Article Line Long1

Brian’s Cool Dad Gift Guide (It’s Another In-Person Mall Review!)

There’s a strange sort of sound that escapes a man’s mouth when he hears the phrase, “Let’s go shopping.” It’s somewhere between a grumble and a wince, a gwince, and it usually indicates his reticence to hold spaghetti-strapped paper bags while sitting on an uncomfortable chair waiting for his partner to look at something they’ll never buy. I know that’s a massive generalization, that there are plenty of men who don’t gwince when asked to go shopping. I acknowledge that those men are better than I. Because usually, I’m a gwincer. Which is a total bummer for a spouse whose job is literally shopping for things. Emily spends hours perusing the aisles of antique malls, vintage stores, and flea markets, and she specifically looks at vacation destinations to make sure there’s an antique shop in town even though she almost never purchases anything, she just likes to look! Just for inspiration! It’s truly baffling to me, and after all these years, you’d think I’d be better at tagging along, but as we say to our children when they encounter a rude kind of person, I’m still learning how to behave.

So Emily has resorted to bribing me. Like I’m a toddler. When she proposed this particular journey to the mall, to gather ideas for a gift guide, she said in a tone usually reserved for training a puppy, “We can go to lunch, maybe get you a beer.”

It totally worked. After some delicious soup dumplings and a frosty IPA, I was the happiest kid in the mall! I mean, look at me!

We didn’t buy a ton, mostly just looked, and you know what? It was fun. I told Emily I’d remember not to gwince the next time she says let’s go shopping, that I would do my best not to act like a spoiled little man-child. But I’m still learning.

American Eagle

Super Soft Plaid Flannel Shirt

I was pretty surprised by this one, I never thought of myself as an American Eagle kind of guy. The store, I mean. I’m totally an American eagle guy in like wildlife terms. Those things are majestic as hell! But I was shocked to find this blue and white plaid flannel that is totally my vibe, fits well, is super soft, and very affordable. I’ll be checking them out for future finds. And watching them scoop fish out of lakes.

J. Crew

Midweight Light Flannel

In my younger days, I’d scoff at how “preppy” J. Crew was, but now I feel right at home in it. They definitely got the “cool dad” game on lock. Their plaids are classic and kind of fit all types of dudes. Like this subtle flannel. I’m big into flannels again and I think Eddie Vedder would approve.

Rugged Merino Wood Cardigan

Ok, you’re gonna see me do this a lot with my arms. I know I just said I was a child, but this isn’t me pretending I’m a big airplane. It’s something I didn’t even know was a habit until Emily pointed it out. Apparently, I do this after putting on every garment, I test the sleeve length. See, I have long arms and some things fit on the torso but hike up too far above the wrist, which is an automatic pass. So I do my little airplane to make sure it’s not a waste of time buttoning. This super cozy cardigan was not a waste of time. It may be on top of my Xmas wishlist.

Heritage Cotton Rollneck Sweater

We asked what their signature item was for men, and they pointed us to this roll-neck sweater. It made me feel like a cool French film student.

Sherpa-Lined Corduroy Shirt-Jacket

I really like this lined shirt/jacket thing. I know shirt/jacket things are super hot right now and there’s a word for them but I don’t want to look it up. Just know that this corduroy shirt/jacket thing is nice. Oh, and I’m doing the airplane again.

Eco Nordic Shirt Jacket

Nordstrom – Clothing

Skogsö Water Resistant Jacket

Here I am explaining my long arms to Emily in this super dope winter jacket by a brand that is fun to say – FJÄLLRÄVEN.

Water Resistant Quilted Jacket with Corduroy Trim

I’m always on the hunt for a warm, water-resistant jacket. This one has style and was super comfy. I could wrangle some horses in this.

Marled Organic Cotton & Cashmere Cardigan

I’m a big fan of cardigans, especially in the morning. I tend to wear a lot of t-shirts, and when I wake up I’ll throw on some sweats and a tee, then wrap up in a warm cardigan. This one is very soft and would go well with my morning cup of coffee/scramble to pack lunches and get kids out the door.

Legend Plaid Flannel Button-Up Shirt

More flannels. Both (here and here) are the softest things I’ve ever felt, and both passed the airplane test.

