On the Culture Front: A Gift Guide for the Atypical Father

Let’s face it the idea of a typical father is hard to pinpoint and becoming increasingly irrelevant. If you’re still struggling on what to get yours, here are awesome and wildly subjective ideas for gifts along with one for a belated mother’s day.

Loudmouth pants are marketed as golf pants, and they can surely be worn on the golf course, but these intensely colorful threads are also perfect for parties. Particularly, the kinds of trendy warehouse parties with secretive addresses and even more allusive dress codes. The Ribbon Candy with green, pink and yellow swirls conjures the hedonistic excess of the 70s while the Disco Balls pair looks like a traffic light that has been fed Quaaludes. Up close the patterns are even more vivid than on the website, but the tailored fit keeps it classy. Just don’t try to wear these to the office.

Nomad’s sleek iphone case doubles as a wallet and makes it easy to travel light. Made with high quality leather from Horween, it feels great and as it gets scratched up creates a rich worn texture. There are two slots for cards on the back, and if you put a metrocard in one of them you can actually squeeze a second card like an ID into that slot. Put a credit card in the other one, and it’s easy to go days without carrying a wallet. As I always have my phone on me, I’ve found that this nifty case has completely streamlined my leaving the house routine. The leather also feels great to hold making the case a luxurious addition to my phone rather than a bulky annoyance.

Scotch is probably one of the most typical dad gifts, but these two by Dewar’s are anything but typical. The 18 yr has a clean yet potent taste and an aroma that I can nose for hours. It’s a sipping scotch that has a mellow complexity. As understated as the 18 yr is, the Signature is bold and brash. Competing with Johnnie Walker Blue Label as a top tier blended scotch, it uses a 27 yr Aberfeldy as its base with touches of many others. The result is a dense and sometimes overwhelming flavor that grows with depth as it lingers in your mouth. Its greatest charms are found in the third and fourth sip.

For a simple Irish whiskey done right at a good price, it’s hard to beat Slane. It has a smooth yet compelling taste that blends well into cocktails, derived from a triple cask process which ages the whiskey in virgin, seasoned and then finally sherry casks.

You may not have heard of GlenDronach, but it’s one of the oldest highlands distilleries in Scotland. Their 18-year-old Allardice single malt is a master concoction of complex smoky flavors. It would pair great with a cigar or even take the place of one for dad’s that can’t smoke in the house. Unlike a cigar though, it doesn’t leave that ashtray taste in your mouth. This is refinement at its best: a true rival in the top shelf market to all the better-known giants.

Norwegian-based Heymat combines the style of a finely crafted rug with the function of a doormat. These heavy pile creations feel soft underfoot, making it easy to forget their true purpose. For the aesthetically conscious dad that doesn’t like dirt tracked into the house, this is a perfect gift. Hand Green is a funky bright geometric design that makes any entryway pop while striking a mellower note with an abstract home landscape that quietly welcomes guests.

It’s generally hard for me to get excited about glasses but LA-based Sempli elevates them to an art form. Their Monti-IPA glass is shaped like a smaller glass with a larger one glued on top. Sharp geometric lines form gorgeous curves. They are light to hold and feel like they were made specifically for the contours of the hand though I like just looking at them on the counter. Ditto for their Cuppa-Vino sits slightly on its side to better aerate your wine of choice. At first glance it looks like it might fall over, an illusion that’s perfect for a lively dinner party.

Ramblers Way elevates basics like casual shirts by crafting them from high quality wool that’s as smooth as it is thin. Their short and long sleeve shirts have just the right amount of a fitted sculpt making it possible to dress up or down. The biggest thing though is how they make your body feel: like it’s wrapped in silk. This comes from 100% rambouillet wool, similar to merino but with more bounce and refinement.

I travel a lot and have struggled to find a pair of shoes that are right for going to dinner and the theater and also suitable for the hiking trail. While in Kenya years back, I made the mistake of attempting the latter with loafers and ended up almost falling off a mountain. That’s why I was so excited when I received my pair of Ridgemont’s Outback II which does double duty at a sneaker that can be paired with a sport coat and a serious hiking boot that received high marks from Outside magazine. These are great for a dad that doesn’t want to sacrifice style for function and doesn’t want to travel with more than one pair of shoes.

For fathers that don’t subscribe to gender conventions or as a belated mother’s day gift, it’s hard to find a better bag that combines style with smart function than Emma by Jemma. At first glance, this elegant purse is eye-catching in deep navy. It closes with a gold colored clasp that needs to be pushed in and turned to open. This creates a level of security while having the added bonus of being a fun mechanism. It’s sturdy and built to last like the rest of the bag. Inside, there’s a pocket for a laptop and several other smaller pockets for easy organization. The one downside of the bag is its weight. Even empty, it still feels substantial. This is due to how well made it is. If you want a bag that can take a beating and look great doing it and don’t mind the added workout, this is it.

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