Holidays

The 2016 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the 6th annual Rath & Co. holiday gift guide! This list is one of my favorite posts to create for you. And if your inbox over the past week has been anything like mine, it's filled with a frenzy of sales and offers, some better than others. It's a little overwhelming, even for me. There is so much stuff to weed through. And let's be real, much of what's being touted as good holiday gifts is uninspired and trite. Kind of like just going through the motions of giving someone a gift without putting much thought into it. What's the point of that?

What I've done with this year's gift guide is scouted for Rath-approved items that not everyone else will be getting -- interesting and unique gifts that show some thought was put into choosing them. The list is divided up into ideas for men and ideas for women and cover a range of budgets. The ideas for men may cover the guys on your list -- or maybe they're things you'll ask for yourself.

FOR HIM

Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Cause and Effect bracelet ($50) - This is for a guy who's somewhat advanced in the style dept. Man jewelry is not the easiest thing to pull off (post coming soon on that, I promise), but I love the raw feel of this painted copper cuff. It can be worn alone or in combination with a watch or other bracelets for a full-on arm party.

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Men's Image Consulting: Gift Ideas for Men

Nike + Undercover Court Force High-Top Sneakers ($150) - OK, so he's got a basic non-workout sneaker (hopefully). Now it's time to take it up a notch with something more stylish. This high-top from Nike is a great option for a guy who wants to step up his style but doesn't want to get involved in wacky colors or over-the-top patterns.

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Felisi jeans belt ($175) - If you or the guy on your list doesn't have a solid jeans belt (no, the reversible black to brown one does not count), it's time to remedy that. I like this one from Felisi because each buckle hole is embossed with numbers for a subtle twist on the classic. 

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Executive Image Consulting: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Wooly Mammoth Tusk Kershaw Knife ($270) - I can't think of many gifts more manly than a badass knife like this one. The handle is made from the tusks of wooly mammoths that lived around 15,000 years ago. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Kingsman + Deakin & Francis rose gold chevron money clip ($395) - Many of my clients use money clips, so I'm always on the lookout for extra cool and different ones. This rose gold chevron one is a great find -- totally unique and eye-catching.

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FOR HER

Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

D.L. & Co snake journal ($35) - There's something so luxurious about pulling a gorgeous journal out of your bag to write in, and this glitter snake journal does not disappoint. If snakes aren't her thing, D.L. & Co. has a number of other lovely options including feathers and butterflies. 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Eberjey pajama set ($102) - Nice pajamas are the kind of thing women rarely buy for themselves but make them feel totally pampered when slipping into them at night (I will admit though that I inspired myself with this post and picked up a couple pairs of these for myself). 

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

$495 Dana Rebecca earrings - Every woman needs a pair of signature everyday earrings -- ones she can wear to spin class and straight into the shower after -- without having to remember to remove them (who has time for that, really?). Jewelry is also an awesome gift because it's something she can wear but that you don't have to worry about sizing for. Bonus is she'll think of you whenever she looks in the mirror.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift Ideas

Miscere weekender bag with zip on/off appliqués ($650) - I discovered these Miscere weekender bags on Instagram a while back and became obsessed immediately. With interchangeable fabrics/patterns to choose from for the center panel, she can adjust the look seasonally or just according to her mood or outfit. Such a smart idea in this era of "bespoke" everything.

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Image Consulting for Executives: Men's Holiday Gift IdeasLana Jewelry necklace ($980) - If you want to roll a little bigger on the jewelry front than the earrings above, then have at this black mother of pearl and quartz necklace. It has tons of different colors in it and will therefore work with a lot of different outfits. It's unique, sexy, earthy and interesting -- lots going on in one piece!

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Here's to a hip and happy holiday season.Cheers,Julie

