Yes our gift guides are early this year. But by now you’ve probably heard the phrases “supply chain uncertainty” and “back ordered” more times than you had in all of your previous living years combined. So being early is the name of the game in 2021. Instead of doing a highly generalized, throw-everything-against-the-digital-wall gift guide, we’ll be breaking it up by category. Gifts for the guy who likes watches. Or the rugged type. Or the guy who suits up a lot. Etc. We’ll cover all those, and hopefully a few more over the next week or so.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves safely going to concerts again with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Sometimes you need an escape from all the noise. Be it hitting the (home) gym, catching up on a podcast/audiobook, or just needing a Hamilton soundtrack fix, Bluetooth-enabled buds won’t get tangled, and they leave you feeling free to get that well-earned break and come back fresh. Today’s models have charges that last longer than ever, and many come with cases that charge while you’re on the go, tethering you to a cable that much less. One of Dappered’s favorites are Jabra’s Active line of Earbuds. Those run $100 – $180 depending on the model. My personal daily use pair? That would be the very affordable but punchy Aukey EP-T10s, pictured above. A bit of advice: stay away from the plethora of <$20 Amazon cheapies. I’ve tried a bunch, and the sound fidelity is pretty lacking. You get what you pay for in this arena. Photo credit SCREEN POST at Unsplash.
Or an upgrade to his workout system of choice. Featured in last year’s 10 Things for a Great Home Workout post, among many other mentions. For good reason. Look, as dads, time is intentional. Where your focus goes, energy flows. Especially when trying to lose the “quaran-twenty.”
- Spier & Mackay Chunky Merino Wool Sweater – $198 shown above
- Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Shawl Collar Cardigan – $78
- The Tie Bar Slim Tipped Cardigan Sweater – $65
- Goodfellow & Co. Chunky Knit Sweater – $35
Heads up! Spier has restocked their immensely popular Merino Wool Chunky Shawl Collar Cardigans in some new colors (camel, light gray, charcoal, dark brown, etc.) Don’t expect them to last long. But overall, a house sweater can elevate not just your look, but your spirits. Having something nice to slide on that’s not a hoodie? It can be that “Mr. Rogers” transition piece that symbolizes going from work mode to Dad mode at the end of the day. Not a fan of the “chunky” sweater look? The Tie Bar has an excellent, oft-mentioned offering that’s slimmer and more lightweight. For the dad that doesn’t want anything “fancy”? Goodfellow’s new chunky cotton-blend sweaters could be a real winner at just $35.
I used to be much more of a gamer. I truly enjoy it. And before I bought this for myself, I just hadn’t found as many windows to get back to gaming since becoming a dad. It happens. But the Stadia solves every issue I had with that “time” factor. It’s cloud-based, so my games are ready to go when I turn on my controller, which instantly connects to my TV via the included Chromecast Ultra. I can also play on any computer (pictured above) or on my phone. I’ve been able to fit in dozens upon dozens of hours of gaming because of the take-it-anywhere-ness of Stadia. There are no files to download, no waiting for the console to update after leaving it dormant for a few months, no more does that precious hour window get whittled down to 20 minutes. With Stadia, I pick up the controller and I’m playing in less than a minute. Take that, impossible-to-find PS5!
THE formative touchstone of my childhood, this comes as a very personal recommendation. Having read through Calvin and Hobbes countless times as a youngster, it warms my heart to now see my older kids devouring these collections cover-to-cover, and then starting them right back over again. It brings me such joy when they throw a reference out of the blue, or play out a Spaceman Spiff adventure together. The writing and illustrations completely hold up for being over 25+ years old, too. Pricey (especially in the hard-to-find hardcover), but if dad’s a big fan of the comics, it’s an excellent sentimental journey, especially when they’re old enough to join in the fun.
My brother got me these for me and my son a few Christmases back, and while we do don them on purpose sometimes, it’s always fun to realize we picked out the same pair by pure chance. $10 is an easy win for that kind of unexpected joy. Available in a bunch of fun patterns. Mens’ pair is a standard 8-12, but the kids’ pair comes in the more vague S (age 18mo-3), M (age 4-8), L (age 9-12). Free ship and return.
An Upgrade to His Favorite Athleisurewear – $25+
The athleisure train miiiiight just be almost full at this point. What was a growing trend the last few years has become a full on explosion over the past two years, where retailers far and wide are tweaking their fits and styles to move from the (virtual) boardroom to the (virtual) breakroom to the (home) gym. As a big fan of stretch, I am fully behind this movement and what it means for my ability to be different things at different parts of the day. I can be finishing up an email session one minute, then clambering around the house as a horsey ride the next. Gotta be adaptable. Get him a nice upgrade to that one pair of sweats he loves but has seen better days. Amazon’s Peak Velocity brand and Target’s All In Motion are good places to start. Shown above are Target’s Goodfellow & Co. Pintuck Joggers. That sharp pintuck is quite the style statement for $25. In person look at them can be found in the 2021 Fall/Winter Goodfellow round up.
