Gifts for a dapper dan?
November 17, 2007 8:54 AM   Subscribe

What can I buy for my Dapper Dan boyfriend?

My boyfriend loves the aesthetic of elegant, old-fashioned gentlemen. He has the sexiest long, dark, curly hair you have ever seen, so he suits the part well. Gifts I have given him for Christmas and birthdays in the past include:

-A leather "doctor's bag"
-A pocket watch on a chain (which he has worn nearly every day since)
-A leather diary with Victorian-looking designs carved into it
-A fake quill, which was actually a fountain pen with a feather to give the illusion of a quill

I'm running out of ideas. Would anyone be kind enough to help me find a Christmas present? I would be open to getting him some clothes that are sort of old-fashioned in style, but modern enough that he can wear them without going to a costume party. I don't know anything about female clothes, much less male clothes, so I'm not sure how to pull that off.

He isn't particularly attached to any one era, so clothes inspired from anything from the 18th century to the 1940's should do it.
posted by giggleknickers to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Fancy shaving stuff. Boar's-hair brush, mug, etc.
posted by box at 8:55 AM on November 17, 2007

A gift certificate to Gentleman's Emporium.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:01 AM on November 17, 2007

Best answer: Ditto on the old-school shaving stuff -- but you want badger hair, not boar. There are tons of old threads around here; search "shaving" and you'll find many. MefiMail me if you want more info.
posted by rossination at 9:04 AM on November 17, 2007

posted by amtho at 9:07 AM on November 17, 2007

There are most likely clothes in the J. Peterman catalog that will suit him. This, for instance, or these.

(Say what you will about the prose, but since Mr. Peterman himself bought back the name and catalog from investors a few years ago the clothes have returned to being rather beautiful.)

Oh, this scarf is painfully handsome on the right guy.
posted by minervous at 9:11 AM on November 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seconding box. Give him great having experiences. I prefer:
* Double-edge Razor, Merkur's are excellent

* a good shaving brush, Vulfix's are affordable and very good

* shaving cream, Taylor of Old Bond Street lavender is great

* razor blades, merkur/gillette/feather are all very sharp
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:12 AM on November 17, 2007

> Gifts for a dapper dan?

Anything but Fop.

Maybe shoes or gloves? You could steal a sneaker to figure out his size.
posted by hjo3 at 9:16 AM on November 17, 2007

Also, pretty much everything sold over at is of high quality and recommended in (Classical) Wet Shaving circles. Shipping to Europe could, however, be faster.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:23 AM on November 17, 2007

Ralph Lauren/Polo makes a sweet dark navy blue cashmere topcoat for about US$1200. But really, if he's doing the pocketwatch and isn't into brush shaving, that's a reasonably priced and logical step. Heck, I don't like Victoriana but me and my old-school razor are inseparable.

Also, maybe a manual ice-cream maker.
posted by rhizome at 9:30 AM on November 17, 2007

Penhaligons will provide.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 9:38 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

a monocle
a snuff box
a seal and dripping wax
calling cards
posted by iconomy at 9:52 AM on November 17, 2007

Seconding Penhaligons!!
posted by Sassyfras at 9:55 AM on November 17, 2007

Best answer: I like jackets/sportcoats which have a stylish lining or flannel or shiny linen on the inside. The gentleman's aesthetic calls for understated power and richness of the inner. Sweaters with unique under-the-collar tags, V-necks (no turtlenecks) He would like assorted grooming kits or a money clip or zippo lighter. A bottle of wine. These are the just the things i like: a nice chess game (made of wood pieces) a globe for my desk, Book ends, some stationary(slim ,gold,sterling silver pens), dress socks. non-folding wallets.

Brands: Brooks Brothers, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Sean John. I want to buy a Beer stein ( if you know where to look, let me know)or a flask. If you got the money buy him an escritoire (writing desk) secretary desk, etagere, cruet. A gentleman is also an intellectual, buy him historical books, reference books (Measurement tables, currency, geologic timescale, taxonomies of life) Books from the Barnes and Noble Classics line. A nice Dictionary, I also want a leather bomber jacket. Most of this you will find at department stores and bookstores. Ooh and one more, (if you can find it) B&N had this set that included different types of paper and fountain pens and a customizable stamp complete with a wax seal for your envelopes, can't get more classic, or gentlemanly than that. (I gave all my ideas away and what I think makes me a gentleman but whatever...)
posted by Student of Man at 10:07 AM on November 17, 2007

My girl surprised me a few years back with a Merkur futur double edged razor, badger brush and a stand. Thirding (fourthing?) the shaving kit suggestions - it will last forever and its used pretty much daily.
posted by jeffmik at 10:07 AM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: These are some great ideas. I don't think he will enjoy the classic shaving stuff quite enough for me to justify spending £100 on it, so I'm not sure about Penhaligons or I'd rather spend £30 on some shaving stuff and then get him some other gifts as well.

