As someone who plans marriage proposals professionally, I’m used to finding a way to create something special and romantic in a matter of days (or even hours!). Here’s a breakdown of some fun, last minute date ideas (and corresponding gifts) to make this year’s Valentine’s Day one for the books.
1. Charity Gala — A charity gala is the perfect excuse to get glammed up for a good cause. Give your partner the opportunity to dust off that little black dress and hit the town for a night of socializing. You’ll be partying for a greater good and it doesn’t get much better than that. Hit Eventbrite or your favorite charity’s website to find a gala near you. Extra credit: If you want to make it a fun night with friends (and you’re sure your partner won’t mind), buy a whole table and share the love!
Corresponding Gift Idea: read the book A Path Appears by Kristof and WuDunn to get ideas for ways to surprise her by making a donation to a charity that she will feel connected to.
2. Get Adventurous — Few things are more romantic than sharing a scary-exciting experience with your partner. Paragliding, skydiving, late night snow skiing/tubing or even a day on the roller coasters at your local amusement park will all get the adrenaline flowing. And, because these aren’t the typical “romantic” type of dates , you’ll be able to book it last minute. Extra credit: prepare an adventurous meal after your activity that pushes your limits like a tasting menu, dinner in the dark or, if you want something less formal, a spread at home of crazy foods that you’ve been afraid to try until now.
Corresponding Gift Idea: Get a backpack and fill it with all the things she’ll need for the adventure on Valentine’s Day and for future adventures: a GoPro camera, hat, mittens, scarf for cold weather or a cute Lululemon outfit [Julie note: ladies **love** Lululemon!], hiking or snow boots and fun snacks like Clif Bars and Gatorade.
3. Virtual Getaway — Does she talk dreamily about taking a trip to Paris? Bring France to your house with a virtual getaway: transform your home with twinkle lights and posters of Paris, pick up a classic French wine, baguette, some fantastic cheese and macarons for dessert. Throw some Edith Piaf on your playlist or download a French 101 podcast and learn how to say I love you in French. If Paris isn’t her thing, you can do a virtual getaway anywhere in the world, no reservations required. Extra credit: purchase a travel guide to your dream destination and spend the evening planning your perfect trip together. Seal the plans with a (French) kiss!
Corresponding Gift Idea: The possibilities are endless! Travel hacks like passport covers or a new suitcase, classes to learn a new language together (and continue the romance for weeks to come), or even splurge on plane tickets to your dream destination for a future date! [Julie note: if you choose Paris, get her some French lingerie! Great brands I recommend are L’Agent by AP, Agent Provocateur, and Kiki de Montparnasse.]
Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner™ is recognized as the foremost expert on marriage proposals and is the pioneer of Marriage Proposal Planning. Based in New York City, Sarah and her team at Brilliant Event Planning and sister company Proposal Ideas have designed and produced dream engagements for countless lucky couples from across the world and are the go-to source for all things regarding “Will You Marry Me?” Sarah is available for press, speaking engagements and appearances as a subject-matter expert on marriage proposals and wedding planning.
New Year’s resolutions are so cliché, I almost can’t stand writing about them. But the truth is, when a new year rolls around, it’s nice to take stock and see what you could start doing differently. The usual suspects here are diet and exercise, and often such resolutions are overzealous and set us up or failure. So this year I’m here to help boost you up with some totally doable style-related resolutions that will require very little of your time.
Read on for this year’s top 10 style resolutions.
1) Try one new thing with your wardrobe. It can be easy to find one thing that you’re comfortable in and that feels easy to you. But it can also be really boring! Give 2015 a fighting chance and add some sort of new element to your look — maybe it’s starting to wear more color, or swapping out your logo’d/free event t-shirts for something nicer (here’s my guide for how your t-shirt should fit).
2) Don’t shop without a plan (or on an empty stomach). The last thing you want to do when shopping is make mistake purchases. And shopping without knowing what you’re looking for — or when you’re hungry — will put you on the fast track to a shopping fail.
