Welcome to part 2 of my 100 best and most stylish things.

Missed the first 50 in part 1? No sweat, you can check out my recommendations here. 

Here’s a refresh of the rules/criteria for making this list:

ONLY PRODUCTS I HAVE PERSONALLY USED, OR HAVE BEEN VETTED BY MY PRIVATE CLIENTS

Here’s a dirty little secret about a lot of those “Best of” lists on some of the big-name men’s magazines and blogs: A lot of the writers don’t even test or use the products they’re recommending.

How do I know?

When I worked as a menswear designer, I was in charge of sending a lot of these writers info about our new collection, and they’d write praise for it, WITHOUT EVER COMING IN TO SEE AND TRY ON THE CLOTHES.

That’s why for my list, I’m only recommending products I’ve tested or have been used by my private clients or me.

“BEST” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THE MOST EXPENSIVE OR HIGHEST QUALITY

My pick won’t always be the most expensive or highest quality option, I also take into consideration accessibility, “bang for the buck,” and something as simple as how often I personally use it.

A good way to think about it: I could pick the burger at Raoul’s as the best burger in NYC, but it loses points for the fact that they only make 12 a day.

Whereas the burger at Shake Shack beats it for the price, quality, and the fact that it’s much easier to get your hands on.

GIFTED PRODUCTS DON’T GUARANTEE A POSITIVE REVIEW (OR REVIEW AT ALL)

I’ve grown The Essential Man to a point where I get at least 5 emails a week from brands wanting to send me some new travel bag, shoe, or beard oil (Attention grooming brands: I’m Asian and can’t grow a beard.)

I always make it a note to the brands that sending me something for free doesn’t guarantee you a positive review, or even a post at all.

I spent 11+ years designing high-end menswear here in New York and studied at one of the best design schools in the world. I take my reputation very seriously.

It’s why I think The Essential Man has been so successful. I’ll tell you when $400 sneakers are really worth it, and when $10 t-shirts are worth it too.

Related note: I’ll always make a note and disclose any product I’m gifted that’s actually good.

I LET YOU KNOW THE GOOD WITH THE BAD

Nothing good is without its faults. Along with recommending what I think is the best right now, I want to give you the best, most useful kind of recommendation list.

That’s why I’ll try my best to include what I don’t love about products I love, whether it’s their price, how long they last, or even if something might be TOO popular. (Cause yeah, sometimes even I get sick of seeing the same shirt on every dude.)

Let’s get to the recommendations!

To make your life easier, I separated the recommendations into categories in a table of contents below. You can jump straight to what you’re looking for by clicking below.

Some products might crossover into two categories. I just go with the category I use it for.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


FITNESS (CONTINUED)

MY GO-TO PROTEIN POWDER: ISOPURE ZERO CARB DUTCH CHOCOLATE

Right now my trainer has me on nearly 200g of protein a day. I can only take so much chicken, and that’s why I tend to end my days with a quick and easy protein shake.

Optimum Nutrition Whey is usually my go-to protein powder, but I’ve been drinking Isopure Low and Zero carb powders lately, especially since I’m on a tight carb budget. Their dutch chocolate is by far the best flavor

BUY: ISOPURE ZERO CARB DUTCH CHOCOLATE, $37

THE MOST DELICIOUS PROTEIN BAR EVER: POWERCRUNCH SALTED CARAMEL

Protein bars are another convenient addition to a training diet. The biggest problem is that most tend to be pretty high in carbs, lack flavor, or both.

When it comes to high carb bars, I love MetRX pretzel bars. But for something a bit lower in carbs, PowerCrunch’s salted caramel bars are amazing.

Their protein count is pretty modest at 13g, and with a 1:1 pretty high ratio of fat at 13g. But as a quick breakfast snack or something to hold you over while you’re running around, these are perfect. Forming the protein into wafers is a brilliant way to mask the usually grainy texture of the protein source, and the salted caramel flavor is just insanely delicious.

BUY: POWERCRUNCH SALTED CARAMEL BARS (12 COUNT), $13

PRE-MADE PROTEIN SHAKE: MUSCLE MILK PRO SERIES

When I’m running around the city and don’t want to roll the dice getting some takeout, I grab a Muscle Milk Pro.

32g-40g of protein (depending on which size you come across), 2.5g fat and around 10g of carbs. It’s convenient and pretty delicious. I’ve found them in drugstores, delis, and gas stations. Knockout Chocolate is my favorite flavor.

BUY: MUSCLE MILK PRO SERIES (12-COUNT), $22

ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN SOURCE: FLAPJACKED MUSCLE MUFFIN CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER

For a while, I was making protein pancakes using a mix from a brand called Flapjacked, until one day I discovered they also made microwavable muffins.

They’re actually more like brownies (no complaints here), and pack 20g of protein per cup and only take 45 seconds to make. All you have to do is add water and pop them in the microwave. Did I mention they’re pretty delicious? The chocolate peanut butter one is by far the best of all the flavors.

