12 Days of Gifting, Day 6: What Do Men Want?

Illustration for article titled 12 Days of Gifting, Day 6: What Do Men Want?
Photo: Tolu Bamwo (Nappy)

We’ve been told that men are simple. We’d dare to disagree, and say it ain’t necessarily so. In fact, some men are about as simple as a Rubik’s Cube (basic and kinda cute on the outside, then unnecessarily complicated); especially when it comes to shopping for one who simply shrugs when you ask him what’s on his list this holiday season. (Dad, I’m looking at you.)


So, what do you get the man—or men—in your life, during this all-or-nothing time of year? (No pressure.) Frankly, we’ve learned that the best tactic is surprisingly gender-neutral: Just listen (on that note, some of these options are ideal for the masculine of center and gender non-binary folk in your life, too). But with the days dwindling without knowing exactly what he wants this holiday (and since the film doesn’t premiere until January), here are a few black-owned suggestions that will hopefully satisfy even the most elusive recipient on your list.


One classic deserves another, and Bevel became an instant classic when founder Tristan Walker launched his shave system in 2013. Now expanded to a full grooming line, the line is available as a subscription service so that guys can keep it tight all year long, whether they’re clean shaven or card-carrying members of #BeardGang. (On that note, there’s also a gift card available.)

Dapper Black Box

But what about black-on-black business? Dapper Black Box is, in many ways, the gift that keeps on giving, as the company’s mission—aside from promoting dapper style—is to “make supporting the black economy simple and rewarding by assembling the latest fashion accessories from black-owned business and delivering them to you at an extremely low cost every month,” according to its website. As the first black male-centric subscription box service to curate products exclusively from black-owned businesses, the lucky one you’re gifting can sample the best while keeping it black.

But beware: This is a long game. The Dapper Black Box has become so popular, they’re now taking pre-orders for January.


Banneker Watches

Your love is timeless, so why not gift a Banneker Watch? These uniquely elegant timepieces pay homage to African-American innovator and scholar Benjamin Banneker by using luxury woods in every watch and clock design; each includes information about Banneker’s legacy. Even more unique? The Chicago-based company is one of the only minority-owned watch and clock companies in the world today.


Scotch Porter

Scotch Porter has been changing the game for #BeardGang with their comprehensive line of products specifically made for keeping facial hair (and now, hair and skin, as well,) at its finest. The company’s newest offering, a CBD oil-based line, has been difficult to keep in stock, but their classic collection bundles are on sale through Saturday, Dec. 8—so act fast!


The Cut Buddy

Got a DIY-er in your life, or someone who needs shape-ups on the go? The Cut Buddy was created to help keep those lineups tight without the all-day wait at the barber; just add trimmers, and go. And with a limited edition leather travel case by Frost and Embers for a very reasonable $25.95, this is a gift that is both elegant and exclusive—only 30 have been made, so buy now!


Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars

What happens when Afro-Cuban-American twin sisters decide to specialize in cigars? Tres Lindas Cubanas, a black woman-owned brand disrupting the cigar industry. Their cigars are manufactured in Esteli, Nicaragua, using Nicaraguan fillers, binders and wrappers, and “celebrate the diverse beauty of the Cuban woman,” according to their website. If you know someone who loves a high-end smoke break, these will be a treat.



Created by designer Christopher Bevans, Dyne is a performance line perfect for the transitional, yet active lifestyles most of us live today. The brand’s post-modern, minimalist silhouettes succeed by “melding cutting-edge techniques and sophisticated technical materials with traditional fabrics and old-world craftsmanship,” according to its website. Dyne’s efforts were recently honored by acceptance into the Council of Fashion Designers of America.


Hennessy by Pyer Moss

It’s no secret that we’re huge fan of designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and his label, Pyer Moss, but one of his best collabs this year was also one of his lesser known. Drawing on the 120-year-old legacy of world champion cyclist Marshall Major Taylor, Jean-Raymond partnered with cognac brand Hennessy to create a capsule collection in his honor. The limited edition, sporting-ready Hennessy by Pyer Moss is not only a collectible-worthy offering from an increasingly major designer, but contributes to a “full ride” scholarship fund.


Abdju Wear

Lord knows we love a good remix, and Abdju Wear does exactly that, revamping and enhancing some familiar silhouettes with a decidedly Afrocentric, hyper-conscious flair. The effect is reminiscent of pre-Gucci Dapper Dan—and that’s kind of why we love it. If someone you love loves street style, this collection is a dope way to introduce them to something new.


Mo’s Bows

When we first became aware of young entrepreneur Moziah Bridges, he was a 10-year-old upstart pitching his wares on Shark Tank. Seven years later, Mo’s Bows is still going strong, positioning itself as a premier marketplace for neckwear lovers of all kinds. Ties are the best accessory to customize and upgrade a masculine wardrobe, and frankly, every guy should have at least a few good ones. If you simply can’t choose, gift cards are available—and if you want to start them early, Mo’s has youth-sized options, too.


Treason Toting Co.

Know someone who carries the world on their back? A bag from Treason Toting Company will help them do it in incomparable style. With a variety of high-quality, utilitarian frames that easily transition between casual and polished, function is made incredibly fashionable. As the company’s site says: “Treason can be defined as ‘the action of betraying something.’ We seek to betray social and group expectations to shatter the status quo.”


My Filibo

We adore pretty much everything in My Filibo’s black culture-specific Etsy shop, but one of our hands-down favorites are their Resist Fist cufflinks, which would add an activist accent to even the most conventional attire. But you needn’t stop shopping with just one; the shop also has a heritage collection, which includes cufflinks in the shape of Africa, Barbados, Trinidad and Grenada.


Wade the Barber

It’s not often that we include services on our shopping list; especially unconventional ones. But if you know someone suffering from thinning hair or baldness, one of Wade the Barber’s “swoon units” (okay, hair units) may be one of the best gifts you can give. Sure, many may balk at the idea of a “man weave,” but this DMV-based hair protheses specialist is restoring confidence, one scalp at a time—and what’s good for the weave and wig-wearing goose should also be fair play for the gander, no?


In fact, Wade is so committed to helping bring new life to those suffering from hair loss that he’s spreading the wealth by educating others on his techniques. By all accounts, both the education and experience are priceless, and if someone you love could use the boost, it may be a worthwhile investment.

So, all shrugs aside, you now hopefully have a few ideas to satisfy the guy(s) in your life this holiday ... and we’ll be back tomorrow, with more ideas for the rest of your list. Happy shopping!

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Good. But. What does my 10-year-old nephew who believes he’s 16 want? I’m all out of Cool Aunt ideas this year.