2014 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas geared towards looking good, from belts and sunglasses, to accessories for your favorite gadgets. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

Mission Belt Co.

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We’re always searching for the latest fashion accessories, and we love the way that Mission Belt Co. has completely revolutionized how a belt should be worn. Instead of the classic design – comprised of a belt buckle and hole-punched strap – Mission belts don’t have any holes at all. They use a ratchet system that makes putting the belt on and taking it off much faster and easier, all while providing a more perfect fit. And because you’re not constantly pulling the belt tongue in and out of holes, or rubbing the metal buckle against the band, you don’t have to worry about the wear and tear that occurs on a typical leather belt. Each Mission belt is also made of high-quality leather and can easily be trimmed down should you need to shorten it after losing some weight. In fact, they’re so durable that the only reason you’ll need to buy more than one is because you want a different look, and with over 50 belt and buckle color combinations available, every guy is going to want at least a few of these in their closet. Heck, Mission Belt Co. knows that better than anyone, which is why they’ve created variety three-packs specifically designed for Father’s Day gift giving.

Element Case Ducati Line

It’s really hard to find great accessories for mobile devices – ones that are practical, durable and stylish enough that you’re not embarrassed to carry it around in public – but Element Case has teamed up with the makers of Ducati motorcycles to create a line of cases and covers that any guy would love. In addition to the popular Rogue and ION 5 models, which feature backplates made of carbon fiber, iPhone 5/5s users can pick up the sleek and chic Solace, the slimmest in the Ducati line with CNC-machined, aircraft-grade aluminum end-caps and a shock-absorbing polycarbonate chassis with a soft-touch finish. It’s hands-down the best iPhone case we’ve ever used – solid without being bulky. And for those that need to protect their iPad on the go, look no further than the Soft-Tec Folio. The outer Tech-Grip material has a non-slip synthetic coating to ensure a firm grip and enhanced ergonomics, while the inside is lined with plush synthetic suede that protects the screen. Though it doesn’t look quite as high-end as the Solace, the Soft-Tec Folio features the same excellent craftsmanship and stylish design of the entire Element/Ducati line. It’s just a shame that more cross-brand partnerships aren’t this awesome.

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Shwood Louisville Slugger Sunglasses

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Wooden eyeglass frames have been slowly coming back into fashion over the last few years, but the guys at Shwood have taken the fad to the next level by teaming up with Louisville Slugger to produce sunglasses using the reclaimed ash wood from Slugger Ashwood baseball bats. Available in two different styles – the Canby and the Haystack – the frames are made in the United States (Portland, Oregon to be exact), with wood manipulation kept to a minimum in order to showcase the medium’s natural and unique splendor. These sunglasses positively ooze the spirit of America’s favorite pastime, from the two-tone, black and white tips reminiscent of Slugger’s iconic paint-dipped bats, to the leather carrying case that smells like your childhood baseball mitt. Both frames are offered as part of the Shwood Original and Select collections, with Original models packaged with a branded wool pouch and custom trading card, while the Select kit includes a matching, limited edition bat, leather travel case and more. Can you think of a better gift for the sport-loving father in your life than this?

Altitude Pro Boot from Hi-Tec

This waterproof boot is very comfortable and has a rugged yet modern style that most guys will like in a hiking boot. It features an abrasion resistant heel and toecap that protects against rough terrains, and it also has a Vibram rubber outsole that delivers great traction. We were impressed with the comfort and traction, so they make the perfect gift for the active person, or for someone looking for an excuse to become more active! Give the boots and also schedule a hiking trip with dad – now that’s a cool gift.

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Alara Shirts and Ties

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You’ll find tons of great gift ideas at AlaraShirt.com from their selection of shirts and ties. They offer a wide variety of shirt styles in slim fits and standard cuts as well. Keep that in mind when ordering for dad. We tried two slim-fit shirts that looked great on the website – the lavender grid slim fit shirt and the navy/white pencil stripe slim fit shirt and were very happy with both. The colors are very vibrant and the shirts were very well constructed and fit perfectly. The shirts are made with two-ply Egyptian cotton with meticulous craftsmanship, including 18 fine stitches per inch ensuring durability, adjustable mittered barrel cuffs, ultra flexible removable collar stays, side gussets for style and strength and Alara’s exclusive unbreakable mother of pearl blend buttons. The tie selection is also impressive, and the prices are very reasonable for the quality. With each item, you also get Alara’s 15-day, no hassle free return policy. So check them out and you’ll probably want some for yourself as well.

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Gift Sets

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Looking for something that meets the high standards of hard working men who want to get clean without drowning their manhood in shower gels? Duke Cannon Supply Co. makes shopping for dad easy with the launch of four pre-packaged men’s grooming gift sets inspired by famous TV fathers like Walter White, Cliff Huxtable, Phillip Drummond and Ned Stark (yes, it includes “Big Ass” bricks of soap and a hatchet). Available at four different price tiers, each set contains a selection of Duke Cannon’s best-selling grooming products along with a free gift. And if you’re not interested in the famous TV dad sets, they have plenty more available, including a limited edition U.S. military field box set that includes Big Ass bricks of soap that smell like “Victory,” “Accomplishment,” “Productivity” and “Naval Supremacy.”