Last Minute Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Guest post by Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner(™) from Brilliant Event PlanningMen's Style Tips: Valentine's Day Date IdeasWe’ve all been there: you check the calendar on February 1 and make a mental note that Valentine’s Day is a mere two weeks away. But before you know it, it’s February 13, and you and your sweetheart still have no plans. All is not lost! There’s still time for you to create a romantic, brag-worthy day. As someone who plans marriage proposals professionally, I’m used to finding a way to create something special and romantic in a matter of days (or even hours!). Here's a breakdown of some fun, last minute date ideas (and corresponding gifts) to make this year’s Valentine’s Day one for the books.1. Charity Gala — A charity gala is the perfect excuse to get glammed up for a good cause. Give your partner the opportunity to dust off that little black dress and hit the town for a night of socializing. You’ll be partying for a greater good and it doesn’t get much better than that. Hit Eventbrite or your favorite charity’s website to find a gala near you. Extra credit: If you want to make it a fun night with friends (and you’re sure your partner won’t mind), buy a whole table and share the love!Corresponding Gift Idea: read the book A Path Appears by Kristof and WuDunn to get ideas for ways to surprise her by making a donation to a charity that she will feel connected to.2. Get Adventurous — Few things are more romantic than sharing a scary-exciting experience with your partner. Paragliding, skydiving, late night snow skiing/tubing or even a day on the roller coasters at your local amusement park will all get the adrenaline flowing. And, because these aren’t the typical “romantic” type of dates , you’ll be able to book it last minute. Extra credit: prepare an adventurous meal after your activity that pushes your limits like a tasting menu, dinner in the dark or, if you want something less formal, a spread at home of crazy foods that you’ve been afraid to try until now.Corresponding Gift Idea: Get a backpack and fill it with all the things she’ll need for the adventure on Valentine’s Day and for future adventures: a GoPro camera, hat, mittens, scarf for cold weather or a cute Lululemon outfit [Julie note: ladies **love** Lululemon!], hiking or snow boots and fun snacks like Clif Bars and Gatorade.3. Virtual Getaway — Does she talk dreamily about taking a trip to Paris? Bring France to your house with a virtual getaway: transform your home with twinkle lights and posters of Paris, pick up a classic French wine, baguette, some fantastic cheese and macarons for dessert. Throw some Edith Piaf on your playlist or download a French 101 podcast and learn how to say I love you in French. If Paris isn’t her thing, you can do a virtual getaway anywhere in the world, no reservations required. Extra credit: purchase a travel guide to your dream destination and spend the evening planning your perfect trip together. Seal the plans with a (French) kiss!Corresponding Gift Idea: The possibilities are endless! Travel hacks like passport covers or a new suitcase, classes to learn a new language together (and continue the romance for weeks to come), or even splurge on plane tickets to your dream destination for a future date! [Julie note: if you choose Paris, get her some French lingerie! Great brands I recommend are L'Agent by AP, Agent Provocateur, and Kiki de Montparnasse.]Men's Style Advice: Last Minute Valentine's Day Date IdeasSarah Pease, The Proposal Planner™ is recognized as the foremost expert on marriage proposals and is the pioneer of Marriage Proposal Planning. Based in New York City, Sarah and her team at Brilliant Event Planning and sister company Proposal Ideas have designed and produced dream engagements for countless lucky couples from across the world and are the go-to source for all things regarding "Will You Marry Me?" Sarah is available for press, speaking engagements and appearances as a subject-matter expert on marriage proposals and wedding planning.

10 Quick and Painless New Year's Style Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are so cliché, I almost can't stand writing about them. But the truth is, when a new year rolls around, it's nice to take stock and see what you could start doing differently. The usual suspects here are diet and exercise, and often such resolutions are overzealous and set us up or failure. So this year I'm here to help boost you up with some totally doable style-related resolutions that will require very little of your time.Read on for this year's top 10 style resolutions.Men's Style Advice: New Year's Resolutions1) Try one new thing with your wardrobe. It can be easy to find one thing that you're comfortable in and that feels easy to you. But it can also be really boring! Give 2015 a fighting chance and add some sort of new element to your look -- maybe it's starting to wear more color, or swapping out your logo'd/free event t-shirts for something nicer (here's my guide for how your t-shirt should fit).2) Don’t shop without a plan (or on an empty stomach). The last thing you want to do when shopping is make mistake purchases. And shopping without knowing what you're looking for -- or when you're hungry -- will put you on the fast track to a shopping fail.3) Donate anything with holes or stains that won’t come out.  This one really doesn't need explaining. I'll just say that when you wear torn-up, crappy clothes, the message you send is that you feel torn-up and crappy about yourself. This then becomes an unfortunate vicious cycle which causes you actually to start feeling that way. (Confirm with whatever charity you're donating to what condition they will take clothing in.)4) Take your oversized clothes to the tailor. This is an instant, low-cost (at least compared to buying new things) option for upgrading your wardrobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to know what's worth tailoring.5) Think before you stink (a.k.a. avoid strong aftershaves). This one was on last year’s list, but I had to include it again. I did a lot of traveling in 2014, and one of the biggest conclusions I drew is that there's an Old Spice epidemic in the US. Nearly every morning flight I took, I felt as if I might become asphyxiated by the scent of the man sitting next to me. Trust me, just because you can't smell it doesn't mean others can't either. Ask one or two lady friends with good taste to tell you honestly if any of the product smells you're wearing are offensive. And if the initials for any of said products are O.S., drop it like it's hot.Men's Style Tips: New Year's Style Resolutions6) Wear a watch. I get it, watches are no longer necessary since we all use our phones these days. But if you're not wearing a watch, you're missing out on an excellent opportunity to distinguish your look. Above is a serious arm party courtesy of one of my clients. You don't need to break the bank when adding a watch to your look, however. There are plenty of good choices under $200 (including this one for $185 from Miansai). Choose something that resonates with you personally and that you'd feel good wearing -- not what others would expect you to wear.7) Make sure you have one suit that fits you like armor. Chances are, sometime in 2015 there will be a wedding, funeral, or job interview you'll need to attend. And you'll need a great-fitting suit for those situations -- one you don't have to think twice about. Often such events spring up out of nowhere, so it's to your benefit to have a suit ready and waiting in your closet. And if you think you can get by with that old boxy one from ten years ago, think again. There are few things less flattering on a man than an ill-fitting suit, and there's definitely no way to disguise a poor fit.8) Buy flattering jeans. Most new clients I meet are in need of a jeans refresh. Even if you have a pair that was flattering when you bought them two years ago, chances are at this point they've stretched and faded, and it's time to replace them. If you've never had a pair of jeans you feel great in, it's time to add that to your wardrobe. Here's my guide for how to find flattering jeans.Men's Style Advice: Square-Toed Shoes9) Lose the square-toed shoes. These were cool in the 90's. But the 90's is not now. Do yourself a favor and get them out of your closet so you aren't tempted to wear them.10) Take your dress shoes to the shoe guy for a cleanup and to be resoled. This is another low-cost way to refresh things, and in fact a good cobbler can make your shoes look almost new. If you don't already have someone you use, look on Yelp or other user-review sites in your area for one with high ratings, or ask any well-dressed guys you encounter where they take theirs.How many of the tips on this list are you able to implement? I guarantee that even if you do just 3 of them, you'll be in great shape, and you'll feel that much better about yourself.Wishing you a very stylish 2015!Cheers,Julie

