You know that scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" where Kristen Bell's character gives a touristy shirt to Russell Brand's Aldous Snow and you can just tell that it's the most hideous thing he's ever laid his eyes on? Yeah, that's what we're trying to avoid when gifting the men in our lives this holiday season.
From a year-long supply of mysterious meat dogs to perfect winter sweaters, here are some holiday gift ideas for men, courtesy of the witty, stylish editors at Complex, GQ, Four Pins and Esquire. (FYI, there are some unisex items in the mix, too, in case you'd eventually like to steal the present back for yourself.)
James Harris, Senior Editor at Complex
1. Chuck Taylor All Star Deck Star Slip x Missoni, $200, available at Converse: Due to a lifetime of unflagging privilege and a complete lack of adversity, I'm terrible at being an adult. For example, when it came time to replace the beach towel on my floor with an actual rug, instead I went and got these luxe-ass carpet shoes. It's cool, though. Aziz Ansari's show validates me being a complete overgrown man-child for at least another five years.
2. Exotic Hot Dog of the Month Club 12-month membership, $799, available at Exotic Meat Markets: If you want to make your way to a man's heart — and then clog that heart up and eventually kill him — sign him up for the Exotic Hot Dog of the Month Club. For $800, you get three pounds of who knows what! It could be camel, python, beaver or whatever meat they put in hot dogs. Spoiler alert: no dog hot dogs.
3. Horse bridle, $1,350, available at Hermes: Full disclosure: I don't own a horse, but if anyone wants to give a $1,350 bridle as a gift, God bless them. I mean, the irony of entrapping an animal's face with a leather beginner-level gimp mask is just too good to pass up.
4. "Bloody Neck" T-Shirt, $6.99, available at Hot Topic: Have you guys ever cruised through the clearance section of Hot Topic? It is a haunted, bleak Siberia of dated pop culture references and oddly intense violence. This "Bloody Neck" tee is only $6.99, and its subtlety is the only thing that outweighs its timelessness.
5. Our Legacy shaggy fleece black sweater, $210, available at Très Bien: Even though I already own a few, super-furry sweaters are always a great look. They're perfect for Mondays, Netflix binges and casual MDMA use.
Jian DeLeon, Men's Fashion and Lifestyle Writer
1. Stoffa Rabbit Felt Hat, $200, available at Stoffa: Women have been nailing that floppy hat look for a while now, but I think if done right, guys can follow suit. Maybe it's because I've always admired Pharrell's style, or maybe it's because I've been listening to too much Future lately (is that even possible?), but I've been in the market for a really nice tan hat. Stoffa's hats are made in Italy and sold direct-to-consumer, which means this thing should actually cost twice the price of admission. It's also totally rollable, so you can beat it up and not be too precious with it.
2. C.E. Fog Snow Jacket, $600, available at Idol: C.E. stands for Cav Empt, a Japanese brand that references everything from Phillip K. Dick to Blackberries in its '90s-techromancer graphics. It's sort of like if William Gibson and Iain Softley made a clothing line. Aside from how warm this jacket is, it also reminds me of my old Geocities page and the days when I was teaching myself rudimentary HTML.
3. Lemaire black rib sweater, $390, available at Carson Street Clothiers: It's hard to find a good sweater. They're either really itchy with a T-shirt or fit weird — and most of the time for me, it's some unholy combination of both. But Lemaire has somehow built a career out of making stuff that's so perfect you almost feel like you've willed it into existence — which is why it's so hard for me to avoid paying rent in favor of buying their knits. I really wouldn't mind if I were gifted this though, hint hint.
4. Muji Gift Card, available at Muji: Muji is like Target for discerning people. I always say that I like to play this game where I stop into a Muji and try not to buy anything — and so far I've never freaking won. It's like every other item is built to trigger whatever part of the brain controls impulse buys. I look around and my head forgets my bank balance and I start grabbing stuff like all those kids who won the Nickelodeon Super Toy Run back in the day. Long story short: I will find a reason to shop at Muji.
Matthew Sebra, Digital Style Director at GQ
1. Thom Browne Chalk Stripe Tie, $195, available at Barneys: Ties are usually a terrible present for guys — but not this one. And here’s why: it's the perfect width (slim, but not capital 'F' fashion skinny), comes in a lightweight woven wool (read: not cheap, shiny silk), and thanks to the neutral charcoal color and subtle chalk stripe pattern, will go with every collared shirt he already owns.
2. PinTrill Pins, $12 - $18, available at Pintrill: They're small, they're cheap, they're hilariously topical and there's one for every guy out there. But the best part about these pins is that they're small accessories that make a big impact — or just start a conversation — whether they're stuck to his topcoat lapel or backpack strap.
3. Vans x Pendleton Slip-on Sneakers, $65, available at Urban Outfitters: This collaboration between two brands — both of which know a thing or two about breathing new life into classic items — has yielded a pair of wooly slip-ons that should replace whatever nasty excuse for a slipper he's currently rocking. Plus, wearing them outside the house won't be considered a style offense.