3) Donate anything with holes or stains that won’t come out. This one really doesn’t need explaining. I’ll just say that when you wear torn-up, crappy clothes, the message you send is that you feel torn-up and crappy about yourself. This then becomes an unfortunate vicious cycle which causes you actually to start feeling that way. (Confirm with whatever charity you’re donating to what condition they will take clothing in.)
4) Take your oversized clothes to the tailor. This is an instant, low-cost (at least compared to buying new things) option for upgrading your wardrobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to know what’s worth tailoring.
5) Think before you stink (a.k.a. avoid strong aftershaves). This one was on last year’s list, but I had to include it again. I did a lot of traveling in 2014, and one of the biggest conclusions I drew is that there’s an Old Spice epidemic in the US. Nearly every morning flight I took, I felt as if I might become asphyxiated by the scent of the man sitting next to me. Trust me, just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean others can’t either. Ask one or two lady friends with good taste to tell you honestly if any of the product smells you’re wearing are offensive. And if the initials for any of said products are O.S., drop it like it’s hot.
6) Wear a watch. I get it, watches are no longer necessary since we all use our phones these days. But if you’re not wearing a watch, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to distinguish your look. Above is a serious arm party courtesy of one of my clients. You don’t need to break the bank when adding a watch to your look, however. There are plenty of good choices under $200 (including this one for $185 from Miansai). Choose something that resonates with you personally and that you’d feel good wearing — not what others would expect you to wear.
7) Make sure you have one suit that fits you like armor. Chances are, sometime in 2015 there will be a wedding, funeral, or job interview you’ll need to attend. And you’ll need a great-fitting suit for those situations — one you don’t have to think twice about. Often such events spring up out of nowhere, so it’s to your benefit to have a suit ready and waiting in your closet. And if you think you can get by with that old boxy one from ten years ago, think again. There are few things less flattering on a man than an ill-fitting suit, and there’s definitely no way to disguise a poor fit.
8) Buy flattering jeans. Most new clients I meet are in need of a jeans refresh. Even if you have a pair that was flattering when you bought them two years ago, chances are at this point they’ve stretched and faded, and it’s time to replace them. If you’ve never had a pair of jeans you feel great in, it’s time to add that to your wardrobe. Here’s my guide for how to find flattering jeans.
9) Lose the square-toed shoes. These were cool in the 90’s. But the 90’s is not now. Do yourself a favor and get them out of your closet so you aren’t tempted to wear them.
10) Take your dress shoes to the shoe guy for a cleanup and to be resoled. This is another low-cost way to refresh things, and in fact a good cobbler can make your shoes look almost new. If you don’t already have someone you use, look on Yelp or other user-review sites in your area for one with high ratings, or ask any well-dressed guys you encounter where they take theirs.
How many of the tips on this list are you able to implement? I guarantee that even if you do just 3 of them, you’ll be in great shape, and you’ll feel that much better about yourself.
Wishing you a very stylish 2015!
It’s holiday go-time! Are you ready? If not, don’t worry. I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas to help you make sure all bases are covered. Read on for 3 gifts you can ask for for yourself (and for the ladies reading this, they’re for your man), 3 you can give to her, and 1 sexy gift for the both of you.
S’well Water Bottle $30 – A client of mine recently embarked on a major fitness and weight loss project. As part of that, we upgraded his workout clothes and gear so he’d feel better about himself while he’s working out. Since starting, he’s lost 25 pounds of fat and gained 10 pounds of lean muscle. Proof positive that upgrading your exercise gear can only help you achieve your fitness goals. This sleek and sharp-looking matte grey BPA-free water bottle is a great gift for the fitness enthusiast — or someone whose new year’s goals involve fitness. The bottle will keep a beverage cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. And it has a vacuum seal that keeps drinks and carbonation fresh.
Striped Belt $117 – Do you, or does the object of your gift-giving, keep going back to the same wardrobe items over and over? If so, then it’s time to diversify. A belt with some color/pattern to it like the one from Anderson’s above is an excellent way to accomplish this. And the nice thing about it having multiple colors is that it’s easy to coordinate. Since the leather is brown on this one, and it has a brown stripe, it should be worn with brown shoes (navy would also work for a more outside-the-box look). Post on how to incorporate cool non-basic belts into your look coming soon.