The 2014 Rath & Co. Holiday Gift Guide (gifts for you and her)

It's holiday go-time! Are you ready? If not, don't worry. I've compiled a list of gift ideas to help you make sure all bases are covered. Read on for 3 gifts you can ask for for yourself (and for the ladies reading this, they're for your man), 3 you can give to her, and 1 sexy gift for the both of you.

3 FOR YOU

Men's Personal Shopper: Holiday Gift IdeasS'well Water Bottle $30 - A client of mine recently embarked on a major fitness and weight loss project. As part of that, we upgraded his workout clothes and gear so he'd feel better about himself while he's working out. Since starting, he's lost 25 pounds of fat and gained 10 pounds of lean muscle. Proof positive that upgrading your exercise gear can only help you achieve your fitness goals. This sleek and sharp-looking matte grey BPA-free water bottle is a great gift for the fitness enthusiast -- or someone whose new year's goals involve fitness. The bottle will keep a beverage cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. And it has a vacuum seal that keeps drinks and carbonation fresh.Men's Personal Shopper: Holiday Gifts 2014 Striped Belt $117 - Do you, or does the object of your gift-giving, keep going back to the same wardrobe items over and over? If so, then it's time to diversify. A belt with some color/pattern to it like the one from Anderson's above is an excellent way to accomplish this. And the nice thing about it having multiple colors is that it's easy to coordinate. Since the leather is brown on this one, and it has a brown stripe, it should be worn with brown shoes (navy would also work for a more outside-the-box look). Post on how to incorporate cool non-basic belts into your look coming soon.Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift IdeasSilk Blend Scarf $150 - Scarves are always a great gift (most guys I meet are in need of one), and this navy polka dot/stripe combo from Paul Smith has just enough visual interest without being over-the-top.

3 FOR HER

Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift IdeasSet of Notebooks $14 - There's something uplifting about writing in a beautiful notebook, and the gold foil detail on these from from Rifle Paper gives it a rich, special feel that she'll love.Men's Image Consultant: Holiday Gift Ideas for MenMelissa Joy Manning Opal Earrings $210 - The hoop part of these delicate opal earrings goes around the back of the ear as an interesting departure from basic and boring studs. Your subtle message that she is anything but basic and boring to you.Men's Image Consultant: Christmas Gift ListBlack Saint Laurent Wallet $675 - A basic black wallet like this is an absolute fail-safe option. Clean, classic, sophisticated. You can't go wrong.

1 FOR YOU BOTH

Men's Personal Shopper: Christmas Gift Ideas for MenL'Agent by Agent Provocateur Lingerie - The uber-luxe Agent Provocateur (with price tags to match) has collaborated with Penelope and Monica Cruz on a more palatably-priced, but equally delicious lingerie collection. This line is also available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Shopbop and Net-A-Porter._______________________________________________What's on your holiday gift list? And what are you hoping to receive? Leave me a comment below -- I'd love to hear!Cheers,Julie

What to Wear to Your Office Holiday Party

Your office holiday party. One of the trickiest sartorial events you may encounter.You basically have 3 choices:1) Be the boring guy who makes no effort and simply wears the same kind of thing he wears to work every other day of the year.2) Be that guy who goes way overboard with a singing santa tie and matching socks.3) Put in just the right amount of effort where actually come off as being effortless with your style.No big shock, my choice for you would be #3. Here’s how to pull off an effortlessly cool holiday party look:1) Start with your everyday office attire, then take that up a notch. So if everyday is:

  • jeans and t-shirt --> wear chinos and a nicer t-shirt, henley or polo (in this case your office is super casual, so make sure that wherever your party is taking place is not fancy; if it is, opt for one of the options below based on whatever you can find out about the venue. If you're at all unsure, it's always better to be overdressed for something work-related like this.)
  • chinos and a button-up shirt --> wear dress pants or chinos and a button-up, and add a sportcoat or nice cardigan/v-neck sweater
  • dress pants and a button-up shirt --> wear dress pants and a button-up, and add a sportcoat
  • dress pants and a sportcoat --> wear a suit open-collar
  • a suit and tie --> wear your sharpest, best-fitting suit and a tie that meets one of the criterion below

2) Add 1-2 tasteful, festive touches in the form of a bright color, luxe/wintery fabric, slight sheen or extra panache from the following list:

Men's Style: What to Wear to Office Holiday Partysocks

What to Wear to Your Office Christmas Party: Tietie (or bowtie, if that's how you roll)

What to Wear to Your Office Christmas Party: Pocket Squarepocket square

Men's Style Tips: Office Christmas Partydress shirt (if you’re wearing one)

