The 50 Best gifts for men
Shopping for him? Jamie Merrill finds out what The Independent’s gentlemen would like to find under the tree this Christmas
This week's panel:
Lee Holmes is a menswear stylist on the fashion desk of The Independent;
Will Dean is the assistant features editor;
Tim Walker is a features writer;
Samuel Muston edits the 'Ten Best', the daily shopping page of The Independent
This colourful print on velvet paper by Rhonda Drakeford is inspired by the geometric patterns and strong colour palette of the Aztec world. It makes a perfect statement piece to brighten up any bachelor pad.
"The new compact from Samsung improves on previous models with a small front-facing display with a 3in LCD screen that folds up from the back and can shift 180 degrees to make all kinds of snaps possible," says Will Dean. It also has a touchscreen and a 16.1 megapixel digital display.
"Loose-leaf teas have enjoyed something of a resurgence in the last 12 months. So give those precious leaves something stylish to brew up in with the glass Menu Kettle Teapot ," says Samuel Muston. "Just pop the tea in the fast-brewing 'tea egg', dunk it into the water and watch it turn golden brown before your eyes."
"Everyone needs a good scarf for the coming winter. Invest a bit more money than you would usually and it will last you for years to come. This royal-blue number from Jil Sander is a great colour that will go with nearly everything," says Lee Holmes.
Help your loved ones match their reds and blues with this collection of 100 colour postcards from the masters of colour. Perfect for jotting down a creative thought or two for your friends.
Who doesn't like a pie? This five-piece enamel set should help him knock up a feast of festive options, or perhaps just a simple chicken and leek offering. Either way, it should get him back in the kitchen.
It doesn’t come cheap but a quality piece of luggage is essential for weekends away. This canvas and leather number (best in navy with smooth cognac calf leather) is worth investing in.
It’s been a mild winter so far but a cold snap must be just around the corner. Soft and warm, these gloves include silicon grips so you won’t fumble with your prized iPhone and silverlined finger and thumb tips so you can operate touch screens.
This USB keyboard (25 keys) means you can take the music with you wherever you go. Just plug it into your laptop or computer and practise on the go. To avoid commuter rage, avoid using on public transport.
Make sure he has a little bit of spice in his life with these fiery condiments from Fortnum & Mason. The Hot Mustard will tickle but the Piccalilli should bring him back to earth.
We’ve all been gripped by Richard Attenborough’s landmark series and the accompanying book is a gripping tool to follow a journey to the world’s last great wilderness regions.
A clever little strobe light for cyclists and runners. A super-bright fibre-optic tube with multiple attachments so you can mount in on your bike or just clip it on to your clothing.
“The tweed sports jackets is an essential part of your winter kit this season,” says Lee. “But stand out from the crowd with this daring little number from Junya Watanabe.”
For the outdoorsman who has everything. This mini blow-torch is good for 10 minutes of constant burn. Ideal for sealing rope, blasting rubber or just getting that winter bonfire going.
Designed especially for Apple, these neat headphones offer fantastic sound quality with two speakers in each ear. A bassheavy offering, they come in a smart presentation box.
Just what the carnivore ordered. This juicy Steak and Chop box contains two tender rump and two sirloin steaks, plus chicken breasts, thighs and lamp chops. Delicious.
What better way to keep abreast of super-injunctions, sleaze and the media mines than with a yearly subscription to the satirical magazine that celebrated its 50th birthday this year?
These 100 per cent cotton tea towels by Nord are just the ticket to encourage the man in your life to tackle the Boxing Day washing-up.
As comfortable on the hip streets of Soho as they are slumming around at home these are stylish, durable and look the part too.
Tools don’t have to be boring. This funky Allen key set will make doing those little odd jobs just that little bit more interesting.
“Why let the Mac nuts have all the gadget fun? This dock is perfect for Android user looking for a crisp, clean and powerful docking speaker on which to station your phone,” says Will. It also features Bluetooth streaming.
“Every foodie should visit the Villandry deli on London’s Great Portland. But if you don’t have the time, you can order one of its hampers instead,” says Samuel. It contains lots of tasty treats.
The Moon Under Water may have been George Orwell’s fictional dream pub but that hasn’t stopped Paul Moody and Robin Turner setting off on a road trip around Britain to find it.
