Wrapped, Part IV: Gifts for the Mr. Magpies

OK, here it is: the last installment of my WRAPPED series.  {Check out Parts I, II, and III in case you missed them!}  Today, I’m showcasing a few of the many, many items I considered buying for Mr. Magpie this holiday season.  Mr. Magpie, as it turns out, is paradoxically both the easiest person in the world to shop for — and the hardest.  He’s easy in his varied and extensive interests — he loves cooking, drinking, reading, and all things sports-related; he has an interest in looking sharp and well-dressed; he appreciates the finer things in life {whether a Mason Pearson hairbrush or upscale shaving lather}; and he always wants the newest, coolest gadget.  In short, you’d think I’d have the easiest time figuring out just what to get him.  But…no.  He’s difficult in that he has the most exacting taste I’ve ever seen in a man.  He notices details that I don’t even pick up on.  So.  There’s that.

Despite his nit-pickiness {something I candidly admire — I don’t mean to cast that discretion in a negative light}, I know he’d gravitate towards one of these two woolen bowtie (first — $65, Read’s Clothing, second — $45, Starboard Clothing), with their undone preppy vibe:

{J. Crew has a semi-similar version for a touch less — $42 — available here.}  If your man is not the bow-tie wearing type, consider one of these artfully crafted Otis James neckties, similarly interesting in its texture ($110, Otis James Nashville):


{Love all of the Otis James details — he hand paints the lining of his bow-ties!  Ah-mazing.}  Any of the above would look pretty slick with a pair of cool kid sunnies, like these Warby Parkers ($95, Warby Parker), or these ultra-cool Persols (the exact style Steve McQueen wore back in the day — $310, J. Crew):



Cool as a cucumber.  Other slick accent pieces for the well-heeled man?  These leather card wallets ($140, Makr), which feel uber-masculine:

Or this gun-embossed leather classic (handmade in Brooklyn, NY! — $88, Sir Jack’s):

or, if he’s more of the money-clip type, this cheeky Jack Spade clip is just.awesome (you can get on that reads “Bacon,” “Dough,” or “Bones” on the side — $65, Jack Spade):

I feel like a man who carries a money clip is a man who wears a spread collar.  And I love a spread collar.  For whatever reason, I feel like discerning, well-dressed men gravitate towards it, and it doesn’t help that the vast majority of Ralph Lauren’s beautiful Purple Label line feature it.  I spotted these beautiful spread-collar formal shirts on sale at Mr. Porter ($95 for lavender stripe, Mr. Porter; $97.50 for blue stripe, Mr. Porter), but was bummed to find they’d sold out of Mr. Magpie’s size.  He owns several Canali suits, so I’m sure he would have adored adding these to the collection.


They would look like perfection beneath a navy blazer, especially one spruced up with these fox-head gold buttons (how cool?! — around $100 for set of 10, Benson & Clegg — but check out all of their awesome designs!):

Oh, and PS — when braces come back into style, I will be happy as a clam.  I keep telling Mr. Magpie that I really want to “make that trend happen again,” but there have been no takers…yet.  (I may have to try a new tactic: “Think Michael Douglas in Wall Street.  Eh?  Eh?”)  Start the trend yourself by offering your guy a refined set from Albert Thurston ($75-$95, Sir Jack’s):

A man in braces should probably have a clean shave.  Hence, how about a vintage shaving kit?!  I mean, seriously.  If I walked into the bathroom of a young man and he had a classic shaving brush, I’d be seriously curious about him ($100, Sir Jack’s):

I’d accompany with upscale shaving products — Mr. Magpie is partial to the Jack Black line.  Try this grooming trio (face buff and “beard lube” — $52, BeautyBar):

In a slightly different vein, I often gift Mr. Magpie boxers and socks in his stocking.  He — strangely enough, and of his own volition — has an extensive and impressive sock collection, and he knows how to rock them.  So much so that when he was invited to attend a televised “Town Hall” meeting that President Obama held at the Newseum in downtown D.C., the producers had originally situated Mr. Magpie front and center {obviously because he is soooo good looking, duh} such that he would have been in every single shot of the taping, but then — ALAS — the powers that be spotted his bold yellow socks peeking out from beneath his khakis, and immediately moved him to the side.  They thought too many people would be focusing on his excellent sock-wear.  Regardless, I discovered this upscale line of men’s socks {nerd alert} and am not sure which pattern I’ll buy him yet ($30, Hook and Albert), but these are a nice little addition to the standard fare:

Finally, I’ve given Mr. Magpie a few sets of cufflinks over the past few years, but thought that these funky subway token styles would make an offbeat-cool gift for a well-dressed hubby (they have sets from NYC, Chicago, and Boston — $90, Rain Collection):

For the foodster/booze-hound, Mr. Magpie just discovered a line of Bloody Mary mix ($9.95, Charleston Mix) in his latest edition of Garden & Gun and was literally drooling all over the place in the hopes of trying it.  He takes his Bloody Marys with gin rather than vodka, so I might spring for a nice bottle of upscale ginny for him (he likes Aviation, which goes for around $35):