Men's Style Advice: Office Holiday Partycuff links

Men's Personal Shopper: Office Christmas Partytie bar

 What are you wearing to your office holiday party this year? Let me know in the comments below!Cheers,Julie

Stay Handsome with these Head-Turning Halloween Costumes

They say you can tell if a woman is single or attached based on how sexy her Halloween costume is. It's a different case for men though -- most guys' Halloween costumes are super dorky and do little in service of sex appeal.(I'm talking to you, guy-in-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter costume who tried chatting me up last year.)But I say why not even the playing field? There's no need to subject yourself to such ridiculousness, and you can in fact look kinda dashing on Halloween, especially if you take it as an opportunity to show off well-fitting wardrobe items. Trust me, the ladies would much rather see a guy in a suit that fits like a glove than some plastic-y costume you picked up at a Halloween superstore or a DIY-job covered in marker scrawl.With that in mind, here are three Halloween ideas that will have you standing out from the sea of unattractive and unflattering costumes most guys are wearing.Men's Style Tips: Stylish Halloween Costumes1) American Psycho - Take one pinstripe suit, mix in one contrast collar shirt, a pair of braces + a red "power tie," add a clear plastic raincoat, and what do you have? Serial killer and Manhattan businessman Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho." Then all you have to do is slick back your hair and walk around humming Huey Lewis tunes (fake axe optional), and you'll be in business. Men's Style Tips: Stylish Halloween Costumes2) James Dean - Feel like a boss on those tight jeans? Get after it and channel your inner James Dean. Other than the jeans, the main things you'll need are a slim-fitting t-shirt (here's my primer on how this should fit) and a dark well-fitting bomber jacket or black leather jacket (here's an oldie-but-goodie that explains how to find the latter). Final touches: unzip that jacket just enough to look mysterious, and of course you'll also want to do your 'do.This one's not exactly family-friendly, so use your discretion if kids are around.Men's Style Tips: Stylish Halloween Costumes3) Chippendale - If your tuxedo fits you well, it's actually one of the most flattering things a guy can wear. Why not bust it out (or at least parts of it) in a tongue-in-cheek way and dress like a Chippendale à la Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze above. Wear the pants, the bowtie, and grab yourself a collar and cuffs set.Men's Style Tips: Stylish Halloween CostumesWhat are you wearing this Halloween? Leave me a comment below or post a picture on my Facebook page.Cheers,Julie

Rath & Co. 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Men's Holiday Gift IdeasLooking for the perfect gift for your main squeeze? Stumped on what to request for yourself? From stocking stuffers to splurges, these 8 gifts have you covered.Holiday Gifts for Men1) Grid-It Organizer - Keep your gear in line with this organizer. Great for at-home storage or travel. ($14)

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Men's Holiday Gift Ideas2) Hook + Albert Fair Isle Socks - Hook + Albert makes stellar quality socks, and fair isle is a fitting pattern for holiday gifting. ($30)

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Holiday Gifts for Men3) Bolin Webb Razor - Form meets function in this deliciously sleek Bolin Webb razor, featuring a MACH3 blade. ($80)

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Men's Holiday Gift Ideas4) JVDF Lizard Toggle Bracelet - Lizard skin, sterling silver and silk create a cool and visually interesting combo. ($295)

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Men's Holiday Gift Ideas5) Want Les Essentiels De La Vie Leather Gloves - The weather in NYC has been frightfully cold, and I've gotten more than a few "gloves needed stat" emails from clients and clients' wives looking for gifts. I like the zipper and contrasting suede thumb on these. ($206)

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Men's Holiday Gift Ideas6) Mont Blanc Mother of Pearl Cufflinks - The range of colors in these cufflinks make them simple to match, and the swivel bar back allows for easy placement on your shirt cuffs. ($415)

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Men's Holiday Gift Ideas7) Paul Smith Hooded Jacket - You can't beat a fitted hoodie for sharp layering. In fact, it's one of my layering essentials. ($530)

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Men8) Lotuff Leather Duffle - Stand out from the crowd with this sumptuous navy leather duffle from Lotuff. Perfect size for an overnight or a day at work followed by a trip to the gym. ($965)

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What's on your wish list this holiday season? Warm wishes and hip gifts,Julie 

