December is a time to be merry with friends, family, and, of course, fashion. Not only are the holidays a time to tour the area’s inventory of gifts for others, but it is also a time for local boutiques to showcase their winter collections that will fill our wardrobes for the next three months. Below are some great gift ideas for your significant others — but also for yourself.
This week, I’d like to focus on a store with which we’re all familiar — that is if you happen to be gay and have lived in D.C. for any significant amount of time over the past decade. Universal Gear has led the pack of fashion boutiques popular with gay men for as long as I can remember. Over the years, I have been able to find many brands and pieces that you would never typically find outside of New York, Miami or LA. After a recent visit to the store, I was able to identify some great winter and holiday trends.
I know it is very important to many of us to wear clothing that shows off a perfectly sculpted physique, but here’s a reality check: It’s December and the high has not passed 40 degrees this week. But don’t panic, as you can still look handsome in some non-skin hugging garments.
Choose a thick cable knit sweater ($150-$250) at Universal. No lads, these aren’t grandma’s designs of old, rather Ben Sherman’s creations of today. He has really mastered the art of taking functional fashion and making it look fabulous.
If you’re thinking, “How am I going to show up at Nellies or Halo in a thick cable knit sweater?” then snag Ben Sherman’s Popular Blazer ($250). It screams sexy, successful and shows off your great form.
If you weren’t thinking I was loco for recommending a stylish shawl-neck sweater, then take a peek at Projek Raw’s faux fur-lined zip-up sweaters ($180). I am a fan of furry fashions — especially when it’s faux. You can never go wrong covering up your muscle tee or American Apparel V with a cable-knit zip-up with faux fur. These pieces make a great gift idea and keep you warm while still looking great.
I discovered something else Universal now carries — something I have been wearing for years: Tattoo print briefs and undies! Cute underwear doesn’t just make for a great gift idea, it is also a fun surprise for your date, partner or even a one-night stand. For the more adventurous guy, Papi makes scant and sexy men’s underwear. I discovered a terrific mesh, tattoo print thong ($24). At first I giggled, thinking, “Oh lordy, who would wear this?” Then I realized this would make a fun and memorable gift. It shows you can be playful and still be sexy.
If you like the direction I’m going with this, but think a mesh thong may be too much, then ask to see the Ed Hardy underwear section. Here you will find some flamboyant, yet still masculine, printed briefs and boxer-briefs ($40). These are more my style, plus to spice it up you could throw on a matching trucker cap.
The final item that I think more of us in D.C. could use: stylish briefcase-murses. Universal Gear sells a variety of man bags in styles to match all of our personalities. I like to find traditional styles with a contemporary flare. My choice would be Knomo Tokyo’s Wet Slim briefcase ($150). It is large enough to fit your laptop, and a T-shirt and LAX shorts for the gym later. It is stylish enough to help you stand out on the Red Line, yet classic enough to go with any job or outfit.
Bags always make a great gift because if you don’t have one, you’ll use it and if you do have one, it can never hurt to have more.
Tis the season, so make that list, check it twice and head to Universal Gear and get shopping.