4. Uniform Wares M40 MoMA Exclusive Watch, $450, available at Moma: Picking out the right watch can (and should) be a deeply personal decision for guys, but if you're searching for one unimpeachable option to gift this year, then look no further. It's made by the masters of reasonably priced, minimally cool timepieces, is office-appropriate but won't look out of place at a bar and, with a limited run of just 150 pieces, comes with bragging rights.
5. J. Crew Italian Wool Crewneck Sweater, $148, available at J.Crew: Here's the standout chunky knit sweater he's missing in his fall wardrobe. It's an eye-catching piece of knitwear in an of-the-moment crewneck silhouette and refreshingly not-basic-navy hue that's made for layering over oxford shirts on casual Fridays or basic tees when taking in back-to-back games on Sunday.
Wendell Brown, Senior Fashion Editor at Esquire
1. Elder Statesman herring cashmere sweater, $1,240, available at Mr. Porter: I'm going to make a declaration: I want to live in this sweater. Hand-spun and meticulously crafted, this is an easy piece to dress up and dress down. So wear it under a jacket to the office or out for drinks on Saturday night.
2. Everlane cotton heather pocket tee in heather grey, $18, available at Everlane: With 30 years in the LA garment industry, the designers behind this 100% cotton heather T-shirt have nailed everything it should be: Slim but not tight, crew neck, perfectly soft. And at this price, buy them for everyone on your list.
3. Essential Crew sweatshirt in black, $49, available at American Giant: Everyone needs a sweatshirt, but no one needs to look like they're literally sweating in a bulky fleece. Go for the classic yet casual style of this piece in black for more versatility.
4. Eight inch training shorts, $160, available at Eysom: Let's be honest: Working out during (and after) the holidays is a chore. But if these shorts don't get you motivated, nothing will. They're perfectly cut, lightweight and will look great regardless of the number of holiday cookies you wolfed down this season.
Skylar Bergl, News Editor at Four Pins
1. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Hi 1970s, $85, available at Kith: I've been making a concerted effort to divert my attention away from hyped-up sneaker releases and get back to more classic models. I've never owned a pair of Chuck Taylors, and since I've started looking for the perfect pair for myself, I seem to see them everywhere I go in New York. It's like they're haunting me. I like this pair because they're just slightly different with the parchment color. They're quite literally a blank canvas. If you're listening, Santa, I'm a 10.5.
2. Carte Blanche phone case, $30, available at Carte Blanche: I've had three iPhones in my life and was an avowed no-case advocate because I like to live on the edge. But once I got my hands on the uber-thin iPhone 6, it was clear that not even my gentle finesse would be able to prevent me from dropping it flat on the pavement and cracking the screen. (I know because it happened and I had to pay $120 to get the screen fixed by Apple.) Most cases are bulky and wack. But this one is slim, a little grippy and offers just enough protection for the occasional drop onto the ground.
3. Want Les Essentiels De La Vie canvas bag, $250, available at Mr. Porter: The man-bag's connotation still struggles in this modern day and that's a shame. Every event I go to, I leave with a brand new canvas tote bag that I'll never use and just ends up being used to transport trinkets when I change apartments. The man in your life probably has the same issue. He doesn't want a super formal briefcase because he's not a businessman and all of the other totes are too beefy or rugged. WANT nails it with this one, though. It's the perfect blend of everything you want for not too much money.
4. Malin + Goetz grapefruit face cleanser, $32, available at Malin + Goetz: Fancy face wash is the luxury in life that your man hasn't discovered that he loves yet. Anything grapefruit-infused and scented is a winner for me. It'll also get him to wash his face bit more often, which never hurts.
Jake Woolf, Style Writer at GQ
1. Common Projects Achilles Gray, $410, available at Mr. Porter: Whether a guy is a Jordan-obsessive or has been rocking the same beat-up running shoes for 9 months, Common Projects's signature style, the Achilles, will look great on him. In fact, I have yet to find a pair of jeans, trousers, or anything that doesn’t match perfectly with these kicks. And in the gray colorway, they're a little less anxiety-inducing than the all-white version.
2. Ami Turtleneck, $315, available at Mr. Porter: The reason you should buy a man a turtleneck is because he probably isn't going to buy one for himself. Though we at GQ have been pushing them for a few seasons now, most guys still see them as a "fashion" move. If you gift it, you can expect a man to make at least one Ron Burgundy-inspired wisecrack (most guys just can’t help themselves), but once he puts it on, he'll realize how un-scary they really are.
3. Saint Laurent Leather Jacket, $4,990, available at Saint Laurent: A great leather is not only the kind of thing that will make any guy look instantly cooler — it's also the kind of thing that can change a man's perception of clothing in general. It can teach even the most unfashionable bro about quality, fit and most of all, that wearing nice clothes actually feels good. As the old saying goes, "Give a man dope clothes, dress him for a day. Teach him about dope clothes, dress him for life."
4. Orslow Slim Fit Cargos, $269, available at End: If there's a man in your life who's been sporting the same oversized, overstuffed cargos since '02, then here's the upgrade he needs. But cargo pants these days, with their slim fit and smaller pocket design, aren't just for wearing with tees and sneakers. With the right look, a guy can even wear them with his favorite blazer. And if there's one thing guys love more than practicality (hence cargo pockets to begin with), it's versatility.