Five Genius Valentine's Day Date Ideas

Today's article is courtesy of the queen of romantic planning, Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner (TM). Whether she's taking over the flight deck of the Intrepid for an epic proposal, or organizing the perfect picnic in Central Park, Sarah knows what's what when it comes to making romance happen.Valentines-Date-IdeaFor some, Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year filled with love, red roses and candlelit dinners.  For others, it's a commercialized, manufactured holiday rife with cheesy teddy bears, silk boxer shorts and exorbitantly priced prix fixe menus.  Regardless of your opinion, it's a great excuse for organizing a fun date with your loved one (even if it's just your most-loved friend!).  Here are five of my favorite ideas for Valentine's Day:1) For the Wallet-Conscious: Create your own wine tasting.  With a little research done online or with your local wine shop, select 2 reds and 2 whites and pair them with cheeses or chocolates.  Using a scarf from your closet, conduct an official blind tasting by candlelight.  Not only will you expand your knowledge of wines, but you'll also enjoy the flirty part of blindfolding each other!  Budget not an issue?  Hire a sommelier to do a private tasting!2) Starry Night: Research the hours at your local planetarium or night-sky observatory and arrange to have a private tour.  Whether you're strapped into an IMAX seat watching the latest space-themed movie, or gazing at real stars in other galaxies, you'll be in a romantic mood under all those stars.3) Love is all Around: Plan an entire evening around love. Meet your sweetheart at the Museum of Sex near the Flatiron Building - who says a museum can't be fun? Once you've explored all the newest exhibits, head to your favorite cocktail bar to sip on the cocktails she loves.  From there, treat her to her guilty-pleasure food - is it cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster?  Coconut Invasion cake from Asia de Cuba?  Tonight is the night to indulge.  End the evening by sharing three reasons why you love each other.4) Futuristic Love:  Want to know what the universe has in store for you?  Do a psychic reading together!  Make an appointment or stop in to see what the crystal ball or tarot cards say.  If you really want to tempt fate, try a few different fortune tellers to see if their predictions overlap.5) Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate:  Strap on your skates and join the crowds for a lively spin around the ice rink.  If you're in New York, you can blend in with the tourists in Central Park, Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park, or discover some of the smaller rinks around the city.  Reward all of your activity with a cab ride to City Bakery and test out the "drinkable chocolate" of the day. Got a sweet tooth? Plan to come back every other day for the rest of their Hot Chocolate Festival which runs the entire month of February. That way you can try a new flavor every night.Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her fantastic ideas. For more info on Sarah, check out her website. sarah-pease-the-proposal-plannerAnd now that you've got the best date ever planned, read here for what to wear.

Need a Last Minute Christmas Gift?

Men's Style: Tie and Pocket Square CombinationThere are officially 3 shopping days left before Christmas, including today. If you still need a gift idea, get him a tie and pocket square combination. He'll appreciate knowing up front that they work together, which will make his life easier when choosing his outfit in the morning. Here are five combos I put together for a client's wife at Bergdorf Goodman to get you started.

Get this Party Started: What to Wear for Black Tie Optional and Creative Black Tie

Men's Style: Black TieThere are few things more devastatingly dashing than a man in a beautifully-fitted tuxedo. If you’ve received an invitation for an event calling for “Black Tie Optional” attire, your best option is – you guessed it – Black Tie. Why not take the opportunity to bring out the big guns? I promise, womens' heads will turn, and the other guys not in tuxes will wish they had opted otherwise. Check out this shot above from a recent photo shoot for my new website (coming soon!). Pretty good, right?Relatedly, designers have been showing formalwear looks deconstructed with individual items worn as separates (as seen in my Fall style report). This gives you even more reason to invest in a tux as well as some fun and interesting formalwear elements, which will come in handy when you’re faced with a Creative or Festive Black Tie dress code. Below are my top 5 picks for pieces that will help you mix up your evening gear.Men's Style: Acne Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket1) Acne Velvet Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket -- Acne made a splash with their fall lineup of swanky eveningwear separates. This jacket speaks for itself, so keep the rest of the look simple and classic. Men's Style: Acne Jacquard Print Pants2) Acne Jacquard Print Pants - These print pants are next-level style at its best. The trim cut calls for a similarly tailored jacket. Men's Style: Michael Bastian Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket3) Michael Bastian Dinner Jacket - For evening wear with a festive twist, I am very much into this tartan shawl collar dinner jacket. The beauty of this piece is that you can wear it formally as shown above with ivory dress pants, but you can also dress it down with a bowtie, denim dress shirt, boots and cords, as seen in this excellent WSJ article on the topic.Alexander McQueen Black and Gold Stripe-Skull Bowtie4) Alexander McQueen Black and Gold Stripe-Skull Bowtie - Bring out your inner rebel with this McQueen bowtie. Let it pop against a crisp white shirt, or give it a moodier edge by pairing it with a black or dark grey shirt. Boss Black Mini Houndstooth Contrast-Collar Shirt5) Boss Black Contrast-Collar Shirt - Sport this mini-houndstooth shirt with a straight black tie and a shawl collar dinner jacket (bonus points for a lapel with contrasting color).Even if you don’t have a formal event on the horizon, consider planning ahead with some swanky evening style that will make things easy when that time comes, which it inevitably will. For my full discussion on how to choose a tuxedo, click here.How do you like to amp up your evening wear? 

Reader Question: Thick Classic Sweaters

 Men's Holiday Gift: Cardigan SweaterQuestion:Hi Julie,Happy holiday season! I hope Black Friday/Cyber Monday treated you well. I'm hoping you might be able to help me out with your amazing knowledge of the menswear market. I bought my husband Stephen a sweater at Mulberry (see photo attached) about 5 years ago (or maybe 6? or 7?) and he has loved the thing to death. It definitely needs to be replaced but I haven't found anything else like it (Mulberry doesn't do men's anymore). It's really really thick and has a high-ish collar and he raves about how warm it is. Do you know where I could find one like it? Are there any men's luxury brands known for doing really thick classic sweaters? Thank you for any guidance you can offer!-JennyMen's Holiday Gift: Cardigan SweaterAnswer:Hi Jenny,Thanks for your email and flattering words! It's funny, I just got a client a similar sweater (in navy) at Barney's today -- from Shipley & Halmos. They do really nice heavy knits that look great on. Also, check out this sweater from Billy Reid, and this one from Ami Alexandre Mattiussi. Let me know how it goes!Cheers,Julie 

The Rath & Co. 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Socks, swords, and a sled built for speedfreaks...What more could you ask for this holiday season? Read on for 15 Rath-approved holiday gifts.