The Wallet Shoppe

If dad can use a new wallet, check out the wide selection at The Wallet Shoppe. The selection is huge and you can find everything from classic wallets for dad to trendy wallets for that brother who still wants to feel young even though he’s juggling three kids. Some may like the idea of a wallet that more like a money clip, and we tried out the 6-card wallet by Dosh pictured below. This wallet is is great for the person on the go and it’s unlike most traditional wallets. Dosh offers a unique designs that is moulded in TPU – a durable, water-resistant polymer material that feels rich and soft. The money clip is crafted from high grade stainless steel and is located on the spine to ensure easy access and organization.
 Browse the site and you’ll find more great options.

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Altitude Pro boot from Hi-Tec

Altitude Pro RGS WP BrownLR

With summer season upon us many are planning hiking trips as we look forward to great weather following a brutal winter.

I tried out the new Altitude Pro RGS WP from Hi-Tec and discovered a great, waterproof hiking boot. It’s very comfortable and has a rugged yet modern style that most guys will like in a hiking boot. It features an abrasion resistant heel and toecap that protects against rough terrains, and it also has a Vibram rubber outsole that delivers great traction.

I tested the boots out on a short hike and came away impressed with the comfort and traction. With Father’s Day around the corner the boots can also be a great gift for the active person, or for someone looking for an excuse to become more active! That might be you as well, so check them out.

  

Great Shirts from Alara

Alara shirtI’ve been upgrading my dress shirts lately, so I was happy to have the opportunity to try out two new shirts from AlaraShirt.com. I found two slim-fit shirts that looked great on the website – the Lavender grid slim fit shirt and the Navy – White pencil stripe slim fit shirt. The Lavender shirt has the grid pattern that’s been popular lately and the second shirt had a classic blue and white thin stripe look.

When I opened the package I was impressed right away with the colors, which were very vibrant, and the overall look of the shirts that reflected the high-end quality of the items. I’ve been moving towards more fitted shirts for years, and both shirts were very well constructed and fit perfectly. Of course, that means I’ll have to stick with the healthy eating habits and working routine I’ve been I’ve been trying, as these slim-fit styles are not forgiving!

Both shirts are made with two-ply Egyptian cotton with meticulous craftsmanship, including 18 fine stitches per inch ensuring durability, adjustable mittered barrel cuffs, ultra flexible removable collar stays, side gussets for style and strength and Alara’s exclusive unbreakable mother of pearl blend buttons. With each item, you also get Alara’s
15-day, no hassle free return policy.

The fitted shirts look fantastic with jeans or casual pants and of course under a blazer as well. You’ll find a wide variety of styles from trendier patterns to more classic looks.

If the slim-fit look isn’t for you and you prefer roomier shirts, those options are available as well with Alara. Keep that in mind, as well, if you’re shopping for anyone else. It also helps to have some variety in your closet. If you’re wearing an undershirt, you might want to choose some standard-cut shirts for work.

Both shirts we tried are competitively priced as are all the items on this website. Bullz-Eye readers will get an additional 10% off the sale prices listed on the site by using coupon code “alara10” at checkout.

Along with dress shorts, you can also check out AlaraShirt.com for quality sports shirts and new items have been added for Spring & Summer. With Father’s Day around the corner you can find some great gift ideas as well.

  

New Year’s Resolutions: Tools to Up Your Fashion Game in 2014

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The dawn of a New Year has a habit of shedding light on those parts of ourselves that we’d like to tweak and change. “A New Year, a new you:” a common mantra in support of creating and going after attainable New Year’s resolutions. Are you looking to dress the part of a new and improved version of yourself?

I am going to give you some tips on developing your style for the workplace without radically altering your look that will make keeping your New Year’s Resolution simple. The name of the game is accessorizing. Most men balk at the term, but accessories are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to really polish off your style, and I know of a few essentials that you’ll be glad to have stowed in your arsenal.

Shoes

Surprisingly enough, shoes tend to be one of the first things women notice about a man. If you’re shuffling around in a beat up or scuffed pair of department store kickers, you’re drawing far too much negative attention to yourself. When it comes to dress shoes, stick to natural colors and patterns – you can’t go wrong with plain, laced up leather shoes in black, brown, or cordovan (burgundy). I prefer shoes without buckles, because I feel buckles limit the versatility of the shoe. To add some flare I like wing tips: think Mad Men style. High quality shoes do not necessarily have to be expensive. Consider shopping at places like Nordstrom Rack for great deals on designer shoes such as Johnston and Murphy Wingtip Oxfords for around $150.

