Nick Wooster is a style icon. He’s the kind of guy that makes a black T-shirt and jeans look damn cool. But he’ll also make a full suit with shorts look damn cool. Hell, he even makes pajamas look cool.
So when it comes to gifting inspiration, we here at SPY look to the coolest. And, well, Nick is it.
The fashion consultant / free agent has worked with the best and it shows in the pieces he showcases on his Instagram, as well as what he’s offered up in countless interviews. Though taste can be a hard thing to quantify, it should be clear at this point that whatever taste is, Wooster has it. And then some.
Though it’s not possible for Wooster to imbue us mortals with even the smallest slice of his unwavering eye for fashion, we can come close by asking him what he’s into these days. And as a special treat for SPY readers, Wooster helped us do what we do best at SPY.com: put together a beautiful gift guide.
Below, you’ll find a quick interview with Wooster on the art of gifting, followed by a handful of the gifts he’s hoping to find underneath the tree. If you’re in a jam and are hoping to score points with that fashion-forward special someone this year, take a look at Wooster’s must-have gifts for a little last-minute gifting inspiration.
Some quotes in the article have been lightly edited for clarity.
Can you quickly summarize your background for our readers? How do you prefer to be cited?
I began my fashion career as a buyer at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman before moving to concept design for Ralph Lauren and John Bartlett. Today, I consult with brands and stores around the world, using the skills I have acquired over the past 33 years. I call myself a Free Agent, which perfectly describes what I do — I am free to work and partner with the brands and people that want to work together.
I’m always conflicted on including grooming products in gift guides. We’ve tested a ton of great grooming products for guys, but if you aren’t careful, or if you don’t have the right kind of relationship, I’m worried certain gifts would feel very passive-aggressive. Are there certain grooming products that should be off-limits for gifts?
Grooming gifts are perfect to splurge on because they can be for really special occasions. I love Aesop’s Coriander Seed Body Cleanser, but every day, I’m using products that won’t break the bank and still do an amazing job at keeping me feeling fresh like the Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Body + Face Bar. With the importance of keeping clean and washing your hands right now — a body bar that smells great, cleans your face, hands and body while also killing germs is the perfect gift. Both of my nephews are definitely going to find it in their stockings this year.
Is it better to buy replacements of products you know your partner loves (perfume or cologne, expensive skincare products, etc.) or to buy something new they wouldn’t buy for themselves?
A pricy grooming favorite is the perfect fit for a gift. People are always wary about treating themselves to an expensive self-care product, so gift a loved one with a restock of a favorite cologne, perfume or skincare product. Diptyque Philosykos is my go-to fragrance and the perfect way to treat someone special to something they may not be able to justify buying for themselves. Any gift that does that is the perfect gift to give and the most amazing kind of gift to receive!
On SPY, we focused way more on casual clothing and comfort than normal this year. Looking ahead to a, hopefully, normal 2021, what trends are you most looking forward to in menswear next year? Personally, I can’t wait until I can wear sunglasses again.
I am desperate to wear sunglasses again too . . . it really is no fun to have the lenses fog up with a mask. I am most looking forward to dressing up to go anywhere and do anything . . . we need a sense of purpose in our lives, and getting dressed is one of them. I am also wearing more boots than sneakers these days. I see that trend continuing well into 2021.
The more expensive a gift, the worse I feel about returning it. When buying an expensive fashion gift, how can you make sure you’re picking out something they won’t want to return? How confident should you be in your purchase?
The best way to make sure your expensive gift will be appreciated is to stay vigilant year-round and notice what your special someone says or wears. There are always clues if you know how to find them. Don’t just drop money on something expensive. Pay attention to the recipient’s favorite brands, trends or products so you know it’s a gift they’ll appreciate for the sentiment behind it and not just the price tag. If you know someone is a fan of Comme des Garcons and also loves accessories then you can be confident in gifting them a Comme des Garcons wallet.
Five Splurge-Worthy Gifts, As Recommended by Nick Wooster
1. Theragun Pro
“The Theragun is one of the most important tools to anyone who works out,” says Wooster. We’re very much inclined to agree. Massage guns have been all the rage for us here at the SPY office and for good reason. When you tweak something while working out from home and the massage parlor is out of the question, nothing will set you right quite like a massage gun. Plus, as Wooster says, “it feels amazing afterward.”
2. Bottega Veneta Leather Parka
Interviews are at their best when passion works its way into the conversation. And no better example exists than Wooster’s quote about this handsome-looking parka by Bottega Veneta. While we’re here for the affordable gifts (see the option below), you can almost hear Wooster’s excitement through his explanation of Bottega Veneta and their parka. “I am selfishly adding this gift because it’s what I have wanted since last year. Bottega Veneta is under the creative direction of Daniel Lee. He was Phoebe Philo’s right hand at Celine, and he is bringing new energy and excitement to the brand. By creating pieces that can live season to season, this leather parka sums up the ethos of the new Bottega Veneta perfectly.”
3. Dove Men+Care Extra Fresh 48-Hour Antiperspirant
In our minds, this is what shows Wooster is deserving of his title of “menswear veteran.” Dove? Dove. A true grooming guru can differentiate between price and quality. Case and point, Wooster’s thoughts on this seemingly innocuous deodorant stick. “I know that a lot of antiperspirants can make skin feel irritated, so if that’s the case, I lean toward gentle formulas like the ones from Dove Men+Care. The antiperspirants are great stocking stuffers for a close friend or family member.”
If this stick is good enough for Wooster, it’s certainly good enough for us.
4. Garrett Leight Naples Sun Sunglasses
“I think everyone wants to see the world through rose-colored glasses this year . . . so here are my favorites from Garrett Leight,” says Wooster of these groovy glasses. Honestly, no truer words were spoken after the year we’ve all had. Whether artificially rosy or not, we’re very much in support of a pair of sunnies that can help give us a warmer outlook right now.
5. Master & Dynamic MA770 Wireless Speaker
Though a bit on the pricier side of the wireless speaker spectrum, you can’t deny that this speaker is pure class. Which, after looking at his other picks, makes sense in the case of Wooster. “Master and Dynamic made amazing headphones . . . and their wireless speaker is both stylish and powerful.” We couldn’t agree more. And if you’re looking to gift someone a truly stand-out speaker this year, this is the one to get.
6. Berluti Eclipse Leather Travel Bag
“As I am looking forward to resuming travel this year, as I know we all are, this stylish and beautiful bag from Berluti will make every trip feel more special,” says Wooster of his last item, and we can’t argue. This leather bag from Berluti is just plain gorgeous in a rich, chocolate brown leather. For a weekend-style getaway (something we all could use right about now) there is no bag more stylish than the Eclipse.