Today’s gift for "the guy who has everything" doesn’t recommend any single, specific gift but rather a "platform" for future gifts. If a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step, then the path to matching luggage starts with a small duffel.
While most men do bare-minimum accessorization (watch, belt, cell phone), 30% of men take the time to make sure their belt is in the same color family as their shoes, and only 3.5% of all men insist that their belt match their shoes match their briefcase*. I’ll be the first to say I’m not typical of most men, but I have, on more than one occasion left the house in frigid temperatures with no gloves because I was wearing brown shoes, but only have black gloves (ed. note: I had some, but left them in a NYC cab last winter).
There are a number of categories and brands that promise platform potential:
- Leather goods are a no-brainer place to start. Martin Dingman’s new Lexington Collection is a good example. Gifts include wallets, a portfolio, shaving kit, eyeglass case, pen case, and matching belts in a luxurious equestrian saddle leather in three colors. Mulholland Brothers has a number of lines (Boardroom, Deerskin, Alligator, M-Series) that promise similar results.
- Desk Accessories from a brand like El Casco. Just the price-point of their desk accessories make outfitting a desk in a single purchase as difficult as it used to be to buy a home. All the more reason to take it one piece at a time. Consider starting with one of their signature pieces like the Pencil Sharpener or Staplers, and then add your Tape Dispenser, Paper Clip Pot, Business Card Holder, and more.
- Cigar Accessories from a brand like Atoll. They make 18 different products in over a dozen different leathers. Maybe you start with a much-needed cigar cutter, then the lighter, a case, the flask, and then end it with the ultra-impractical-but-awesome-gift-idea known as the Desktop Lighter.
- And of course, there’s always matching luggage. A core, safe piece to start with might be a duffel bag, a carry-on trolley, or a professional case. From there, you can gift matching pieces like other complementary bags (if you do a rolling piece first, go wheel-less on #2 and vice-versa), a passport wallet.
The key to pulling off a platform gift is to make sure you will be able to get the matching pieces in the future. For many "fashion" brands, a new style or color may only be around for a season or a year and then it’s gone. Because most of the brands we carry feature timeless classics, the core pieces have already been around for a decade or more, and will likely be continued for decades to come. Start a platform for him today, and you’ll have gift ideas all set for Valentine’s Day, his birthday, anniversary, Father’s Day, Summer Solstice, and any other days of giving…
* There is no factual basis for these statistics, but they do sound about right, no? [see Truthiness]