Watches

The style of a man’s timepiece gives a brief but in-depth look at his personality, and a good watch makes a fine first impression. Trust me; watches are the one subtle accessory that will always get noticed. Not to mention, whereas other accessories will wear out and require replacing over time, a real high quality wristwatch will serve dutifully for a lifetime, after which it can be passed on as an heirloom. Even if you can’t afford to drop a few G’s on a timepiece, a watch at an entry level price will still make a great statement in the workplace.

A professional-looking watch should be understated and classic. I like watches where the dial matches the wrist band, but have seen many beautiful pieces with a leather strap and silver/stainless dial. It all comes down to personal preference. As a rule of thumb, stay away from brightly colored faces and straps – unless they are refined, elegant, and match your suit well. And unless you are in a high up executive position with a large company, a wristwatch in solid gold will make you look ridiculous. Stick to stainless steel and silver; rose gold for more casual work environments, and classic leathers.

While it is true that some entry-level watches from brands like Omega can cost upwards of $2,000, a good quality watch like Stuhrling from ShopHQ, will suit your purposes well and set you back only a few hundred dollars. A price frame between $300 and $1,000 usually implies that the pieces are mass-produced, but that’s not to say that they aren’t well made. In general, a watch made in Switzerland, Japan, or the USA can be trusted to be of higher quality and good value.

Tie

There are many distinct ways to wear a tie – numerous tie variations, knots, sizes, and diverse situations in which a tie could be worn – that giving general tie advice is the best course of action here. First, make sure you are able to tie multiple knots, from half Windsor to Full Windsor to a Shelby knot. The best way to learn is have someone who knows teach you, or watch YouTube videos and practice. A few general guidelines for dressing with a tie at the office:

1) Do not wear loud colored ties to work or, more importantly, a job interview, and stay away from bright reds exclusively.
a. Bright, obnoxious ties in general are just annoying; it is better to wear a subtle tie that will get you taken seriously.
2) Do not wear novelty ties. Ever.
3) Ties should fall to just above the beltline, no shorter or further.
4) The tie should not match the shirt’s color exactly. Experiment with contrasting colors that go well together, like black and white, or patterned button-up where the tie’s color can be found in the shirt’s details.

As with other accessories, creating a stylish wardrobe shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. In reality, a $200 Armani tie will not function better than a $50 Donald Trump tie from Macy’s. I have had great luck in scoring some really nice ties from thrift stores for under $5!

Pocket Squares

Pocket squares aren’t for everyone, but maybe that is because not everyone is capable of pulling them off. Your pocket square should carry a color from either your shirt or tie, but not both. As with a neck tie, there are multiple ways to fold the fabric, including the Straight Fold, One Corner Fold, and Puff Fold, all of which are incredibly straightforward and can be demonstrated on Youtube. Again, cost hardly depicts the quality of a pocket square; go for one that is a stunning match to your suit, not one that boasts a designer label. If you really want to save money, you can even try making your own. This way, you get to select the fabric that best complements your suit shirt or tie.

Fountain Pen

My personal favorite accessory is one that can really set you apart from the crowd: a good fountain pen. Nearly every time I bust out my pen to sign a receipt or write a note, I get compliments and questions. It is a great conversation starter, especially as most people have never even seen a fountain pen! Like watches, fountain pens can be very pricey – some Mont Blanc fountain pens cost over $3,000, and fine heirloom quality pens are abundant around a price point of $500-1,000. Most pens in the $500 and up price range will have at least a 14K gold nib; that being said, an impressive-looking pen with a stainless steel nib, like the Cross brand at Office Depot, can be had for as low as $50 at most office supply stores. Though stainless steel nibs do not write as well as gold nibs, the stainless steel nib does write much better than an everyday roller ball or gel pen.

Take your look to a new level this year by adding some subtle accessories that will set you apart in the workforce and show a little bit more of your personality. Use these guidelines as a starting point as you develop your own tastes and preferences. If you have suggestions on where to get high quality pieces or if you know of lesser known brands, leave a comment!

  

Adidas unveils “BIG Logo” uniforms

If you’re looking for cool NBA-themed gifts for the holidays or some new gear for yourself, check out these new “BIG Logo” uniforms unveiled by adidas and the NBA that will be worn by all 10 teams playing on the Christmas Day games. The “BIG Logo” Holiday Collection incorporates short-sleeve jerseys featuring oversized team logos in a reflective chrome color scheme on the chest as well as holiday-inspired warm-up jackets and shooting shirts and are available for purchase NBAStore.com. I suspect plenty of NBA fans would love to get this as a gift and then see players wearing them on Christmas day so this looks like a great promotional idea.

Check out the slideshow above as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes and Iman Shumpert show off the new jerseys. Also, keep an eye out for the new TV spot below showcasing the new uniforms.

Here’s the NBA game schedule on ESPN and ABC channels:

12 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
2:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. – Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
8 p.m. – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. – L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors

  

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