As a daughter, wife, mother and celebrity stylist to two professional male athletes, Khalilah Beavers is skilled in the art of gift-giving for men.
Her years of wardrobe consultation, as well as owning Bedstuy, Brooklyn staple Shirley and Alice, a vintage boutique turned pop-up shop, cements her clout as someone who gifts with both style and taste. And as Beavers regularly dresses NBA players Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler for an array of major appearances and events, she has a firm grip on picking product from high to low.
“You can buy gifts for someone all day but if it’s something that they don’t really need or want, you wasted your money. It has to be worthy or beneficial to that person, and thoughtful,” explained Beavers to Footwear News.
As she strolled through the Mall of America mere minutes after landing in Minnesota to work with her client, Butler, Beavers shared her expertise on shopping for the man in your life. Whether a son, significant other or anyone in between, she broke down when, where and how to look, and most importantly what to look for.
On When and How to Start Looking
If you’re just starting your search now, Beavers says you still have ample time to find the perfect gifts for men. It all boils down to the strategy behind the search.
“To get started now is not too bad but the thought process is the first part to try to figure out exactly. Write a list of two or three things the person likes so that if you can’t find it, you can get them the next item. If you have ideas, look up places that sell what you have in mind before going out to shop absentmindedly,” she said.
She continued, “Even while shopping for other things [outside of gifts], make mental notes as you see cool items and start putting notes in your phone to remember where things are. You can even just take a day to scope out items across different stores and compare pricing to make sure you’re paying the right price for an item when you go back to purchase.”
On Where to Look
For Beavers, it’s all about smaller emerging brands. They offer unique ideas and quirky pieces suitable for specific personalities.
“I always like to support small businesses and indie designers first because those things feel more personal. You know everyone doesn’t have that. You can always go to H&M, Uniqlo, Bloomingdale’s, Barneys — but when you support a small designer you can ask for something to be custom and find things that are very specific for the person you are buying it for.”
On Gifts that Always Work
Accessories are an effortless choice.
“You always have gloves but instead of a regular pair maybe Italian leather gloves or printed gloves. Art work. Hats. Cigars. Cologne. Socks. But make sure there’s something cool about the socks and they are not just regular. From Stance to dress socks there are really cool socks with maybe hamburgers on them [for example] — find something this person wouldn’t typically wear but they would enjoy. Even having someone’s diploma framed or a really cool picture — there are always ways, people just have to think.”
Listening closely in conversation to decipher your guy’s wants and needs are also key.
“If you see they ran out of a certain cologne, then you could buy them something like that. If you’re buying a gift for someone who can’t afford certain things and always wants certain things, that’s when you go to the exclusive sneaker or just things they wouldn’t buy for themselves but they always mention that they want it. If a person has ear buds but they are always getting tangled or losing them, then maybe buy the wireless ear buds for Apple. Gift-giving is all about being creative. Not necessarily creating a gift, but thinking of things they wanted based on conversation.”
On Gifts to Steer Clear of
“A tie because that is the quintessential Christmas gift for any guy. [People say], ‘Oh, I’ll just get him a tie.’ NO. If they wear ties, they don’t need ties and they are probably tired of getting ties because that’s probably what everyone gets them. So no ties. Also jewelry. It’s usually specific when men buy jewelry. Unless you know for sure this person wants this particular watch, for example, then I wouldn’t buy it.”
On Her Go-to Brands and Stores
“Le Labo for the cologne. For shoes, Armando Cabral is my go to for my guys. Common Projects because they are just timeless, classic sneakers that go with everything from a suit to jeans. Rag & Bone — they sell just about everything you would need from sunglasses to sneakers to shoes. They even have cologne now. Richard Beavers Gallery for art. Goorin Brothers [hats]. Happy Socks.”
On the Best Shoes for…
A father: “I think about my dad and he’s more about not spending a lot of money on things. For him, a good gift would be a pair of sneakers of a sports figure that they love but they are definitely not ever spending the money on themselves. Or even a pair of boots they also would never spend the money on — like a pair of Timberlands — or something in that range so they can go outside and shovel. They always want to do work around the house.”
A significant other: “I would say a tie-up boot or a versatile sneaker.”
A Son/Brother: “That would be the person I would buy a pair of Yeezys for if I could get them at the regular price. Or a pair of Jordans that they can’t find or a pair of adidas that you cant get. It’s more about those exclusive pieces.”
A Friend: “Nostalgic items like if there’s a throwback that you guys talk about all the time. If you watch a certain tv show, or wore certain sneakers when you were younger and you happen to run across it as a vintage item. That would be cool to get your friend because it’s your friend. You talk about it, you grow up together. Nostalgic items that they’ll never forget. Even if it’s a Michael Jackson record from the 80s that they’ll never forget.”
On Holiday styling tips
“My go–to for the holiday is literally a sweater. You cant go wrong with a sweater because wherever you’re at a sweater is cool. Whether you’re a sweater and jeans person or a sweater and khakis person, you can pretty much wear those with everything.”