The 2011 MidMal Gift Guide

I can't believe its already December. I've mentioned before that we cap Christmas pretty low around here, but if we were made of money here are some things I'd ask for as well as give.

For the boys:

I mentioned this once before, and I'm still in love with this topcoat from LBM1911. You might be familiar with Lubiam for their men's suiting. This is their less constructed line, but you still get super Italian tailoring and fabrication. From the Aficionado Shop at Haberdash in Chicago. Not cheap, and I'm betting totally worth it.
I tend to go for umbrellas that are small, black and cheap because I lose them. For those who can keep track of their stuff how about this: Blackwatch, lined in orange, with a maple handle and shaft and silver ferrule. A collaboration between London Undercover and Michael Williams of the blog A Continuous Lean. Available here.
This summer my company moved downtown, and gone was convenient parking just a 3 floor elevator ride away. No longer able to run to the car for anything I needed I began carrying a small man bag. SO NICE to not have pockets crammed with whatever I need for the day. This is the No. 95 shoulder satchel from Billykirk. I had a different bag from them that I ended up eBaying because it was too small for what I needed to carry, but I can attest to the quality. These things are well made, he (or you) will have it for years. Here.

This year my jewelry pick is supremely casual. This is the hook bracelet from Miansai. Available in lots of colors and quite a few designs, the simplicity of this one is my favorite. Stack it over a really nice watch.

I always have a bandana around for covering my head while I paint. This bleach dye-printed one by Grei, availble from Unionmade in San Francisco is fantastic. Like a scarf, only smaller. It comes crinkled and rolled. I'd tie it loose around my neck, almost like a necklace, under a casual button-front shirt.

Speaking of casual button-front shirts, here's a sweet blue plaid also available at Unionmade. Its the Shorthorn Shirt in indigo flannel check from Levi's Vintage Clothing. Not your regular Levi stuff, until recently LVC was hard to find in the US. I'm glad to see it's become more available here.

There is no piece of clothing I like more than jeans, and I know I'm not alone. Why not wear something not everyone else has. This is the Cutter jean from Denham the Jeanmaker in Amsterdam. Their washes are done by artisans in Italy and Japan. Available online obviously. Also, next time you have an afternoon to kill, hit the website and click on the Denham Garment Library. These guys are clothes geeks as well as collectors, and their obsession makes for hours of interesting reading.

Since I've very nearly put together a whole outfit, how about some boots to finish it off. I think most men like boots, and I like ankle boots especially. These distressed leather side-zips, the James boot from Frye, would be super easy to wear with almost anything. Check his size, I think Frye runs about a half size small. I know my Frye harness boots do. Again, there are sales everywhere, google for the best price.

For the house:

I know, Restoration Hardware is responsible for the linen-and-oak'ing of America and we're all kind of tired of it. Still, every so often they do a repro I really like. For example, the 1930's Twin Raven Urn. In resin, you could use it inside or out, if your out was a covered porch or patio. At 29 inches tall it'll make an impact alone, even more so as a pair. Also, Resto is in the process of shutting down stores, not for poor performance, but rather to relocate to historic buildings. I've got some thoughts and would love to hear yours, I'll do a separate post soon.

How great are these. Nine inch, supremely simple crystal candlesticks by Thomas O'Brien for Reed and Barton. Google that phrase for the best deal as they're fairly widely available but the price points are all over the map. I got outbid on a pair of these by a dealer I knew at an auction a while back. There were other things in that lot, and I hope he made money on those things because I picked these up out of his booth for about what I'd bid. They look terrific next to a nickel plated lamp on the black Chinese cabinet in our living room. I bet someone you buy for has a perfect spot too.
Here's something I never thought I'd recommend, its the Horse Group from Lladro. Yes, its porcelain. That black glaze changes everything. They've always made beautiful things, they've just never made things I'd want to give or own. Until now. I think this piece is really interesting, then again, I have a bit of a thing for horse statuary.
While we're talking about art and gift giving, do you check out New art, every week, reasonably priced. Look often. Below is Jenny Odell's 1376 Cylindrical Industrial Buildings. Google Earth is her art supply store.

Did you know Thayer Coggin is still producing Milo Baughman designs? They are, and wouldn't a pair of these be super for anyone who's a fan of his work. See the website to find a dealer in your area.

Raina previewed these blackened aluminum horse heads back when they were new at West Elm, and I still dig them. Sold individually, you should buy a pair and give them as bookends.

And then here's an odd thing that I can't quite get out of my head. Remember when phones had cords? And the one in the kitchen had a really long cord? Sometimes I kind of miss the feel of that old handset. These, from Yubz, plug into your cell, and the colors are way better than anything we ever got from Southwestern Bell. Here.

Books are always a great gift. If someone on your list likes vintage clothing you're set. The third in Rin Tanaka's King of Vintage series, it's a pictorial examination of vintage clothing dealer Larry McKaughan's vast collection of American clothing and accessories. Available from either Amazon or currently from JCrew.

And finally, I ended last year's gift guide with a little vintage luxury courtesy of a sweet 76 Eldorado convertible in Innsbruck Blue. This year I'm in the mood for vintage muscle. This 71 Dodge Challenger looks fast standing still in white with black striping and tinted glass. Similar models (and convertibles!) fully restored run about 90 grand on eBay and might be the perfect way to soak up some excess cash. It could wreck both your driving record and your relationship with your insurance agent but its still supremely cool.

Whatever you celebrate, all of us here at Chez Malaise hope your holiday finds you happy, healthy, and surrounded by those you love. That's ultimately the best gift of all.


kjm said...

I love that handset for a cell! I think I need one.

ChrisToronto said...

I love it ALL! But my God, the prices . . . imagine paying $258 for an umbrella?!@#

David said...

Yeah, I should call it the Fantasy Gift Guide =)

Russ Manley said...

OMG I want that handset, these damn little modern cell phones are so inconvenient, you can't tuck it between your chin and shoulder when you have to do something else while you're talking. Fantastic idea, thanks for the tip David.

A Super Dilettante said...

Thank you so much for all the suggestions!! I really could do with a good strong umbrella which would shelter me from wild and windy Scottish winter!! So far, I've broken 3 umbrellas in the last two months in the wind. I hope that the secret Santa is reading this :) A great blog by the way!!