Ladies, it’s that time of year again, when you must do your best to remind your well-kept gentleman or loveable rogue that Valentine’s is fast approaching and he needs to buy you something other than a bunch of wilting flowers from a petrol station and a card that says “Happy Birthday Valentines!” To make his job that much easier, and your Valentine’s that much better, our very own Girl Thursday has put together a helpful list to get him started. He doesn’t even need to think – he just needs to remember his pin number.
In the interests of equality, I have put together a little guide of my own, so that you wonderfully thoughtful ladies can have this year off, make a pot of tea (or a G and T), put your feet up, and order any of the following items from the World Wide Interweb which will make your Valentine the happiest chappy this side of Smileville.
Socks from Smart Turnout
If you don’t mind your chap wearing stripy socks, then Smart Turnout should be your choice of brands (£14.99). Not only do they offer a fabulous range of colours and fabric weights, but being specialists in prep-school, Ivy League and military insignia, you can buy your gentleman the colours of the school, university or academy he attended.
If you want to make it a theme, they also sell officially endorsed cufflinks (£59) using the logos of schools from Eton to the University of Oxford and the military academy of Sandhurst.
Underwear and Polo Shirts from Sunspel
In the recent Bond films, Daniel Craig was seen strutting his stuff, showing off those bulging implants, I mean muscles, under a Riviera Polo Shirt from Sunspel (priced from £59).
If your chap doesn’t have the physique or confidence to model such a ‘body con’ piece of clothing (and let’s face it, few of us past our thirties do), then perhaps something that only you will see is more apt. Sunspel do a great range of comfortable and luxurious underwear, from boxer shorts to the tighter fitting ‘Superfine’ cotton shorts (£17). If anything, they’ll encourage him to exploit that dusty gym membership.
Knitted Ties and Colourful Neckwear
A tie is often a dull gift to receive. Unless of course it’s from the atelier of Timothy Everest or the colourful creative lab of Gresham Blake. Readers will know that these are my two favourite tailors, and there is rhyme to this reason. Timothy Everest supplies the best quality knitted silk ties on the market today (£85) – and I have tried them all. Thick and tactile, they hold a knot well and look dashing, elegant and utterly chic. If you want something a tad more colourful and daring, Gresham Blake is the man to see. His ties (£65) lend an element of punk-chic to an otherwise conservative wardrobe.
If your chap doesn’t already have a tailor of choice and if you’re feeling generous, then book him an appointment for a fully bespoke or made to measure suit with either of these New Bespoke designer-tailors. Prices start at around £1,500 depending on the fabric choice. Both tailors also offer bespoke couture jeans and casual jackets.
Shoes from Harry’s of London
I fear there is some repetition here from my Christmas gift guide, but I can’t stress enough how good shoes from Harry’s of London are. Not only do they offer a thoroughly modern range of styles from the creative mind of a shoe industry guru, the construction – made in Italy – is utterly superb, and the casual range of Vibram-soled shoes are among the most comfortable smart-casual shoes I have ever worn. I have walked countless miles in mine and never tire of them or in them. Plus I purchased them with my own money (sadly they haven’t offered me a free pair yet, the ungrateful swines), so they must be good.
If you want a huge range of classically made British shoes with a dash of rock n’ roll about them, then Jeffrey-West have a magnificent line up to chose from.
Gentlemen’s Grooming Products
We all know that men like a hot soak in the bath, preferably with the aid of something that smells awfully nice and perhaps creates a few dainty bubbles; some men will admit to this while others pretend to shower while they actually pour your very best bath oil from Aromatherapy Associates into the tub and make shower noises amidst their effeminate luxuriating. So let’s break through this unnecessary macho-facade which should be relegated to building sites and prisons, and buy your chappie a bottle of the very finest gentleman’s bath oil known to humanity.
My personal favourites are Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet (£36), described as a “bracing mix of citrus oils, spices and woods”, just the sort of thing that Jeeves would select for Master Wooster (and being created in 1902, there’s a good chance that PG Wodehouse used this himself), or the equally classic ‘house recipe’ bath oil from Truefitt & Hill (£34). Or to mix it up a bit, consider a grooming gift set from Geo F. Trumper (£65), that other iconic brand of old school Mayfair dapperness.
Chocolates from Demarquette
As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and seeing as chocolate is said to have aphrodisiac qualities, clearly you should mount a two-pronged attack in the form of a chocolate gift box from Demarquette. With a fabulous range of Valentine’s specials on offer this year, you have much to choose from. And if heart shaped chocolates will be construed as too ‘girly’, then buy him their box of House Truffles (£25) which he can munch to his heart’s desire.
If he’s been paying attention to Girl Thursday’s gift guide, he’ll return the favour with something equally indulgent just for you. No fighting over the last choccy this year.
Eames ‘Time Life’ Lobby Chair
Originally created for the executive floor of the Time Life building, this iconic leather ‘lobby chair’ by Charles and Ray Eames (£1,450 from Vintage Seekers) is perhaps one of the greatest examples of 20th century designer furniture.
If your gentleman is prone to mulling over wild plans of world domination, he needs one of these chairs in which to do it. Whether he has a wood-panelled study or a modern minimalist hideaway, this will make a fitting and much-loved addition to any room. And hopefully you will reap the benefits when he finally conquers the globe.
Jaguar E Type 4.2 Series 1 Coupe, 1965
If money is no object, and if your chap has earned sufficient Scout’s Points this year, consider a classic 1965 Jaguar E Type, one of the most iconic British sports cars ever made. A touch less clichéd than Bond’s Aston Martin DB4 but with all the chic and pizzazz that a classic car should offer, you will be the most stylish couple in all of Blighty when you rock up outside that posh restaurant or at your friend’s country manor, the engine burbling with the confidence that a true style icon like this can imbue upon its owner. Prepare to spend lonely evenings without him though, as he fawns over his new pride and joy.
So there you have it. Job done. And if he doesn’t like his gifts then clearly he has no taste and you should ditch or divorce him immediately.