Valentine's Day is designed to take some time to enjoy the ones we love, or at least that's what they tell us. I like to think of it as a nice opportunity to put in a little extra effort to look and feel smashing and ensure that if there is a fella in your life, he has the opportunity, rather than the obligation, to do the same.
Sometimes, that can be effortless. Frequently, it is not. So, if you or the gentleman in your life is struggling with February 14th, let me offer some guidance.
The Dapper Man and Valentine's Day: From the Perfect Gift to Creating the Ideal Look
1. Step 1. The Suit.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are a man who needs a suit, you should be a man shopping at Suitsupply. If you are a woman who has ever combed through the pages of Esquire thinking, "I wish my man would rock that," dream no more. (And, of course, this is all intended to be inclusive. So, if you are someone who loves to shop menswear or a man in love with a man, etc., I'm all for it. The key message here: get a great suit with the best fit possible.)
They'll treat you right and the prices are comparable to department stores. Although, I can't convey enough how much better he'll look in a Suitsupply suit as opposed to one from a major retailer. Luckily there's a store downtown with an on-site tailor. Don't believe me? I've included a photo of my husband in his navy suit from Suitsupply. Love!
2. Step 2: The Hair.
All haircuts are not equal. And, when it comes to a man's haircut, the hair stylist is especially important. At a loss? As your very own personal stylist, I'm happy to suggest one.
The brand new Essensuals London is conveniently located on 11th and offers an array of great options for men. (You may remember that they styled my hair for the Poplin Anniversary party.) The owners have spent years traveling the world teaching hair stylists for Toni&Guy, which means they are all about education. The best part? They'll actually take the time to explain what products are best for his hair and why.
Standout Service: Try the Camo Color, a discreet color that minimizes the grey without being an obvious color change. As the hair grows out, it looks more natural and gradually fades.
Another perk: Feel free to call ahead for a complimentary neck trim. It only takes 5 minutes, cleans up his look and offers the opportunity to get a feel for the salon. All good things.
3. Step 3: The Gift.
Whether you pick one of these up for him or he dives in independently, the following are my picks right now for the hip man who opts to shop local.
For the chef or maker: One of the greatest gifts I've ever purchased for my husband, this rugged apron is just right for the artistic fella in your household and it's made right here in Seattle. You can pick one up at Hammer + Awl, the menswear accessory store of dreams in Madrona.
For the man who knows how to accessorize: You'll see more of my obsession with Issaquah-based Combat Flip Flops in a future post. Until then, know that the company, started by former members of the Special Forces, uses the proceeds to support individuals in areas of conflict. Each shemagh, for instance, puts an Afghan woman in secondary school for a week and is made in a woman-owned factory in Afghanistan.
The bangle is another genius gift. Made from Vietnam War-era bombs in Laos, when you buy one you help fund the clearing of 3 square meters of UXO. And, they are mighty cool. Be warned. Start reading the Combat Flip Flops website and you'll finally look up 20 minutes later.
For the effortlessly cool among us. You may remember that the Poplin Anniversary party was held at local menswear boutique Freeman. Try these pieces together for a comfortable and still very put together look that is oh so Seattle.
Peeked your interest? A visit to Hammer + Awl or Freeman is sure to inspire you as each is filled with pieces made in the US with a story behind every item.
For the dad who has it all. You can never go wrong with a night out or a special outing with the kid(s).
If this has no relevance to your life, you might also enjoy some lovely pieces for yourself. I'm very fond of these two from Velouria in Pioneer Square:) You can shop the store's crazy awesome sale right now.
Happy Valentine's Day, Dear Reader. Enjoy it.
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