Tis the season to be bombarded by gift guides. But instead of doing a highly generalized, throw-everything-against-the-digital-wall mega post, we’ll be breaking it up by category and dropping multiple guides in the coming days. Gifts for the guy who likes watches. Or guy who loves to suit up. Or the guy who’s really into shoes. Etc. We’ll cover all those, and hopefully a few more over the next week or so.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a fully remote professional web developer who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Feeding His Favorite Hobby – $-$$$
It might be reading, gardening, grilling, mountain biking, any number of things. For me (the Ryan guy), it’s video games. You know the man, so give him something unexpected to add to his collection, or take his hobby to the next level with better gear. Some more specific ideas later on in this list, but this is a quiet reminder to still pursue what makes him (and you!) happy. Photo by Vincent Keiman on Unsplash.
An Upgrade to His Favorite Athleisurewear – $25+
- Target’s Goodfellow & Co. Pintuck Joggers – $17.50 ($25.00)
- Lululemon Down for It All Hooded Jacket – $228
- adidas Men’s Tiro Pants – $50
It doesn’t have to be expensive (which Lululemon stuff very much is). It can instead be a stylish upgrade to an old hoodie, pair of sweatpants, etc. Like Target’s Goodfellow Pintuck Joggers. Or a pair of adidas Tiros. As a Dad, I’m a big fan of clothes infused with stretch. It allows me 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.
Sometimes you need an escape from all the noise. Be it hitting the (home) gym, catching up on a podcast/audiobook/meditation, doing a WFH video call, 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 can handle a lot of what life throws at them. And you.
My personal daily use pair? That would be the
very EXTREMELY affordable but punchy $16 Anker Soundcore Life Notes, pictured above. A bit of advice: stay away from the MAJORITY of <$10-20 Amazon cheapies. I’ve tried a bunch, and the sound fidelity is usually pretty lacking. You get what you pay for in this arena. But these are a screaming value at post time.
Sticking with his ears… As a concertgoing dad who wants to keep his hearing, I had my doubts for not just their effectiveness at a real concert, but also being able to fully enjoy the music. Now I won’t go to one without them. I could hear every note crystal clear, without the ringing in my ears for days afterwards. Even if Dad isn’t an avid concertgoer like yours truly, earplugs like these can help him to soften the noise around him, while not looking ostentatious or ridiculous. Be it doing yardwork outside, or even just getting a few minutes for a catnap, it helps block the big noise so he can focus on the smaller ones. Can’t recommend these enough.
If the last few years have 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 his 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. Head here for a full review.
We recently re-discovered Pass The Pigs, a game my family used to play all the time. Seeing my kids get totally into it and yelling out, “LEANING JOWLER!!“ just gave me all the amazing, warm feelings. Might have to dig in the secondhand stores or electronic bays for some of these. But if you can find that one that brings back memories of gathering around the kitchen table for a game night, and then build new memories on top of that? Incredible. Speaking of childhood..
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.
TRX System – $125+ (price depends on the model)
Helping a style-focused Dad be his best every day goes farther than just cool clothes and shoes. Whether he’s a ripped Adonis or a proud Dad-Bod-God, a TRX will help him get his heart pumping, muscles working, and endorphins flowing. We are all better people after we’ve gotten some exercise in. TRX straps get featured a lot on Dappered. For good reason. Not cheap and far from necessary, but holy moly do they work. And when compared to the 8 zillion machines these simple straps replace (I mean, check out the wall poster), they’re a bargain. Great for legs, core, triceps, biceps, back, and more. The number of exercises you can do and do effectively with this simple tool is amazing. You can simply sling the included anchor over a door (which you then close,) but most will prefer the stability and security of anchors bolted into wall studs. Look, as dads, time is intentional. Where your focus goes, energy flows.
Speaking of being active… Part of being a Dappered Dad is by showing up in the little moments, and for letting things slide. If yours play ball in the house like mine, it can make you crazy.. until we found the OllyBall. It weighs less than an ounce, and thanks to the engineering magic inside, you can basically kick or throw it as hard as you like, while not risking your TV, lamps, or a broken window. Our favorite right now is the football version, which allows you to kick full-force field goal attempts in your living room. Play is so important, and these have given us a lot more freedom to not worry about anything but play.
- Spier & Mackay Chunky Merino Wool Sweater – $198 shown above, size medium on 5’10″/185
- Spier & Mackay Shawl Collar Cable Cardigan – $158
- Flint & Tinder Marled Chunky Sweater Jacket – $228
- J. Crew Heritage Shawl Collar Cotton Sweater – $148
- Goodfellow & Co. Knit Sweater – $35
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. For the dad that doesn’t want anything “fancy”? Goodfellow’s sweaters could be a real winner at just $35.
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.
Balance Meditation App Subscription (1-year trial = free!)
Working from home now full-time, my home/work balance was, for a while, straight out the window. It’s still 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. And what better price than free? Balance is my go-to app. I love the way it customizes my meditations based on previous meditations, and learns what I prefer and what areas I’m trying to focus on.
As a 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 a ridiculously cheap 24-pack and carry one in your back pocket at all times, like I do. Heck, use a spiral-bound Mead from the dollar store. Whatever helps you.
- Lego Orient Express – $299
- Uvini Building Blocks Camera 627 pieces – $23.00
- Lego New York Skyline – $59.95
- Stranger Things Locations Mini Architecture Skyline – $26.98
- Breaking Bad RV 746 pieces – $32.98
Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most.. and building something fun together, which will also look great on a shelf, can mean the world. If Dad loves mysteries, trains, or both, then the Orient Express would be a huge win. If photography is a passion, for example, this both scratches that itch, and provides a smart-looking finished product that’s display-worthy on his desk. If he loves to travel (or just loves watching travel shows on TV,) then something from Lego’s architecture landmark collection would be perfect. TV fan? Maybe this incredible Breaking Bad RV would be a hit, or this mini Stranger Things architecture skyline.
A Barware Upgrade – $ – $$$
- Aged & Ore Bottle Flight – $38
- MiiR Growler – $59.99
- Whiskey Peaks Mountain Decanter – $37 ($65)
- Whiskey Peaks Set of 4 Whiskey Glasses – $37 ($50) (The Rockies, Grand Tetons, Internationals, etc.)
The MiiR Growler continues to be 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 bottle flight like this one from Aged and Ore, so he can have a few of his favorites at the ready for a pass around the burninating pit. TSA-approved individual bottles, if he’s a traveler, and can even hold a few cigars, too.
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 Adam’s picks from his Father’s Day suggestions (Under $70, and Under $35) would be the ticket? Don’t forget the Rye either.
Listen. Being a Dad has its awkward moments. From misusing the slangs with all your yeet baes and yas queens, to navigating some of the finer points of showing up as your truest self, awkwardness plays a part in more of our actions than we think. Instead of letting it work against us (we’re the only ones who can make ourselves feel awkward), why not embrace it and remind our kids to not take themselves too seriously? The greatest gifts are the ones that keep on giving the whole year long. And embracing awkwardness works wonders for not just your confidence as a Dad, but models it for your kids.
Want more gift guides? Head here for the growing archive of our 2023 gift guides.