The Movement Flannel Shirt

But wait, you’re probably saying, “Enough tops, what about a couple of pictures of you trying on pants and looking like you just rolled out of bed hungover?” Don’t worry, I got you.

Legend Sweatpants

I would lounge in these sweats all day, they were sooooooo cozy.

Everett Airluxe Slim Straight Commuter Pants

And these are Nordstrom’s signature men’s pants, they come in tons of colors and apparently made me want to look at my own butt.

Nordstrom – Shoes

Nuptse® 550 Fill Power Down Mule and Wicked Good Venetian Moccasin

Slippers are the one thing I never seem to have but always want. Especially on these cold winter mornings, my feetsies need some warm love. I put both of these on my wish list. The North Face ones are very warm, and good for snowy climates and the L.L. Bean’s are great for around the house.

Madewell For Men

Speaking of feetsies, if there was one pair of shoes I could live in for the rest of my life, it would be these Red Wing Iron Ranger Boots (not pictured, sorry). I get so many compliments on them from other dudes, it’s crazy. They’re sturdy, comfy, and make me feel more badass than I actually am. What more could you want??

Dick’s Sporting Goods

VRST Men’s Essential Pocket Tee

Like I said, I wear a lot of t-shirts. These pocket tees are my favorite in the whole wide world, I own about ten of them and wear them pretty much every day. They’re super soft and stretchy without clinging to my beer belly. They come in a bunch of colors and last a long time. Love these things.

Stanley 40 oz. Adventure Quencher Tumbler

Not clothing but important nonetheless, these Stanley mugs are pretty rad, and just like the box from the old McDLT, they keep the hot side hot and the cold side cold.

Look at that happy toddler. He got a few Xmas presents and had fun shopping! No more gwincing for him, he’s an enthusiastic shopper and will be from here on out. He swears.

Oh, and the flannel I came in is a favorite of mine. It’s from Target, super cozy and affordable.

Ok, bye!

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

0 0 votes
Article Rating


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

I always like Brian’s posts! This was fun to read! I also got a few ideas for my husband. Thanks!

1 year ago

I would actually wear some of those things myself- love that corduroy coat…..Nice human with a sense of humor- I like the dad jokes too- “without clinging to my beer belly”….

1 year ago
Reply to  KV

He looks very fit, don’t you think?

1 year ago
Reply to  KV

I always evade anything sherpa now. We had a jacket and a throw blanket that after some times got matted even without washing. No amount of brushing make it back to normal and they looked terrible to the point we need to throw them out.

1 year ago

Ha! I always appreciate Brian’s writing voice. So fun. I can’t imagine trying on all those clothes. You’re a good sport, Brian!

1 year ago

Thanks! I wish more on sizing. I can never decide between M or L when shopping online ugh. Also what pants is he wearing? I think he wore them to the mall.

1 year ago

Brian posts win every time…always my favorite! I got some great ideas for my very tough to shop for husband – thank you!

1 year ago

I’m here for the Brian post appreciation roundup!! Always love a Brian post. i cant see myself stepping foot in a mall unless my life was on the line but I’m excited to order one of these flannels online for my husband. Eddie Veddie would absolutely approve!

1 year ago

I do a sleeve test too, but because I’m a 5’1 (and change)” woman and I am checking to see if/how much I need to roll up the sleeves so I can still use my hands HAHAHA

This post was so cute. Y’all are cute. Especially in the photo of the flannel hanging on your torso from the J. Crew – y’all both genuinely seem to be having a blast, and that’s fun!

1 year ago

More Brian posts! I’m going to induct the word “gwince” into my daily vocabulary immediately!

1 year ago

Brian’s posts are always the best. Great ideas as I scrounge up ideas for my husband.

1 year ago

Brian is my favorite guest-poster.

1 year ago

This post by Brian made my day!

1 year ago

Another one from the Brian post appreciation club! My man is also a gwincer but it’s usually from me showing him endless online options going – What about this? And this? What about this one? How about this one? 🤣
At least now I can show him this post and say – whaddaya like?!

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago

“GWINCE”!?! Love it!!🤗

That cardigan is SO good. Somethin’ sexy @ a man in a cardi (as we call ’em in Aussie).

