The holiday season has officially arrived. On our gift list, we have some people who are difficult to buy for – and some people are patently impossible to buy for! We’re going to say something that may make us unpopular, but definitely stands true on our shopping list. The men are much more difficult to buy for than the women! Men frequently seem to be more inclined to simply buy themselves what they want or need when they want or need it. And getting them to drop a hint about what they may want to see under the tree is like trying to crack a James Bond encoded message. We must not be the only ones who struggle with gift-buying for men, because, in our travels through trunk shows and trade shows, the Jan Leslie team has had more women ask about gift-buying for the men in their life than a newspaper advice column would! Naturally, as a designer who creates accessories specifically for men, Jan Leslie has advice on selecting stylish gifts for fashionable men (or even men who need a touch of fashionable help).
We sat down with Jan to talk about holiday gifts, seasonal style trends and why you shouldn’t be afraid of luxury novelty gifts. And for our readers buying for a lovely lady, be sure to scroll to the end for a tip on selecting gifts for women!
Let’s go ahead and ask the obvious question. What makes men’s accessories a great gift idea? Why would somebody purchase men’s accessories instead of a shirt or a tool set?
“Even with the most stylish men out there, guys can always use a lift to their wardrobe. Believe it or not, all guys are sure to appreciate gifts that get them noticed and complimented, and I like to design with that idea in mind. I always want to create a piece that will be noticed as special, stylish and unique.
But I think the most important reason to consider accessories as a gift for the man in your life this year is that it can be an entirely personalized gift. I don’t just mean that you can include engraving, though I love the idea of a moment caught in time with an engraved message. But you can make it extra-personal by picking a pair of cufflinks that relate to his favorite things, including animals or sports or even cars. Plus, let’s all be honest. Does anybody really want to go shopping for a tool set?”
Many of your designs, particularly the animal cufflinks that you referenced above, have a whimsical feel that’s essentially luxury novelty. Isn’t that the type of gift that can end up just sitting in a box if the man isn’t bold enough to wear it?
“Buying the man in your life a pair of our more whimsical designs is just a way to help him ease into being bolder with style. If there’s one thing that we’ve seen again and again, it’s a story where a woman buys a man a pair of our brighter or bolder novelty-inspired cufflinks. He’d never buy them for himself, and she knows it. But once he wears them and starts to see how many compliments he receives on them, he soon becomes a collector of ours. Don’t be afraid to go out of the box with a gift this season. You actually can end up changing his style for the better! A man can have sophisticated fun. Even in his style, he doesn’t have to grow up, but he still can elevate. That’s a big part of the philosophy behind the line, and it’s a great thing to keep in mind when you’re picking a gift.”
What’s the style trend this season? If you’re purchasing a fashion gift for a man and you’re not immediately familiar with what’s hot the season, what should you be looking for?
“The line running through all styles this holiday season is richness and luxury. It’s deep jewel tones and the shades of old Hollywood velvets. For him, the style is definitely vintage-inspired and a return to the idea of true couture. We all seem to have forgotten that with true couture, things didn’t just look beautiful and luxurious; they also felt luxurious and refined. I use the Jan Leslie Pinterest boards to collect inspiration images, so you might get a better sense by taking a look at my holiday pin board. Think rich. Think luxurious. Think vintage old Hollywood but for a modern man.”
In the Fall/Winter 2015 Jan Leslie collection, which pieces are best for somebody who wants to purchase within the trend you described above?
“For Fall/Winter 2015, we’ve designed an entire line of new marcasite pieces that capture the feel of understated bling and vintage marcasite, but they also have clean lines and contemporary designs for the modern man. These pieces run the entire range. For a more traditional style, we have classic knots with marcasite as well as some more current cylindrical and rectangular styles. But you can also find regal playfulness as well in marcasite versions of many of our best-selling animal cufflinks, including bees, crabs and, of course, sharks!”
For the male readers looking for a gift tip for women, what would you tell them?
“Well, of course, firstly I’d remind them that we have women’s jewelry pieces in the collection and that a tailored women’s look is on-trend right now, which means that cufflinks are also a great gift for women! But on a broader note, I’d remind them that everybody loves a gift that captures luxury. That’s as true for the stay-at-home mom as it is for the CEO. The holidays are a great time to indulge in a gift that gives your recipient a moment to fall into luxury during the midst of holiday stress.
While gift giving is great … Be happy with whatever ends up “under the tree. The holidays are truly about giving and gratitude, which is why it’s so important to me to take this moment to wish everyone a happy healthy and peaceful holiday and New Year.”