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Valentine’s Day has a rather bad reputation for being the holiday where cliché gifts are given en masse in the form of teddy bears, wilted flowers, and bad chocolate.
But it doesn’t have to be so dismal. We phoned up the always-delightful Simon Doonan, Barneys’s creative ambassador-at-large, for tips on what to get your dude this February 14th. He says that while, yes, V-Day has the tendency to become, as he puts it, “an orgy of tacky sentimentality,” you kind of just have to go with it. “It can be really fun!”
So, while he recommends not getting your S.O. vacuum-cleaner bags (“they’d probably be grounds for divorce”) or white chocolate (“a crime against humanity!”), there are plenty of unexpected things that won’t render you single.
“You should always go a little over the top. Make it snazzy and fun—if your guy is totally normcore, then get him something with sequins,” advises Doonan. “He’ll love it. And if he doesn’t, you can have it.”
As for someone you’ve only just started dating, Doonan says it’s best not to get them anything. “Better to organize something fun like ice skating or zip-lining.” If he’s a guy’s guy, Doonan’s all about “tricking him” into something fabulous, like a Saint Laurent backpack. But if your man is too into fashion, he says tickets to the nearest sporting game are in order. “Drag your fashionista out of his comfort zone and broaden his horizons.”
We asked Doonan to pick his favorite gifts for Valentine’s Day, curated from the shelves of Barneys. So scroll on to get inspired—and step away from the white chocolate.
“Don’t you want your valentine man to smell spicy and woodsy with a soupcon of aniseed?,” posits Doonan.
“Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a handsome pair of Oliver People’s shades,” says Doonan.
“Tell your valentine to ditch his briefcase and enter a hands-free world,” suggests Doonan. “Liberate him for Valentine’s Day.”
“Nothing says ‘I want to go on vacation with you’ quite like a flamingo-print board short with an airline ticket jammed in the pocket,” says Doonan.
“Give the gift of Godzilla,” declares Doonan. “A glamrock, roaring sweater will show him that you care.”