10 Best Bets for $75 or Less – December 2012

Ten items worth your attention.

Seventy Five dollars.  That’s a lot of money.  It’ll get you a couple pairs of Levi’s, a nice dinner out, or a couple months at your local gym.  Seventy Five dollars.  It is a lot of money, especially if you spend it right.  Ten picks follow, all for $75 or under, and some of them are much, much less.
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1. J. Crew Slim Slub Mernio V-neck – $41.99 w/ WISHLIST ($89.50)

Code WISHLIST expires today, 12/17.

In J. Crew’s slimmer cut, merino wool knit in the slub style, and suede elbow patches.  Somehow has gotten a little lost in the shuffle of this current 30% off almost everything + free shipping no minimum w/ code WISHLIST sale.  Also available in crew neck form.

 

2. Kent Wang Chrysler Building Tie Clip – $55 | Brushed Tie Clip – $45.00

Subtle artistic flash, and subtle… matte.

Something for those who picked up that Urban Daddy Kent Wang deal.  Both are 1.75″ wide and made from sterling silver.  You can still buy the deal, but time runs out to do so this morning.  Know that the voucher expires 3/3/13.

 

3. Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve Ale – $5ish – $7ish?

Ho Ho Hell yes more please thanks skip the cookies Rudolph is the DD.

Well of course it’s red.  Double hopped with big flavor and a “hoppy spruce finish” that’s pretty recognizable.  If you prefer your winter beers to lean more spicey and a little sweet as opposed to earthy, might be worth a shot.

 

4. Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt – $60 – $70.00

The barrel hoping Scotch.

Meanwhile, on the warmer side…  No golf clubs involved.  The “Three Wood” moniker refers to the three types of wood this Scotch is exposed to during the maturation process: American Bourbon barrels (YEAH!), then Oloroso Sherry and Pedro Ximenez casks.  Dark but not too earthy.  Lots of fruit and spice.  Makes one hell of a Rob Roy.

 

5. Target Merona Tailored Ivy Pant – $20.99 ($27.99)

Better than the $20 price tag. And then some.

Target does dress pants?  Don’t laugh.  These are easily the best looking and feeling pair of office ready dress pants under $30.  All cotton that has a flannel-like sueded feel to it.  Not super thick, but not paper thin either.  Not going to satisfy those that like their pants super tapered.  More of a straight fit, but they still fit relatively close to the legs.  Size shown 32×32 (wasn’t a 32×30 on hand for comparison.)  Luxurious?  Not really, but extremely nice for the price.

 

6. Liberty Bottle Works Made in the USA Water Bottles – $19.00+

They make plain bottles too.

Are you the outdoors type?  A proud city dweller?  A time traveler who prefers deerstalkers and tweed?  $19 is a lot more than re-using that Dasani bottle, but these things are tough, good looking, and better for you and the earth.  Plus, these guys are hell bent on causing as little impact on the environment as possible (see their .pdf rundown here)  Bottles are BPA free, made of 100% recycled aluminum, and made in the US, and they even use American made machinery to manufacture the things.

 

7. For the Procrastonators: Amazon Prime Membership – free trial – $79.00 / year

Makes an enormous difference for some.

Prime is a complete lifesaver around this time of year for those who’ve procrastinated on Christmas shopping and can’t stand crowds.  It sounds like an up-sell the first time you hear it.  But for plenty (my hand is raised) Amazon Prime is a game changer.  For $79 a year you get upgraded to 2-day shipping on all purchases that Amazon fulfills.  One-day shipping is just four bucks.  You can also stream a ton of movies and TV shows for free.  If you have a kindle you get access to the lending library.  Full credit to Primer Magazine for breaking it down.  You can go for the free trial but if you don’t like it, you have to manually cancel or they’ll charge your card.  Full disclosure:  I tried it, cancelled… and two weeks later I paid the fee because I missed it.  A lot.

 

8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – $7.63

Crime Bosses, the Swiss Alps, and lots of booze.

Wait… you’re saying these were books first?  Kidding.  But there are plenty of James Bond fans who haven’t ever picked up one of Ian Fleming’s novels.  It’s winter now.  There might be some time on an airplane lurking in your future.  Her Majesty’s Secret Service is certainly near the top of many a list.

 

9. Fifth&Brannan Pocket Square Trio – $60.00 ($75)

Total splurge.

Here’s the well dressed elephant in the room (he’s obviously a luggage connoisseur, just look at that trunk. … ahem):
A pocket square, is nothing more than a piece of fabric.  Which means it’s 100% understandable that plenty wouldn’t pay more than a few bucks for one.  Yet high-end pocket squares seem to look, feel, and sit better.  Some cheap ones certainly do the job, but after getting this exact trio for supporting the Fifth&Brannan kickstarter project back when they launched, I couldn’t be happier.  There’s a real solid feel to these things.  Two shades of chambray and a a blue gingham that’s a must have pattern no matter what brand you go with.  Try the darker chambray w/ #2 here.
UPDATE:  The Trio is gone.  But there’s some chambray duo’s left.

 

10. jcp Cashmere V-Neck Sweater – $45.00 ($75)

Sizing down is key.  Small shown here.

Full credit to Dr.Bendji over here who pointed out the new dirt-cheap price on these.  A quick field trip to the local jcp and… yeah, these are awfully nice for $45.  BUT.  Size down.  Like their cotton cashmere sweaters and the all wool blazer, these run big.  But dropping to a size small on a 165-170 lb frame resulted in an ultra cheap, ultra soft (puppy, cloud of breasts, again credit to Dr.Bendji) sweater that you won’t feel awful about if you spill something on it. If it starts to get rough looking after the season?  Then switch it into your down-time rotation.  Pretty nice situation… having a cashmere sweater to wear when you’re feeling schlubby.  Note:  Selection has been decimated online. Check in store where you’ll probably have better luck.

 

BONUS:  1/2 this jacket: Club Monaco Blackwatch Snorkel Jacket – $139.30 ($389)

Use code GIFT30 for this price.

Well the price on this thing has dropped like a rock.  Sale items at CM are now an extra 30% off if you use the code GIFT30.  Sizes are down to Medium and Large at post time.  Half the jacket (King Solomon does not approve) is seventy bucks, so… it’s technically on the list .  But yes, the entire jacket is preferable.

For other best bets under $75 from previous months, click here.