“The mains-powered lamp emits the perfect night-time glow and is shaped like a house, so you can plonk your book down on its pointed top when you’re ready to nod off and not worry about losing your place,” says Samuel.
Feuilles de Tabac eau de parfum is the scent of choice for the Savoy hotel’s gentleman’s restrooms. Packed with woody, smoky aromas including cascarilla oil and pimento berries, it simply screams sophistication.
Aston Martin’s racing experience is a refined affair with a full day out on the track and plenty of expert tuition in the Aston Martin of your choice.
All the hype this year has been centred on Modern Warfare 3 but this game puts up a good fight as the best single person shooter of the year. It’s got some excellent online play and should keep him busy for hours.
“This beautiful soft flannel shirt from Asperi is lightweight and versatile and is great if you’re going for the casual look,” says Lee. Its button-down collar and chest pocket are added subtle details.
“The HBO adaptation of New York writer Jonathan Ames’s short story about becoming a private eye in order to stave off writers’ block is one of the hippest and funniest shows out there,” says Will.
“The Japanese Knife Company is recommended by top chefs and this beautiful blade, made from high-carbon super steel, should last a lifetime,” says Will.
“Your overall shoe collection should consist of no more than maybe six pairs of shoes,” says Lee “This desert boot from French label APC should be at the top of your hit list.”
Light, yet hard-wearing, it’s the ShirtShuttle’s curved-edged board and “pad system” that help keep things wrinkle-free, says its makers.
It’s not the most high-tech of gadgets (though it’s a surprisingly pretty one) but a crucial one. And Le Creuset’s take on the traditional waiter’s friend works a treat.
Of course, men like chocolates as much as women. And this elegant collection from Charbonnel and et Walker combines some of my favourites in one box.
“WeDidThis is a crowd-funding website for the arts,” says Tim Walker. “It’s offering the chance to bid online for events including a performance by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.”
wedidthis, prices vary
“Designers can produce as many ‘it’ bags as they want but the best style and shape will always be the rucksack,” says Lee. This olive-green canvas and leather bag is great for everyday use.
Bruichladdich’s Islay whisky distillery is making good noises in the spirits business right now with its totally green distillery. This Islay Dry Gin is its latest creation and uses 21 botanicals, including juniper, from the island. Tasty stuff.
“Lavazza’s new machine is that rare thing: a decent coffee maker that doesn’t cost the earth,” says Sam. The Italian firm has teamed up with AEG to make this sleek gadget, which can produce espressos, lattes and mochas in a trice.
“Nixon’s Newton digital watch is the stuff of geeky dreams,” says Samuel. It’s made of a tough polycarbonate plastic and has a bold and really rather handsome digital face, which gives both the date and time. “And it’s waterproof to 30 metres,” he adds.
Novelty knits are having a revival this winter but if snowflake or reindeer motifs are too literal an interpretation for you then Balenciaga’s quirky Alsatian image on an angora knit should be more appropriate,” says Lee.
“For fans of the Belgian sleuth, this boxset of the early Nineties French/Canadian animation will produce fond memories,” says Will. Also available is the famous early-Sixties Belvision series.
If you buy him a bottle of something nice it’s almost rude not to get him something pretty to keep it in before he sloshes it down. This decanter will look stylish on any sideboard.
The Camut family have been making calvados for nearly two centuries and their delicious nectar is probably a good place to start with the spirit. Best enjoyed after a hearty meal.
Invest wisely in a black leather belt and it should last you for years and years. This one from Lanvin has added grosgrain ribbon edging. “The devil is in the detail,” says Lee.
If fiery single malt is his thing then Talisker 57° North might just be the perfect boozy gift. This dram is dense and salty on the nose with a full-bodied peaty taste in the mouth. It’s best enjoyed with a dash of water.
Just as useful on a cold winter walk as a serious session on the slopes. These Midweight ski socks are breathable but well insulated so should keep your feet warm and dry.
“Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is a game aimed primarily (but not exclusively) at Terry Pratchett fans and their families,” says Tim.
“Make sure every snap you take gets printed, with the Polaroid Z340, which combines a digital camera with the convenience of instant photo printing,” says Samuel.
This Barbour classic has been updated with a trim look doesn’t lose any of the original charm and durability. Available in classic olive, black and navy.
Corduroy is a big deal this winter so why not try a pair instead of your bog standard jeans? This purple pair from Italian label Etro are fantastic. “Too vibrant? Never,” says Lee.
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