Silk Blend Scarf $150 – Scarves are always a great gift (most guys I meet are in need of one), and this navy polka dot/stripe combo from Paul Smith has just enough visual interest without being over-the-top.
Set of Notebooks $14 – There’s something uplifting about writing in a beautiful notebook, and the gold foil detail on these from from Rifle Paper gives it a rich, special feel that she’ll love.
Melissa Joy Manning Opal Earrings $210 – The hoop part of these delicate opal earrings goes around the back of the ear as an interesting departure from basic and boring studs. Your subtle message that she is anything but basic and boring to you.
Black Saint Laurent Wallet $675 – A basic black wallet like this is an absolute fail-safe option. Clean, classic, sophisticated. You can’t go wrong.
L’Agent by Agent Provocateur Lingerie – The uber-luxe Agent Provocateur (with price tags to match) has collaborated with Penelope and Monica Cruz on a more palatably-priced, but equally delicious lingerie collection. This line is also available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Shopbop and Net-A-Porter.
What’s on your holiday gift list? And what are you hoping to receive? Leave me a comment below — I’d love to hear!
Your office holiday party. One of the trickiest sartorial events you may encounter.
You basically have 3 choices:
1) Be the boring guy who makes no effort and simply wears the same kind of thing he wears to work every other day of the year.
2) Be that guy who goes way overboard with a singing santa tie and matching socks.
3) Put in just the right amount of effort where actually come off as being effortless with your style.
No big shock, my choice for you would be #3. Here’s how to pull off an effortlessly cool holiday party look:
1) Start with your everyday office attire, then take that up a notch. So if everyday is:
2) Add 1-2 tasteful, festive touches in the form of a bright color, luxe/wintery fabric, slight sheen or extra panache from the following list:
What are you wearing to your office holiday party this year? Let me know in the comments below!
They say you can tell if a woman is single or attached based on how sexy her Halloween costume is. It’s a different case for men though — most guys’ Halloween costumes are super dorky and do little in service of sex appeal.
(I’m talking to you, guy-in-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter costume who tried chatting me up last year.)
But I say why not even the playing field? There’s no need to subject yourself to such ridiculousness, and you can in fact look kinda dashing on Halloween, especially if you take it as an opportunity to show off well-fitting wardrobe items. Trust me, the ladies would much rather see a guy in a suit that fits like a glove than some plastic-y costume you picked up at a Halloween superstore or a DIY-job covered in marker scrawl.
With that in mind, here are three Halloween ideas that will have you standing out from the sea of unattractive and unflattering costumes most guys are wearing.
1) American Psycho – Take one pinstripe suit, mix in one contrast collar shirt, a pair of braces + a red “power tie,” add a clear plastic raincoat, and what do you have? Serial killer and Manhattan businessman Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.” Then all you have to do is slick back your hair and walk around humming Huey Lewis tunes (fake axe optional), and you’ll be in business.
2) James Dean – Feel like a boss on those tight jeans? Get after it and channel your inner James Dean. Other than the jeans, the main things you’ll need are a slim-fitting t-shirt (here’s my primer on how this should fit) and a dark well-fitting bomber jacket or black leather jacket (here’s an oldie-but-goodie that explains how to find the latter). Final touches: unzip that jacket just enough to look mysterious, and of course you’ll also want to do your ‘do.
This one’s not exactly family-friendly, so use your discretion if kids are around.
3) Chippendale – If your tuxedo fits you well, it’s actually one of the most flattering things a guy can wear. Why not bust it out (or at least parts of it) in a tongue-in-cheek way and dress like a Chippendale à la Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze above. Wear the pants, the bowtie, and grab yourself a collar and cuffs set.
What are you wearing this Halloween? Leave me a comment below or post a picture on my Facebook page.
Valentine’s Day is this Friday — are you ready? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s how to look dapper on your date, gifts and must-do’s to delight Ms. Right, and five genius date ideas to help you stir up some romance.
Looking for the perfect gift for your main squeeze? Stumped on what to request for yourself? From stocking stuffers to splurges, these 8 gifts have you covered.