I would probably bundle it with some other goodies, like McClure’s pickles ($13/jar, Market Hall Foods), which have been featured on the uber-addictive FoodNetwork program “Best Thing I Ever Ate”:

Excellent stocking stuffer, although I’ll be the first to admit that I may be the first with my hands in the jar — I have the biggest “vinegar tooth.”  (Que?)  No, really.  I love anything briny and vinegared — bring on the pickled beets!  You might also consider bundling some fine alcohols with these awesome vintage liquor bottles ($150 for set of 3, Chic Shop LA) —

Very Roger Sterling.  If he’s more of a booze-on-the-go guy (ha, terrifying thought), these needlepoint flasks caught my eye at a recent holiday Christmas bazaar ($65 for regular designs, $100 for monogrammed styles — Smathers & Branson):

{Useless side note: the founder of this company — the BRANSON — is the son of my high school English teacher.  I’m so cool and famous.}  The flask featured above reminds me that if your man is a die-hard Southern pride type, you should definitely check out these awesome vintage-style wall prints, which are categorized by state ($40 apiece, The Old Try):

But back to food/booze, what man doesn’t love steak?  Well, all vegetarian men.  So maybe that’s unfair.  But — Mr. Magpie is to meat as Mrs. Magpie is to sparkly, uncomfortable shoes.  Deep-rooted, potentially unhealthy addictions there.  We were lucky enough to receive an oustandingly gorgeous set of wood-handled steak knives as a wedding gift.  Ours are from  L’Aguiole (classic), but they look strikingly similar to this set by Opinel ($288, ShopTerrain), which would be a very savvy gift for a foodie:

This would be ideal along with a yummy Argentinian malbec or a big cab sauv {for the wine drinkers}, or a pricy pair of steaks from an upscale organic butcher.  {Mr. Magpie and I buy the vast majority of our meat from Wagshal’s or from a few favored vendors at the local farmers’ markets.}  Looking for other foodstuffs?  You will die and go to heaven dining on anything ordered from Surry Farms, but especially the Surry-ano Ham.  I also often purchase Niman Ranch bacon, which is becoming increasingly widely available and is…delicious.  Finally, you might consider buying your man the manliest, best cookbook ever — James Villas’ Pig ($24, Amazon):

Don’t worry — it’s not too masculine for us gals.  We’ve made tons of recipes from here, and all have been finger-licking delicious.  Yum, my stomach is grumbling just thinking about his pork and dumplings, which Mr. Magpie and I made and devoured before promptly entering food euphoria.  O.M.G.  But before we stray to far afield from knives, I wanted to show-case these black stainless steel-edged knives, which seem motto bene for the male cook ($80-$120, A+R Store):

And — if your man is a huntsman — check out these hand-crafted, artisanal knives from the Williams Knife Co.  You are sure to be cool girlfriend/wife/fiancee of the century for getting him something as awesomely bespoke.  This gift may go well with one of these vintage duck decoys, available from Cococozy for a steep $190 a quack (ha) — or spend some time hunting on Etsy/eBay, as I’m convinced you could find something similar for far less.

Also something a “cool” gal would do for her guy?  Have “Thanks, Bro” deliver him beer and beef jerky.  They have all kinds of hilarious combinations that are probably better suited for guy-to-guy gifting humor, but if you’re one of those “guys gals,” you could totally pull it off.  For example, you can have the beer delivered in a Top Gun case or a Mets hat, and the instructions indicate: “Write your thank you note here, bro. Don’t forget to sign it cleverly.”  {So bro-tastic.}  The “You’re a Sissy, Bro” package includes a six-pack of Buckler.  Haha.  Since I am decidedly NOT a guy’s gal — in fact, the antithesis — I would probably lean towards something more traditional.  I considered, for example, stuffing these saber notecards in Mr. Magpie’s stocking, because they remind me of the UVA emblem ($18, Jack & Lulu):

Alternately, these “Forgetful Gentleman” notecard sets {which come in cigar cases! –$25 and up, Forgetful Gentleman} are just manly enough to make stationery a semi-cool present.

Speaking of cigar cases — if your guy is a smoker {not that I advocate this…}, check out this cool-looking tobacco pouch ($125, Kenton Sorenson):

I can see it looking stately atop a leather-topped desk {similar to the one I ruined as a child in my father’s study by affixing dozens of stickers to the top, much to my father’s eternal disappointment} in a man’s study, which might also feature a monogrammed plaid blanket ($199, William-Sonoma) — another good gift.

And, finally, I feel that Mr. Magpie would approve of these leather iPhone backs from start-up Valentine Goods ($25, Valentine Goods), even though he’s exercise a strict no-cover/no-case policy for years now:

Oh, wait — one more “and finally.”  I am absolutely dying over these handsome garment bags, which Mr. Magpie would put to great use ($515, Moore & Giles):

So — what will you be getting the men in your life this holiday season?!



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