While there is a time and a place for most things, buying a guy the wrong gift never flies. Ever see those couples with matching outfits? One of them usually looks miserable or embarrassed while the other, typically the gift-giver, is grinning from ear to ear. When it comes to buying clothing items for a man, there are just some items that you should stay far away from. Here are five clothing items you should never buy for a man.
1. A belt
Lots of men wear belts. Belts don’t discriminate since they actually tend to serve a real purpose. From business professionals to West Coast hipsters to skier bros, belts tend to be commonplace in a man’s wardrobe. But according to Marian Rothschild, certified personal image and wardrobe consultant and author of Look Good Now and Always, belts should not be bought by anyone other than the individual himself. “You probably don’t know his correct size, and if it’s too small, he could be offended and will have to go to the trouble of exchanging it,” Rothschild said.
2. Workout attire
Besides possibly sending the wrong message and suggesting a man needs to work out more often, athletic clothes can be a personal thing, since both the fabric and fit are very important. “Similar to how a woman doesn’t like men to buy workout stuff for them, it goes both ways,” said Richie Frieman, etiquette writer and author of REPLY ALL. “Men need a different level of comfort that they like to test out. And yes, men care how they look at the gym.”
3. Any hat
A hat is another staple for many men. However, there are many different kinds. Sizing a hat can be tricky since most of us don’t know another person’s head circumference. While knitted ski caps are fine to buy for a man, stay away from any other style since, as Rothschild says, hats need to be sized to a person’s head for a precise fit.
4. A silk scarf
Not too many men are ever spotted in these, so stay away. Even if a man wears scarves often, chances are they are some other material and are actually worn to serve a purpose — like keeping him warm. Don’t take his love for knits and assume it’s OK to swap out fabrics on this accessory. According to Rothschild, a man will not appreciate this.
“Comfort and personal taste,” Rothschild said, “are too difficult to gauge with footwear.” It’s fine to gift a man a nice pair of shoes if he has specifically asked for them — and he’s been eyeing them for some time and has mentioned he’s tried them on at the store — but don’t just take a shot in the dark. Shoes need to fit properly and serve a specific purpose.