By Joshua David Stein
Updated Nov 01, 2015 @ 12:30 pm
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As we always do, InStyle has a pretty comprehensive gift guide coming out in December’s issue (on newsstands Nov. 13). But, what with the lines and the sheer amount of prezzies on your list, it never hurts to get a jumpstart. And so, the gradual gift guide begins. I’m a guy—one of the few on staff at InStyle—and therefore feel it is incumbent upon me at some point to advocate for all the stuff we want under our tree. I mean, I’m not opposed to cute geegaws or anything, but if I’m getting a gift, I want it to smell like leather and whisky. No hearts, no kittens. Clear eyes, full stockings, can’t lose.

For the Morning

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Recent research indicates that 90 percent of fights happen before coffee. OK, so that’s made up, but it feels about right. The point is, for a harmonious relationship, time after one awakens but before one consumes coffee should be minimized. At the same time, no one wants crummy coffee. And, this is a special insight but a true one: every guy harbors a secret fantasy of being a barista. We all want to make drinks with little hearts in them. Most serious cafes (or at least many) have a La Marzocco behind the bar. They’re beautiful machines, big and chrome with a lion on them. This year, the Italian company offers an at-home version for the serious baristamateur called La Linea Mini ($5,000; Only 14-inches wide, it won’t eat up your counter space. There’s a built in water reservoir (which means no drilling or complicated plumbing involved). There’s a whole lot of technology inside the chrome body—it costs $5,000 for a reason—that means your espresso will come out consistently good and the foam the little spigot yields is top notch. But really, when you think about it, it makes making coffee a pleasure and that’s good for everybody.

For the Shower

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Fancy English man-smelling things are really all any guy needs in the morning to make his day better. Not to knock any of their more potent-smelling American cousins, but there’s something about the understated herbality of English toiletries that is empowering. My two new faves come courtesy od Gentlemen’s Tonic, a men’s salon in London’s Mayfair, which now ships product to the States. Both the Gentle Body Wash ($44; and the Daily Moisturizer ($38; contain cooling babassu oil, menthol and soothing bergamot, which means you smell like English Breakfast tea.

For the Commute

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For anyone who at one time was once cool or thought they were, there’s a special place in our hearts for Vans. The brand, which was founded in SoCal, has just come out with the second installment of their active foul-weather gear collection called Mountain Edition Collection which marries the classic silhouettes of their SK8 Hi-tops with features that make them winterwear too: Scotchgard®-coated uppers, warm linings and a heat retention layer between sockliner and outsole (starting at $65; In addition to shoes, there’s a handsome water-resistant varsity-style Winnipeg jacket ($140; that keeps you warm and dry and, most importantly, looking good, too.

For the Gym

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In the ongoing battle against #DadBod (remember when that was a thing?), one must enlist all the help one can get. Staring at oneself in a crusty pair of gym shorts brings back haunting memories of P.E. class. On the other hand, wearing high performance gear while being all taped up like a NBA star is downright silly and, let’s face it, arrogantly self-deluding. This is where EFM Menswear comes in. Designed by Donrad Duncan, the collection is good-looking enough to wear outside the gym but technologically advanced to be of use inside it. Among my favorite pieces of his new collection are the Prospect Crewneck Sweater ($325; and the Ward Tracker Trouser ($295; made in collaboration with an R&D firm called Trinovation. They are supportive and stylish yet allow for movement, a pretty good description for both the ideal partner as well as the ideal performance outfit.