A well-filled trouser is a sign of prosperity, but what of a well-filled stocking? Though Christmas offers an enticing mélange of good spirits, plenty of good plonk, gorgeously rich vapours from the kitchen and mountains of gifts, it can often be the small things that make your Christmas truly wonderful. The small, unexcitingly wrapped, rather flat looking package can be everything you had no idea you wanted; a little trinket or bijou perhaps, something that sparkles merrily, a dash of luxurious fabric. Similarly, the Teutonic tradition of placing empty stockings on the fireplace, though a matter of form and custom nowadays, can offer the discerning gentleman of style a surprise such as an accessory du jour, wrapped unassumingly in what is essentially an old sock.
Stocking fillers are a wonderful idea for the modish man and, though the popularity of stockings has waned, there are plenty of gleaming objects of the required size. Here are some suggestions:
Some elegant cufflinks will always be a sure-fire hit, and keeping abreast of the gentleman’s collection will give you a good idea of what he needs, and also, what he likes. Some men will only buy humorous or contemporary designs for themselves; patriotic flags, hot and cold taps and the like, so this is a fabulous opportunity to buy them something rather more classic and less tongue in cheek. Similarly, men who adorn their cuffs in Deco glory and Victoriana may be offered something a little more current.
A high-quality necktie in a luxurious fabric makes a lovely stocking filler. Avoid choosing run-of-the-mill plains; everyone wears patternless ties these days, so try and introduce a little fun and flair.
An extravagance for our poor feet, cashmere socks are the last word in leg luxury. It’s a real treat to unwrap a pair, knowing the delicious comfort when we slip them onto our feet on an especially cold and brutal day. The legendary sock manufacturer Pantherella has a great range of cashmere socks. Alternative and bright colours like red and blue make them individual and are therefore more likely to be used sparingly, justly so, on very special occasions.
A man cannot do with loose cards and notes, and by no means should a man of taste and style go half-measure where currency retention is concerned. Launer’s of London have been making leathergoods for 60 years and the Queen is one apparently satisfied customer. Royal warrants, in the matter of everyday goods such as these, are rarely bestowed and therefore a Launer wallet makes a right royally elegant and classically stylish addition to the stocking.
Another sparkling gift, the tie-clip is once more a happy favourite for well dressed men. The dash of gleaming silver against woven silk makes an ordinary outfit quite extraordinary; tie jewellery really does accentuate the smart attire of the wearer. With such items, it is prudent to select quality rather than quantity. Therefore, choose a classic and sturdy design that will complement almost any colour of necktie and shirt. All pictured tie-clips are available from Amazon.com.
Razor from Trumper’s of Curzon Street
Trumper’s have been shaving the great and the good at their barber shop on Curzon Street, Mayfair since 1875. They’ve held warrants aplenty from approving monarchs and the barbers’ skill with a blade is renowned. However, unless you happen to live within easy reach of W1, there really is no joy. Having said that, you can shave off a piece of the Trumper’s action with a splendid safety razor. They use universally available Gillette blades and the handles are well-built, ergonomic and attractive.
ABC of Men’s Fashion by Hardy Amies
It’s a relief to see more and more information is being made available to the inquisitive style devotee. Magazines, blogs, television programmes; there’s a mass of information out there. Not all of it is reliable, some of it is misleading, and there’s an amount of it which is downright nonsense. Hardy Amies little jewel of a book however, is not nonsense. It’s quite brilliant; consistently useful and very entertaining. It’s not ‘light reading’ – this isn’t a coffee table volume to be picked up, laughed at and then forgotten. There’s some very serious and valuable advice from Amies, the Queen’s clothier himself, and it deserves some sober consideration.