Um, what on Earth is wedged between your legs in the roll neck sweater shot??🤣

“SHACKET”, Brian. It’s called a shaket!

Brian, get Emily one of those quencher tumblers (or any kind of reusable keep cup) as a Christmas stocking filler!
Sooo many shoots show sinhle-use plastic beverage cups.
C’mon! 🎄

You look so happy with all your loot, ya badass!

1 year ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Haha it’s gotta be his hat

1 year ago

Best post ever- I am long armed and totally do the airplane! Question for my long armed, long torso husband…how tall is Brian? Will help me decide fit- weekly guest post by Brian pretty please!!!

1 year ago

My husband does the gwince too! So I end up buying all his clothes. Only problem with that is we often end up matching because I buy him stuff I’d like to wear: lots of navy blue, Grey, black, olive green and stripes! Sometimes he shrinks his sweaters in the dryer accidentally and I get to wear them! Lol. Have a great Thanksgiving Hendersons!

1 year ago

I’m still learning how to behave.” Me too. Also, I’m a 47-year-old woman but love these looks and would wear all of them. Thank you for taking us along and modelling, Brian!

1 year ago

Love this post!! Such an engaging writer!
Do the slippers have an annoying tag on the inside? I’ve been looking for a pair without a tag. Even cutting it out doesn’t quite work. I know, very specific and silly!

1 year ago
Reply to  Dena

I have Glerups wool slippers with the leather sole (they also have them with a rubber sole), and they do not have a tag inside. I wear slippers all day at home without socks, and I find wool wick away sweat best. I’ve had many different brands (Ugg, Giesswein, and others) and they usually end up with holes at my big toe within a year, but not the Glerups. I’ve had them for 2 1/2 years and they still look great. They are unisex sizing. NY Strategist also puts them at the top of their list.

1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Thanks Suzanne!

1 year ago

Love the Movement Flannel Shirt pix. I see that my husband is not the only one who does the “airplane” thing WITH asymmetrical buttoning 🙂

1 year ago

Damn straight Eddie Vedder would approve. I like Filson brand stores for all fashion “chic Scandinavian farmer or sea captain husband” worthy ;). You were indeed a good sport, my husband likes to shop at Nortstrom with me but it kinda sucks because he only wants to look at Alexander Wang bags and Louboutin footwear which we would NEVER buy, he just loves the fashion and quality. And FYI he swears that the women’s slipper section is far superior to the men’s so don’t be too proud to shop across those gender barriers. The “hangover sweats”, those look like the kinda item you want to wear home after purchase. Always enjoy your posts, Brian!

Roberta Davis
1 year ago

All very nice! How do I convince my husband to wear stylish clothes? Is my only question.

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

Buy them for him!

1 year ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Doesn’t work, especially if your husband is in any way particular about what he wears. I.e., my husband won’t be caught dead in any sort of sweater. Believe me, I’ve tried. LOL
I’ve stopped trying. His taste isn’t horrible, he just likes what he likes and has very strong dislikes. 😉

1 year ago

Definitely sang “and I do my little airplane in the mall store” in the “and I do my little turn on the catwalk” melody out loud to myself

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Kara

Love this! Haha🤣

1 year ago

Brian complimenting actual AMERICAN EAGLES was just the pick me up I needed today.

1 year ago

“I’m still learning how to behave”. Genius. Just genius!

1 year ago

This post was so much fun. Thanks Brian! As it happens, last Friday I bought my husband three of the American Eagle shirts. They were thicker and better quality than a lot of the flannel that’s around these days and I think they’re 30% off thru this week. Maybe I will go get him another right now….

1 year ago

So, Brian “gwinces,” which immediately reminded me of the book I read my kids called Peppa’s Mermaid Adventure, where the characters swim/dance and call it the “swance.” Not least because it seems that, in doing the airplane when trying on shirts, Brian is addicted to the “fland,” which is to attempt to fly/stand all at once. Really fun post, and nice writing Brian!

1 year ago

My boyfriend told me the most boring present a guy can receive is clothing. He figures he can get new clothes anytime and they don’t excite him in the least. He said he likes “techy” gifts. He owns every techy item imaginable so where does that leave me for his Christmas gifts? I told him if he wants to play that game, then I like makeup – now that is very exciting to me.