STOCKING

Men's Style: Wool Suiting Square

1) Make a quick getaway from your style rut with this wool suiting pocket square ($10). Wear it with a navy blazer or suit, a light pastel shirt and a dark wool tie.

 Men's Style: Russian Coat of Arms Flask

2) For the drink that's always with you, a stately flask with the Russian coat of arms ($25).

 Men's Style: Etro Herringbone Socks

3) Socks are a holiday gift list mainstay, and these Etro Herringbone socks won't disappoint ($39).

 

SNAG

Men's Style: Wool Hat

4) This cozy wool hat ($88) comes in charcoal, navy and cream, so there's something flattering for everyone.

 Men's Style: Oliver Spencer Two-Tone Belt

5) I always like to look for belts that are a bit "different" to help my clients define their style, and this two-tone leather belt ($180) is an excellent find with its unexpected blue buckle.

 Men's Style: Jack Spade Dress Scarf

6) Silk scarves are dressier in feel than their wool or cashmere cousins, but they do work casually. Try one like this Jack Spade dress scarf ($185) draped simply around your neck when a tie is too much and an open collar just isn't cutting it.

 Men's Style: Pierrepont Hicks Tie Case

7) The frequent traveler's defense against wrinkly neckwear: a tie case ($185), this one from Pierrepont Hicks.

 Men's Style: Champagne Saber

8) Nothing says holiday cheer like swordplay. Make like Napoleon, and open your next bottle of champagne with a Champagne Saber ($189). (Yes, you really can open a champagne bottle with a sword; click for a video play-by-play.)

 

Men's Style: Etro Paisley Scarf

9) Manly yet romantic, this Etro paisley scarf ($245) can take an outfit from zero to sixty with one swift loop around the neck.

 

Men's Style: Burberry Touch Screen Leather Gloves

10) For the guy who can't afford to be unplugged, try Burberry's touch screen leather gloves ($325). 

SPLURGE

Men's Style: Folding Beach Chairs and Table

11) Form and function come together elegantly with this collapsible beach table and chair set ($495) which folds down to the size of a tote bag.

 

Men's Style: Loro Piana Suede Belt

12) Sophisticated and sumptuous, this Loro Piana suede belt ($500) works with everything from jeans to a suit. And you don't need suede shoes to rock this -- it works just fine with brown leather in a similar shade.

 Men's Style: Thom Browne Briefcase

13) Nothing beats a smooth black briefcase for making a smart and stylish impression. This one from Thom Browne  ($1850) is a handsome option.

Men's Style: Smythson Rotary Watch Case

14) For the watch connoisseur, this solid leather rotary watch case ($3720) from Smythson has two Swiss-made rotators to keep his timepieces in top-notch condition.

 Men's Style: Stealth-X Sled

15) The Snolo High Performance Alpine Sled (price upon request) can hit speeds of over 40 mph on average gradient slopes, and, on top of that, it can be folded into a backpack by collapsing one locking nut. Perfect for the speed demon with space issues.

What's on your wish list this holiday season?

Reader Question: Stylish Leather Porfolio

Question: I need advice! Looking for a father's day gift for a CEO that can be used daily! I want to buy a nice, stylish leather portfolio that can also accommodate an iPad. Preferably not a cache with a handle but more of a "man-clutch" for lack of a better word. -- LindsayAnswer: Hey Lindsay, what a nice gift idea! So for your mutch (sounds more manly than "man-clutch"), you want something durable since he'll be carrying it everyday, and it needs to be strong enough to hold the iPad. Check out Coach's Crosby Leather Portfolio ($298). It's the perfect size for an iPad + some other stuff, feels v professional, and won't scratch because of the pebbled leather. It comes in black or brown here, and a cool striped version here (see below left and right).Men's Style: Leather PortfolioHappy Father's Day to your man, and let me know how you do!-Julie

Your Valentine's Day Survival Guide

What is said to be the most romantic day of the year is coming up, so on that note, below are my top five tips on how to get this Valentine's Day thing right this year!

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1) Get her flowers. Yes, it may feel trite, and she may have even told you not to do so, but trust me, she wants them. Pass on the carnations and go with a bouquet of roses -- white or purple are a nice change from the standard red.

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Men's Valentine's Day accessories2) Accessorize yourself. Valentine’s Day is a fantastic time to inject your everyday look a shot of romance. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about anything strange or tacky (tuxedo’d monkey holding flowers: I’m looking at you), but rather selecting an accessory or two that shows your date you put a little extra thought into your outfit. If normally wear solid socks, this might be your day to bust through the Gold Toe barrier. Try these jammies from Paul Smith ($33). Remember, just a peek of the pattern will be showing (er, depending on how the evening goes). The dyed copper tie bar ($15) above Pauis another great option that gives a lot of style bang for minimal buck.

