Let’s face it: When you’re a kid, Christmas is all about the toys, and there are few among us who considered socks a worthy present when we were young tadpoles. As you get older, though, you start to appreciate the little things in life a lot more – your favorite warm sweater, a good cup of coffee in the morning, a clean crisp T-shirt, and yes, even a well-made pair of socks or underwear that look as good as they feel.
Another simple joy that many of us enjoy more as we grow up is the act of giving gifts rather than simply receiving them. Every man is always in need of basics like these (more than a few of us probably have socks and undershirts with holes in them sitting in our closets), and this sort of stuff makes for perfect small presents and stocking stuffers, especially when it’s something more thoughtful than plain old store-bought items.
If you’re shopping for a gift for a guy you know or if you just need to fill up some empty space in your own sock and underwear drawers, read on: These must-have basics are anything but basic, featuring some of our favorite picks from great makers like American Trench, Flint and Tinder, and Mack Weldon.
- The aptly named Vibe underwear from Saxx combines the versatility of the classic boxer brief design with nice modern touches like a no-fly front (who uses the fly anyway?), a slimmer cut for a snug fit, and an anti-roll waistband. The Vibe is also available in a myriad of fun colors and patterns for Christmas and winter.
- The Ultra boxer briefs are similar to the Vibe, except they’re cut a bit fuller for bigger guys or for those who just like a little extra room down there (without giving up the support that briefs offer over traditional boxer shorts). Like the Vibe, the Ultra is also available in a ton of different patterns and colors.
- Buying multiple individual pairs of Saxx boxer briefs can get pricey quick, but these two- and three-pack bundles can save you some cash and are a great way to stock up on a few of your favorites while trying out different colors.
- No list of socks would be complete without Nike, and its Everyday Max cushioned socks feel just as great on the field or court as they do with a pair of jeans or chinos. Grab this multi-colored three-pack for a super-cheap $16 right now.
- built right here in America. This Holiday Sock Box features five pairs of all-cotton U.S.-made socks for a mere $55. That’s a gift no man can say no to. American Trench has established itself as one of the best young companies offering classic clothes and accessories
- Socks are a great way to add some color to an otherwise conservative outfit, and the Big Dot Gift Box from Happy Socks is just the ticket for the guy who likes to have some fun. It features four pairs of bright and merry colored socks in a nice presentation box for just $48.
- From your head down to your toes, nothing beats wool for keeping warm and dry. It insulates while remaining breathable and wicks moisture rather than soaking it up, and these calf socks from Bombas combine those properties of wool with the luxurious softness of merino. This earth-toned four-pack rings in at $68.
Undershirts and Tees
- Uniqlo is all but synonymous with “basic essentials,” and it doesn’t get much more basic or essential than a fresh crew neck tee. You can never beat white when it comes to these, but this soft cotton tee is available in a number of versatile everyday colors for a cheap $15.
- Made of a moisture-wicking blend of cotton and modal that handles sweat better than most 100% cotton weaves, these crew neck tees from Pair of Thieves can pull double duty as undershirts or as everyday casual pieces. They start at $20 per, or you can order them by the three-pack and save a few bucks.
- If you’re after an American-made T-shirt to go with those American Trench socks, Flint and Tinder has you covered. It’s made of 100% California-grown Supima cotton in a baby jersey knit that makes them softer and more breathable than your other all-cotton tees. They’re $29 a pop, but our advice is to grab the three-pack for $75.
- Your first reaction to a wool tee might be, “Why?” but it should be, “Why didn’t someone think of this sooner?” This Unbound wool T-shirt is more breathable than cotton, odor- and wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying, and wicks away sweat rather than soaking it up – and since it’s merino, it’s every bit as soft as your favorite cotton slub tee. A little expensive, but worth it for guys who rock tees 24/7/365.
- Whether you’re indoors or out, sometimes pants just aren’t enough to keep your legs warm in the winter. These toasty waffle-knit pants from Jockey are much like the long Johns your grandpa probably wore but are made with an insulating and moisture-wicking blend of cotton and polyester, and they’ll set you back just $30.
- If you’re familiar with underwear (and other men’s basics), Mack Weldon needs no introduction, and its Warmknit long underwear lives up to its name. It features a micro-waffle knit made from a modal/polyester blend with 15% wool added for extra warmth, and rings in at $58 per pair – but you can save 10 to 20% if you buy more.
- Purpose-made for the winter-loving outdoorsman, these bottoms from REI Co-op form the perfect midweight baselayer. They’re smooth to the touch for easy layering and are comfortable on the skin, featuring flat-seam construction that mitigates friction. Better still, they’re on sale right now for just $30 (down from $50).
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