Gentleman's Emporium looks wonderful, but sadly they don't post to Europe.

hjo3, thank you so much for the Oh Brother Where Art Thou? reference. That made my day.

I'm sure the Ralph Lauren suit is great, but $1200 is way out of my price range! I'd like to spend $200-300 USD.

Thank you!
posted by giggleknickers at 10:09 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Lord Whimsy's book [Amazon], if he doesn't have it already, should be part of a gift for the man you describe. I would suggest a gift certificate to a bespoke tailor, but you don't specify a budget and I don't know what the tailoring market's like in Germany. If it's within the realm of possibility, I don't doubt he'd love a suit.

Alternately, get all of his measurements -- waist, inseam, sleeve length, neck, jacket -- and go thrift shopping. Browse through this blog, and perhaps this one, for inspiration before hitting the shops.
posted by mumkin at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2007

Oh, there's your price range. Well then, no bespoke suit for $300, to be sure. You might be able to get a waistcoat made for that in your market. If so, that'd be a lovely gift certificate.

It sounds like you'd prefer to give him several inexpensive items instead of one or two more expensive ones. Unfortunately, quality costs... I'd encourage you to consider giving him a book or two and a really fine hat, for example, rather than a grab bag of cheaper imitation stuff. You did say you didn't want it to be costumey... I fear that at the lower end of the spectrum, unless you're buying second-hand clothes, that's exactly what it will be.
posted by mumkin at 10:25 AM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, that Lord Whimsey is something and a half! I will definitely get that book. My boy is going to love him.

I would indeed like to buy him one expensive thing. It's just that I don't think he is going to enjoy a shaving kit enough to justify spending so much on it. A fine hat, on the other hand is well worth the money. The only reason I'm not getting him a hat is because he already has several.
posted by giggleknickers at 11:16 AM on November 17, 2007

Uh..Sean John?


Old Town (bespoke, early 20th century style clothing - site down ATM, worth trying later)
Labour and Wait (well made vintage household accessories)
Oliver Spencer (the most fantastic classic tailoring, 20's-40's influence here and there)
Handmade leather belts (fantastic quality at stunningly low prices)
Bill Amberg (bags)
Mullberry's (mens bags and leather goods)
Fiorentini & Baker shoes (stunning shoes, modern takes on traditional working shoe styles)
posted by fire&wings at 12:37 PM on November 17, 2007

A nice whisky flask. No gent should be without one.

Also, proper hankerchiefs with his initials, good cufflinks, silk ties and a comb.

N'thed on the proper shaving gear. I switched to a double-edge traditional razor, shaving soap and a badger-hair brush a year or so ago - it's a much better shave, and once you get practised at it, really no slower than a can of goo and a Mach 3 SuperTurbowhatsit. And it does make you feel somewhat connected to yer ol' grandad to be lathering up for a proper old-school shave. Even if you just get him a brush, razor or nice shaving soap on its own, it will inspire him to have a look around. Point him toward these Youtube videos for a good introduction.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:05 PM on November 17, 2007

A penny farthing bicycle
posted by drezdn at 1:42 PM on November 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ballroom dance lessons. He sounds like he'd be a natural for the American Smooth or the Quickstep--any of those dances that evoke the glamour of Hollywood's golden age.
posted by happyturtle at 2:32 PM on November 17, 2007

posted by mandymanwasregistered at 2:42 PM on November 17, 2007

posted by brujita at 9:36 PM on November 17, 2007

Ben Silver sells a lot of stuff that'd be right up your boyfriend's alley.
posted by mullacc at 10:12 PM on November 17, 2007

Vintage Bow Ties. The tie them yourself kind. Instructions here.Check out the vintage bow tie action on ebay. That's where I came by many in my collection of 100. I, particularly like the diamond points myself. They're mostly from the 30's and 40's. Keep an eye out for Sulka Silks. They're the one's Harry Truman sported but be careful many of those are fixed length, NOT adjustable.
posted by sgobbare at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2007

Does he wear hats? Nothing says vintage like a nice hat.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:40 PM on November 18, 2007

Best answer: Books:
The Handbook to English Heraldry
Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and other Details by Charles Eastlake
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

Opera glasses
Oscar Wilde's aesthetic lecturing costume
Bachelor's buttons (Cornflowers)
Powdered wigs
An eyepatch
Norfolk jackets
Smoking jackets
Lace collars and cuffs

Daguerreotypes / Calotypes
A Brownie
A Babbage difference engine
A tea-set
posted by sushiwiththejury at 8:13 PM on November 18, 2007

Seriously though... here's a biography of Beau Brummel which came out last year.
posted by brujita at 11:36 PM on November 18, 2007

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