In season? Absolutely not. But if dad is the beachgoing type like me, it’ll be his pride and joy to set this bad boy up just right every summer. Instead of lugging a bulky, heavy beach tent and fighting the wind all day, the Neso tent is hyper lightweight with its stretchy construction, and works with the wind to give you and your fam plenty of roomy, shady retreat. I got to use one of these all summer, and I really loved it. Easy to set up and break down. The Grande is roomy for 4 at 9’x9′, but if you have a big crew (5+), you’ll want to spring for the Gigante (11’x11′) size. Because what’s more attractive than not being burnt to a crisp?
And one for the outdoorsy (or at least soccer-practice-y) dads. Having put these to use all summer as well, I am fully on team LIGHTWEIGHT ALL THE THINGS. Feather-light and comfortable, yet folds down to the size (and weight) of a bottle of wine. WHAT. Helinox did it first, but at $99, quite spendy. Plenty of brands have their own spin on it now, like Bespoke Post’s Wren ($75) and REI ($60). Mine are a 2-pack from Amazon, and even at the dirt cheap price of $24 a chair, have served me so well I picked up two more.
If 2020-2021 taught us anything, it’s that the house slipper you can wear outside is here to stay, in a big way. Huckberry even has an entire section dedicated to ’em. Sometimes a dad’s gotta go from standing at your desk to taking out the trash to running out for milk. A slipper-boot (it doesn’t look like “Sloot” or “Blipper” is going to stick like “Swazer“) can do all of these and keep your feet dry and sharp-looking.
I’m no stranger to campaigning for blue-light blocking glasses, but as we all use screens more and more often, help Dad protect his eyes. These specific ones from Pixel Eyewear were part of a now-sold-out Bespoke Post box, but the original $75 asking price is not outlandish. Full review here. Cheaper but not too cheap? Sunskis has some sharp-looking and affordable glasses as well. Heck, even Target is getting in on the action. Lastly, I will mention that my wife comments on my attractiveness much more often when I’m wearing these. Not even kidding.
Working from home for well over a year, and having recently transitioning back to the office full-time, my home/work balance is STILL straight out the window. It’s all one mush at times. But I’ve found that if I take the time to be intentional about starting my day off right, and taking breaks to take care of me, then I’ll have enough to pour out into the various avenues that require my attention and give it more fully. And on days when I have so much going on that I don’t have time to meditate? That’s my cue to meditate, because I need it then more than any other time.
I don’t know if I would have made the transition to being a father as smoothly as I did without my wife being by my side. But these books by Armin Brott were invaluable helps as well. They explore what YOU, as the dad and partner, are going through during each stage of the little one’s belly journey and entrance to the world. What you’re feeling. And how you can show up for your partner. Highly recommended.
A recent Bullet Journaling convert, getting my crazy mind down onto physical paper and organized has done wonders for taming my monkey mind. If you’re not intentional about it, you can get lost. Pen-and-paper has tangible benefits for your mind. Go all out with the pricey, but journaling standard Leuchtturm1917, or get one of the cheaper versions, like I did. Heck, use a spiral-bound Mead from the dollar store. Whatever helps you.
The MiiR Growler set is a personal favorite, and while I use mine for staying hydrated at work (yes, with water, guys), it’s perfectly suitable for coffee, beer, or even batched mixed cocktails like sangria. Stays surprisingly cold for 24 hours in my experience.
Dad more of an on-the-go guy, or a sit-by-the-fire guy? Try a capsule decanter set like this one from Aged and Ore, available through Bespoke Post. The two interlocking cups completely hide the decanter, making it spill-proof, self-contained, and lets you hold everything you need in one hand out to the fire pit (with one free to put aside wayward toys along the way).
And what better to fill it with, than..
A Nice Bottle of Whatever They’re Into
Always welcome, especially when you’ve been stuck at home for a while and are trying your best to recalibrate to the “new” new normal. If bourbons are his thing, perhaps one of Jason’s picks from the Bourbons for Homebound Holidays post would hit the spot?
Nobody in their right mind would really want to wear a tie with their name all over it (.. right?), but how about just their initial? And in a snazzy, unexpected pattern? The Tie Bar made these so cleanly that you can’t even tell it’s a letter until you get up close. Any dad would be proud to wear these. Final sale here, but over half the alphabet still available (we’re partial to “D” for “Dappered Dad”). Skinny and Modern widths. And 100% linen, you say? Yes please.
Maybe a personalized rocks glass is more up his alley? Etsy shop CuttingEdgeBoston can make customized, remarkably-realistic etched glassware from just a photo of him and his special little ones. Spendy at $44, but pretty nifty and incredibly one-of-a-kind.
Want more gift guides? Head here for the growing archive of our 2021 gift guides.