It’s Christmas time once again and I know I’ll be asked by women out there what to get their men for the holidays in terms of clothing. I am generally not in favor of a woman dictating a man’s dress as the best dressed men are traditionally outfitted by other men: tailors. But it is inevitable that women will gift men so I have put together this simple guide to ensure that my fellow men will be well-dressed. I’ll keep it practical and accessible by setting the ceiling price at PHP 5,000 per item from brands that men won’t be embarrassed to reveal. If you are a man reading this I would highly suggest sending this to your significant other, mother, sister, or any woman you know who will be giving gifts to men.

Dress Shirts

The dress shirt is the foundation of any man’s wardrobe. It’s dress status means that they should be made of fine, lightweight, non-synthetic fabric. These characteristics allow the body to breathe and will be comfortable even in hot weather. Every man looks good in white and blue shirts so they are the safest choice. If you think your man is confident enough to pull it off try lighter shades of purple like mauve and pink. All these colors will look great when paired with grey or navy suits, sport coats and trousers.

Where To Buy

– Massimo Dutti
– Zara
– Banana Republic

Casual Shirts

The off-duty gentleman likes to look a little tough but still dressed up. It’s also a chance to wear more colors than what the workplace allows. Choose plaid, gingham or thin cotton twill (think U.S. army uniform) in various colors. He can roll up the sleeves and unbutton the top to look extra casual. Resist the urge to buy another pique shirt and give him a style upgrade. If you must give him a tee, make sure it’s one with nautical stripes.

Where To Buy

– Gap
– Dockers
– Muji

Trousers

It is my belief that dress pants should be tailored so I’ll leave that out and instead focus on suggesting trousers that will compliment casual shirts. A good place to start are basic chinos in khaki or grey. If your man is a little more suave, go for olive or dark brown. Raw jeans (not those pre-distressed jeans in weird washes) are a great way to look casually dressed up and transition effortlessly from day to night. Choose trousers that sit on the natural waist (right below the belly button), fit slim (not tight) down the leg and hemmed properly so that they sit right on top of shoes.

Where To Buy

– Banana Republic (Basic Chinos)
– GAP (1969 Collection)
– Dockers (Alpha Collection)

Shoes

Shoes define and set the tone of a look so much attention should be paid to them. I’ve decided to not separate them into two sections of dress and casual as the brands I’ll be recommending usually have both. 

If your man has a lot of black dress trousers go with black shoes otherwise choose brown shoes (go well with navy and grey trousers). I should note that loafers are not dress shoes — they are casual shoes that look dressy but nonetheless are still casual.

For casual wear, boat shoes seem to be “in” lately so I do recommend them for their comfort and relaxed styling that’s perfect for our tropical weather. Desert or chukka boots are also great options if you feel your man can pull it off. Explore different options like suede and nubuck to set him apart from everyone else.

Where To Buy

– Bass
Bristol Shoes (Designer Collection)
– Hush Puppies (HP58 Collection)
– Sperry Topsider
– Sebago
ECCO

Grooming

A woman wants her man’s skin to look good, feel soft and smell nice. Naturally they turn to giving grooming products as men are generally allergic to visiting dermatologists and would rather resort to raiding their other half’s medicine cabinet for some quick fixes.

Shaving creams, aftershave colognes and perfumes always make great gifts but can backfire if he does not like the scent or fit his body chemistry. Acca Kappa has a fantastic shave set with a badger brush, a lathering dish, a handle for razor catridges and a stand all for PHP 4,950. That’s hard to beat considering many brushes alone sell for over PHP 2,500. Acca Kappa also has a great line of combs any man would be proud to own.

For moisturizers, cleansers, sunblocks and treatments that aren’t full of harmful chemicals I would recommend VMV Hypoallergenics and Leyende. They are not overly girly brands so it’s safe for men to admit. Also check out what Beauty Bar has to offer as they have a good selection of products for men including the Australian organics brand Rituelle.

Where To Buy

– Rustan’s Department Store
– VMV Hypoallergenics
– Beauty Bar
– Crabtree and Evelyn
– Adora
Leyende

Small Goods – Neckties, Wallets, Belts, Handkerchiefs, Socks

Neckties are the last thing a woman should give a man. Most men don’t wear a tie and if they do it must be because they really have to which is just a few times in their lifetime. If you really must give one make sure it’s navy with wide diagonal stripes or fine patterns. Keep the width of the necktie around 3 inches so it works with almost any shirt or jacket.

I give the same advice for shoes when buying wallets and belts – choose brown as it is very suave and versatile. Brown will also develop a nice patina over time. For wallets choose something slimmer and smaller as a big wallet will be prone to being stuffed with items that will eventually cause back pains. For belts keep in mind that the wider they are the more casual they become.

For handkerchiefs you can’t go wrong with plain white ones made of the finest cotton. Simple patterns in blue and white are also good alternatives.

Socks should generally be in the same color of the trousers being worn. The Philippines is a tropical country so avoid giving thick socks or those with a high amount of synthetic fiber.

Where To Buy

– Massimo Dutti
– Marks & Spencer (skip the neckties here)
– Rustan’s Department Store
– Raoul

Make sure everything fits well — not tight or loose. Think of buying these items as pieces that will last for years. If you feel your man can’t wear a certain pattern or color maybe you need to push him a little bit. Avoid giving items in black as we are a tropical country with a lot of sunshine.

I hope this short guide has been useful. If you need recommendations for a certain budget or personality feel free to email me. Enjoy the hunt!