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Valentine's Day gifts for women3) Bear gifts. She said she doesn't want a present? Of course she wants a present (see point #1). You can do no wrong with lingerie from Kiki De Montparnasse. Another tried and true gift is jewelry. But think outside the Tiffany box on this one; it'll show her you put some effort into finding something unique and special for her. I am a big fan of Borgioni's triple diamond slice necklace for its unconventional take on diamonds by the yard.

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Handmade Valentine's Day Card4) Step away from the Hallmark aisle. Hand crafted greeting cards are luxurious (c'mon, it's an $8 card) but not that luxurious (c'mon, it's only $8). The few additional dollars you'll spend on the card above from Kate's Paperie will go a long way.

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Valentine's Day cocktail5) Quaff romantically. Staying in for the evening? Whip up a signature Valentine's cocktail. The Riviera is about as red as you can get due to its use of blood orange juice and Dubonnet rouge.Wishing you all a happy and stylish Valentine's Day...Cheers,Julie

2011 Holiday Gift Guide

December is here, and you know what that means: 'tis the season for presents up the ying yang! Below is my top-ten list for holiday gifting. I hope you're able to find something on here for whoever is on your list (including yourself), and if you'd like shopping help tailored specifically to you, please contact me.Lanvin men's cufflinks1.// Lanvin rhodium cufflinks ($335) - Manly in an edgy yet subtle way, these cufflinks will match just about anything in your closet.2.// Microphone speaker ($24) - This quirky little speaker from MollaSpace comes in gold or silver tone. Perfect for the guy who likes a little extra attention.Men's wool hats3.// Wool hats - It takes a certain who-gives-a-damn attitude to wear a pom-pom hat. I like this one from Gant by Michael Bastian (above left; $85) because it has an old school feel, like something a Royal Tenenbaums character would wear. For a less statement-y but still stylish option, try the Christopher Kane hat (above right; $375). The houndstooth pattern is a nice upgrade from the standard solid skully.Men's Astrakhan hat4.// Astrakan ambassador hat ($385) - If the giftee in question is more traditional and appreciates old-world style, I would recommend this luxurious Astrakhan hat from the A Suitable Wardrobe store. It's great for travel because it packs flat.Viktor & Rolf Patchwork Hat5.// Viktor & Rolf patchwork scarf ($388) - A scarf is an easy holiday gift because you don't have to worry about fit. I'm a big fan of this patchwork number from Viktor and Rolf. All of the different patterns and textures give it a rich and interesting feel.Hugo men's pocket square6.// Hugo pocket square ($8) - There's no need to sacrifice style if your gift budget is modest. Snap up this gingham flannel pocket square from The Tie Bar. Its blue and black color combo is sharp in an unexpected way.David Family Wines 2007 Pinot Noir7.// David Family Wines 2007 Pinot Noir ($62) - Act fast: David Family Wines is about to end sales on their 2007 Pinot Noir, at which point it will go back into the cellar for additional aging (to be re-released in 2 years for $85/bottle). This gift is perfect for the discerning wine-lover: not only is it unbelievably delicious stuff, it also features a smart-looking leather label.Manhattan tools8.// Up Your Manhattan Game - In other booze news, after giving us the right ingredients for a solid Manhattan in last year's gift guide, this year whiskey enthusiast Josh Wortman shows us what tools to get. He recommends a Japanese glass mixing cup ($53), a bar spoon ($18), and a julep strainer ($11). Josh also likes these very small batch bitters ($18) made by soon-to-open Dutch's Spirits Distillery in upstate New York. And if you need recipes, grab PDT's new cocktail book ($16).Miansi tie bar9.// Miansai tie bar ($66) - Adding a tie bar is an easy way to take your steez to the next level. Don't be afraid of the pattern on this one from Miansai. It would work well paired with a solid grey wool or cashmere tie and the blue and black pocket square in #6 above.Tenue de Nimes x Travelteq men's laptop bag10.// Travelteq X Tenue de Nîmes laptop bag (€395) - Time is of the essence if you're into this handsome limited edition Tenue bag: only 50 pieces were made. The mashup of two traditional materials - Florentine Vacchetta leather and Japanese selvage chambray - gives it a classic-meets-modern style.There you have Rath & Co.'s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide! Hopefully there is something on here that nails it for you/your guy, or at the very least it inspires you to come up with your own thoughtful surprises. Happy gifting!

Valentine-Worthy Date Looks

A lot will dictate how well you pull off your Valentine's date look. Success depends on aligning your selection with what you'll be doing, where and with whom. That said, here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to create your own looks for whatever your Valentine's Day plans hold. Keep in mind that the best choice for you is determined by your coloring, body type and personality, so these are meant to be broad suggestions.Casual dinner at your neighborhood joint...Navy blazer + thin grey cardigan (skip the top and bottom buttons) + white v-neck t-shirt + colorful pocket square + dark straight leg jeans + laceup bootsI love the addition of a thin cashmere cardigan beneath a blazer. It adds both warmth and visual interest. The colorful pocket square shows her that despite your decidedly casual look, you recognize the day’s significance.

Casual Dinner

Fancy night out...Navy suit + lavender dress shirt + grey pocket square + brown cap-toesThis year Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which means most likely you're meeting her straight from work. This is the perfect excuse to wear one of your most versatile pieces: the navy suit. Pair it with a lavender shirt (points for thinking outside the white and blue shirt box), and as you leave the office lose the tie and unbutton your top two shirt buttons. 