1 year ago
Reply to  Trish

Yes! I give my husband clothes all the time as gifts, but secretly they are really for me … the type of clothes I want to see him wearing. Last year I gave him the FLIR One Pro camera that turns your phone into a thermal imager. He seemed to love it.

Heather A
1 year ago

Oh honey! You’re a model! (that’s a Sex in the City reference that only some will get). But it’s true! Brian, you are an excellent model, a very entertaining – and funny – writer, and a good sport. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the gift ideas!

1 year ago

I hope Brian got the roll neck sweater in blue. It is half off right now and I am trying to think who I know that might need one.

1 year ago

You both are so cute! And thanks for the good ideas for my hard-to-shop-for-husband. 🙂

🥰 Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Julie

They’re a super-cute couple, right?!

Sarah F
1 year ago

So fun to read a post of Brian. Had me laughing and I can relate on the long arms. Also on not really liking to shop! My husband is actually better at picking out clothes than me, when he actually goes!

1 year ago

Lol “I never thought of myself as an American Eagle kind of guy. The store, I mean.” Love a Brian post and enjoyed all the comments giving him props. So fun and that puffer coat with corduroy trim (for proper horse wrangling) is the bomb!

1 year ago

Love LL Bean (I ride for my bean boots!) and many gift guides have the wicked good moccasins on their list but I thought I’d offer an alternative by indigenous people, designed and created by the First Nation and supporting them.
The price is about the same AND it’s indigenous heritage week and indigenous heritage month (for obvious reasons Native American heritage day is 11/24). These are definitely on my list!

Along with a shirt from the brewery of the dad who helped restrain the Colorado shooter!

1 year ago

my husband do the airplane too :))

1 year ago

So I do my little airplane to make sure it’s not a waste of time buttoning.” Lol. This is nicely written!

1 year ago

Those things are majestic as hell! Is everything… lol

Sarah P
1 year ago

Brian Henderson, those collared cardigans look very handsome on you! Wish I could get my husband to wear one, it would be a nice change from the hoodie he wears every single day.

1 year ago

I almost never comment, but had to say — loved this post! It was a real treat to read, and yup! Never thought of my guy as an American Eagle person, but he/I/we are all about those majestic creatures. Enjoyed this so much, and got some good ideas (airplane move is key!). Love it.

1 year ago

My husband flies millions of miles (literally) and just bought this hanging toiletry bag he can’t shut up about: And if anyone is looking for indestructible (but pricey) luggage, he just replaced his 10-year old bag with this:

1 year ago

This was THE most delightful thing I’ve read in weeks! Thank you Brian, for your commentry and your aeroplane arms.

Denise C
1 year ago

I wasn’t even going to read this particular blog post today because I don’t have any men to buy for. But then I saw it was from Brian’s perspective so I did. So glad I spent the time. So funny. Love your writing “ voice”. Love yours too, Emily.

Kelly P
1 year ago

I love a Brian post. I had a few genuine lol moments (rare for me when blog reading). I also love his laid back “just got out of bed hungover” style. More flannels for everyone!

1 year ago

Love posts from Brian! Always an interesting and hilarious perspective from a talented writer. More please!

1 year ago

Growing up, my mom HATED to shop and my dad LOVED shopping. I was born on Christmas day, which I’ve never been a fan of, so to help make me feel special in the midst of all the holiday stuff, my dad took me on a big Christmas shopping trip every year, starting when I was about 5 and until I was in college. We’d spend all day shopping at malls and big stores, and we’d go out for either lunch or dinner, which is something my family usually never did (one of my dad’s favorite stories to tell is about the very first annual shopping trip- he asked me where I wanted to get lunch and I told him “the one with the little girl on the sign”…aka Wendy’s). I’m not huge on shopping, but those annual trips were so special.

1 year ago

What are the shoes he is wearing?

1 year ago
Reply to  tom

They look like the Men’s Sperry Top-Sider Coastal PLUSHWAVE 3-Eye Sneaker. I can’t find them on the Sperry site but here’s a link from Walmart