Holiday Gift Guide: Timeless Pieces for the Dapper CorporateQ

*Feature image by Renzo Spirit Buffalo

Dressing dapper in the workplace: CorporateQ. It’s a whole other level of bringing your personal power and authenticity in to the world. Cis-men have built mythologies around what the type of watch or shoe they wear says about who they are. But they have no fucking idea who YOU are.

These picks aren’t for stuffing stockings. Each is a sweet little piece made to endure a lifetime AND be passed along to the CorporateQ who follows in your footsteps.

Watches Handmade in Detroit from Shinola ($550 and up)
Look at magazines like GQ and Details and you are likely to surmise that the only watch worth having costs thousands of dollars. Enter Shinola. It’s a company based in downtown Detroit that is training former autoworkers in the art of making Swiss watches. And handmade bikes. And brilliantly crafted leather goods.

Last year, I gifted myself with the orange-faced Runwell pictured below. It’s the least expensive of the lot but also the most stunning. The stem broke off but I sent it back for free repair as part of its lifetime warranty.


I’ve always bought watches in the $125 range but they tend to break down after a couple of years. I wanted to commit to enduring, American-made quality and I’m so glad I did.
If the style and performance of these watches isn’t enough, consider the branding which may sound vaguely reminiscent of your pioneering CorporateQ ways:

…we don’t think American manufacturing ever failed for being too good. Our worst didn’t come when we were at our best. It happened when we thought good was good enough.
It’s a tall order to return to form, but we’re up for it. We’re starting with the reinvigoration of a storied American brand, and a storied American city. Because we believe in the beauty of industry. The glory of manufacturing.
We know there’s not just history in Detroit, there is a future.

This may not be the year you Shinola enters your life. But put one on your list. Like you, it’s a brand that will only grow in influence.

Hand-Crafted, More Functional Tie-Bar from Ellsworth & Clyde ($85)

Maybe you’ve worn a necktie in the workplace for years. But, for many of us, it can be what tips office normies over the edge. A tie bar won’t ease their worried minds. However, one that is distinctive, functional and beautifully crafted may give you the confidence to soar above them.


I love this beauty, a Ellsworth & Clyde / Jon Contino collaboration. It is is reversible and has two sides that are different sizes in order accommodate a range of tie widths. Made from hand-selected woods and premium leather, each has more character than that standard silver clasp that has been prevalent for so long. Finally the attention paid to most of your garments is being applied to even the smallest of accessories.

Harlemm Bag by Ted Baker ($375)

I love the functionality of a good-looking backpack as much as the next dapperQ, (especially when it’s made from sustainable materials). But, if you are working a corporate gig, it’s not the most professional option, unless you’re in a creative field. This year I’ve been smitten by the Harlemm Bag from Ted Baker, especially the one with an oxblood accent pictured below.


What I like about it is the architectural feel of it, the great lines.


With its bold colors – rare in menswear but even more so in a briefcase – it’s a statement piece. You won’t find color options on the Ted Baker site, so search others offering this model.

Leather Suspenders and Bracelets from KikaNY ($85-$125)

Leather suspenders may feel a bit too risky for the most traditional corporate environment. But, if you are lucky enough to be a corporate creative, KikaNYs yummy leather can pull together a dress shirt and shoes in a way nothing else can. You really have to see the great craftspersonship behind the leather goods produced by KikaNY in order to fully appreciate them. I was introduced to KikaNY by Kurt Uhlendorf of Brooklyn Dry Goods who gave me this KikaNY’s bracelet for my 50th birthday. It pairs robustly with a good-looking watch or even more bracelets.


Happy holidays to all of you. May 2015 find your career moving in to even higher gear.


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