1) Grid-It Organizer – Keep your gear in line with this organizer. Great for at-home storage or travel. ($14)
2) Hook + Albert Fair Isle Socks – Hook + Albert makes stellar quality socks, and fair isle is a fitting pattern for holiday gifting. ($30)
3) Bolin Webb Razor – Form meets function in this deliciously sleek Bolin Webb razor, featuring a MACH3 blade. ($80)
4) JVDF Lizard Toggle Bracelet – Lizard skin, sterling silver and silk create a cool and visually interesting combo. ($295)
5) Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Leather Gloves – The weather in NYC has been frightfully cold, and I’ve gotten more than a few “gloves needed stat” emails from clients and clients’ wives looking for gifts. I like the zipper and contrasting suede thumb on these. ($206)
6) Mont Blanc Mother of Pearl Cufflinks – The range of colors in these cufflinks make them simple to match, and the swivel bar back allows for easy placement on your shirt cuffs. ($415)
8) Lotuff Leather Duffle – Stand out from the crowd with this sumptuous navy leather duffle from Lotuff. Perfect size for an overnight or a day at work followed by a trip to the gym. ($965)
What’s on your wish list this holiday season?
Warm wishes and hip gifts,
Today’s article is courtesy of the queen of romantic planning, Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner (TM). Whether she’s taking over the flight deck of the Intrepid for an epic proposal, or organizing the perfect picnic in Central Park, Sarah knows what’s what when it comes to making romance happen.
For some, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year filled with love, red roses and candlelit dinners. For others, it’s a commercialized, manufactured holiday rife with cheesy teddy bears, silk boxer shorts and exorbitantly priced prix fixe menus. Regardless of your opinion, it’s a great excuse for organizing a fun date with your loved one (even if it’s just your most-loved friend!). Here are five of my favorite ideas for Valentine’s Day:
1) For the Wallet-Conscious: Create your own wine tasting. With a little research done online or with your local wine shop, select 2 reds and 2 whites and pair them with cheeses or chocolates. Using a scarf from your closet, conduct an official blind tasting by candlelight. Not only will you expand your knowledge of wines, but you’ll also enjoy the flirty part of blindfolding each other! Budget not an issue? Hire a sommelier to do a private tasting!
2) Starry Night: Research the hours at your local planetarium or night-sky observatory and arrange to have a private tour. Whether you’re strapped into an IMAX seat watching the latest space-themed movie, or gazing at real stars in other galaxies, you’ll be in a romantic mood under all those stars.
3) Love is all Around: Plan an entire evening around love. Meet your sweetheart at the Museum of Sex near the Flatiron Building – who says a museum can’t be fun? Once you’ve explored all the newest exhibits, head to your favorite cocktail bar to sip on the cocktails she loves. From there, treat her to her guilty-pleasure food – is it cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster? Coconut Invasion cake from Asia de Cuba? Tonight is the night to indulge. End the evening by sharing three reasons why you love each other.
4) Futuristic Love: Want to know what the universe has in store for you? Do a psychic reading together! Make an appointment or stop in to see what the crystal ball or tarot cards say. If you really want to tempt fate, try a few different fortune tellers to see if their predictions overlap.
5) Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate: Strap on your skates and join the crowds for a lively spin around the ice rink. If you’re in New York, you can blend in with the tourists in Central Park, Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park, or discover some of the smaller rinks around the city. Reward all of your activity with a cab ride to City Bakery and test out the “drinkable chocolate” of the day. Got a sweet tooth? Plan to come back every other day for the rest of their Hot Chocolate Festival which runs the entire month of February. That way you can try a new flavor every night.
Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her fantastic ideas. For more info on Sarah, check out her website.
And now that you’ve got the best date ever planned, read here for what to wear.
There are officially 3 shopping days left before Christmas, including today. If you still need a gift idea, get him a tie and pocket square combination. He’ll appreciate knowing up front that they work together, which will make his life easier when choosing his outfit in the morning. Here are five combos I put together for a client’s wife at Bergdorf Goodman to get you started.