Fancy Night Out Final

Somewhere in between...White jeans + grey blazer + black and white plaid dress shirt + penny loafersContrary to what you might have been told, white jeans can (and should) be worn year-round. They’re a refreshing and sharp-looking surprise in the dead of winter, and they look terrific with black and grey. Try them without a belt for a leaner look.

Somewhere in between

And all looks are, of course, + flowers.

Men's Holiday Gift Guide

Few things make me happier than inspired and successful holiday gift shopping. Below are ten holiday presents to consider for your husband, boyfriend, dad, brother...or to pass along to well-meaning gift-givers with a nasty Christmas sweater habit.

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1.// Travel Ashtray: Your guy fancies himself a modern-day Don Draper? It doesn't get any more Mad Men than Phillipi's Black Habana travel ashtray ($88). Its black leather case, magnetic closure and stainless steel details all make me want to go pick up a bad habit.

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2.// Man-Bags: Gorgeous textured leather, intricate stitch detailing, and off-center zipper...this specimen, above left, from Doucal's ($278) is the man-bag to end all man-bags. But lucky for obsessives like me, there will never be an end to man-bags. So if you are looking for something a little more undone, then check this on the right from Will Leather Goods ($289). I like the distressed leather, grommets, contrast handles and of course the buckle closure at the bottom (see here). Very vintage army feel.

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3.// Manhattan Kit: Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey ($25-150), Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth ($25-35), Griottines brandied cherries ($25), Angostura Bitters ($13), and a tray that makes large ice cubes ($10). Side note: some people fear they "might look like a pansy" if they throw an ice cube in their whiskey glass. But Whiskey Expert Josh Wortman says it's perfectly ok to use the ice cube trays above (and in fact as the ice melts, some liquid can open up the flavor -- so it tastes better). Says Josh, "I use these trays all the time at home. The idea is you get good coldness with minimal dilution. You do want some dilution depending on the spirit." So let your man enjoy his Manhattan with minimal watering-down and minimal pansiness with this all-encompassing kit.

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4.// Shot Glasses: Ok, so I'm very a bit partial to bulls. In keeping with the cocktail theme of the previous entry is this bull's head shot glass ($28). It's perfectly calibrated so it balances right-side-up on its horns and nose. So your guy can attend to Important Things sans worry over spillage. (The shot glass also comes in bear, deer, moose, rabbit, ram, rhino.)

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5.// Wool Coat: If your man still wears a fleece jacket or ski parka over his dress clothes, the jig is up. Every guy needs a coat that is both warm and grown-up looking. A great option is this wool driving coat from Rag & Bone ($795) because the style is classy, the length is modern, and the interesting details like double-welt pockets and black shawl collar give it a little extra steez. Buy it in the same size as his suit jackets (those that fit well!).

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6.// Lace-Up Boots: My men's boot obsession is no secret, and this season designers have failed to disappoint with all sorts of options for this style. If your guy is into intricate detailing and statement-making, then I'd recommend these from Roberto Cavalli (top row left, reg. $1150, now on sale for $690). The high shine, dramatic broguing, lug soles and buckle detail are all attention grabbers. A toned down option in the same color and with the same degree of shine are those above from Gucci (top row right, $795). If he prefers to fly even further below the radar, then check out those in the bottom row from Giorgio Armani. The matte finish leather is a much subtler statement. (Pant-tucking not required.)

.7.// Glen Plaid Tie: Christmas ties get a bad rap. Take a pass on those that blink, sing or come with their own greenery, and give him something a little classier. This red and green glen plaid tie ($88) from Engineered Garments will give him that holiday flavor without the nasty aftertaste.

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8.// Man Jewelry: The problem with how many guys wear jewelry is that they take it to extremes (see Seasons 1 and 2 of Jersey Shore). For anything beyond the typical wedding ring/watch/cuff-links/tie clip, there's an art to wearing men's jewelry well. Two key points to keep in mind that will keep him clear of getting all Mr. T on you: keep it simple and not too sparkly and make sure he feels like himself in it, like he's been wearing it for years. With that in mind, here are two options to consider. Nautical is always a big theme in menswear, and along those lines I like this Hooked bracelet from Miansai ($55, above left, comes in other colors). Pair it with a nautical watch and maybe a simple rope bracelet, and you've created a look that's both easygoing and personal to him. If that's too sporty, then consider this necklace from Maison Martin Margiela ($125). It's solid and ruggedly stylish, and best of all, you won't have a Situation on your hands when he wears it.

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9.// Leather Belt: I love the non-traditional hardware and leather loops on this Apolis Pelican Belt ($138). Plus the fact that you get to roll it up and stick it in a tin can when you're done wearing it! What guy wouldn't love that?

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10.// Rath & Co. Gift Certificate: But the most effective way to guarantee your man looks his best this holiday season? Give him a gift certificate to Rath & Co. Until February 15, 2011, we're offering $50 off the purchase of all services. We'll tell him his best colors, hair styles, patterns and styles. We'll clear out his closet and even shop for him. We pretty much do everything except clean and cook dinner. Heck, we don't even do that for ourselves.