BUY: FLAPJACKED MUSCLE MUFFIN (12-COUNT), $29

THE GYM BAG THAT IS ALWAYS SELLING OUT: AER FITPACK 2

Tons of my clients have requested a bag that can help them transition from the office to the gym and not look like they’re about to go from the office to the gym. I’ve always pointed them to one place: Aer.

Their bags are sleek, minimal, and have all the necessary sectioned off pockets to ensure your dirty clothes don’t stink up your laptop. While most people’s favorite feature is the shoe compartment at the bottom, my vote goes to the fact that you can lay the bag down and open it like a proper gym duffle.

Just a warning: this bag sells out fast and often, so make sure you put yourself on the waitlist.

BUY: AER FITPACK 2, $135

THE ONE GYM UPGRADE YOU SHOULD MAKE RIGHT NOW: QUICK RELEASE BARBELL CLIPS

You know those annoying clamps you use to secure plates on the bar when you lift? These do the same thing but aren’t annoying to use. In fact, you can slip them on and off with one hand while you’re shuffling through your Spotify. Guaranteed to make you wonder how you functioned at the gym for so long without them.

BUY: QUICK RELEASE BARBELL COLLARS, $8

THE CHILLEST SOURCE OF FITNESS INFO: JOHN ROMANIELLO (AKA MY PERSONAL TRAINER)

No words can do John Romaniello justice. I mean, he helped whip me into shape for my wedding, was the health advisor to the Governator Arnold himself, has NYTimes best selling fitness book, and has a pixel art Final Fantasy tattoo.

While I’m not sure if John still takes training clients, his site, Roman Fitness Systems, is my favorite source of fitness (and life, and sex) knowledge. Why? Because John writes and gives advice as if you two were grabbing a drink after work. (Speaking of which, his advice on how to drink and still lose fat is the best advice I’ve seen on the topic.)

READ: ROMAN FITNESS SYSTEMS

SEX

GET THAT MOOD RIGHT: LIFX LIGHTBULB

It’s a fact that dimmers make the mood sexier. LIFX lightbulbs make it super easy to turn any lamp or light fixture into one that’s dimmable. Unlike other smart bulbs, LIFX doesn’t require a hub. You simply twist it in and use the app to connect it to your wifi.

Along with dimming, you can set cycles to automatically turn on and off lights, save light configurations and colors as “moods” for quick switching, or even trigger lights via GPS so they’re on as you enter your house. Just a warning, having sex under red lights might get addicting.

BUY: LIFX LIGHTBULB, $59

MAKE TINDER LESS ANNOYING AND MORE SUCCESSFUL: TINDER GOLD

In the last 6 months, I’ve helped a handful of private clients score a ton more dates, nab a girlfriend or two, and even an engagement.

One of the secret weapons? Paying for a premium account on a dating app. It eliminates the biggest problem with these dating apps: the need to endlessly swipe into the void.

With Tinder Gold, you can see who’s already swiped right on you. All you have to do is go through the list and right swipe on those you’re into and start a conversation. It really is that easy.

SUBSCRIBE: TINDER GOLD, $21 FOR 1-MONTH (or $120/YEAR UPFRONT)

CAUSE KISSING CHAPPED LIPS IS A LADY BONER KILLER: BURTS BEE’S PEPPERMINT LIP BALM

I know everyone loves those lip balms in the balls, but they’re annoying the carry around in your pocket. I like to keep it simple and go with a classic tube.

Burt’s Bees peppermint has the added bonus of acting almost like a breath mint, giving your makeout sessions a little extra boost. The best part really is that you can get this almost anywhere.

BUY: BURTS BEE’S PEPPERMINT LIP BALM, $8 (4-COUNT)

THE KING OF THE QUICK BREATH REBOOT: LISTERINE BREATH STRIPS

For those times where your breath is extra kicking, there’s no better choice than Listerine. Works fast, requires no chewing or sucking, and their tiny, coin-sized package won’t ruin the silhouette of your pocket.

BUY: LISTERINE BREATH STRIPS, $3.50 (3-COUNT)

THE TWO BEST BARELY THERE CONDOMS: SKYN (FOR AVERAGE SIZED GUYS) AND MANGUM BARESKIN (FOR LARGER MEN)

Condom technology is pretty fucking awesome now. You got condoms twisting textures. Condoms that warm things up. Even condoms that cool off your junk if that’s your vibe. But if there’s one feature most guys look for, its a more “natural” feel (aka “I want to feel like I’m not wearing a condom!”)

There’s two that constantly make the top 10 lists when it comes to natural feeling condoms: Skyn’s for the average guy and Magnum Bareskins for the larger/wider guys. Sure, they might lack the bells and whistles of newer condoms, but sometimes you just gotta keep it simple.

BUY: SKYN, $10 (BOX OF 24) or  MAGNUM BARESKIN, $14 (BOX OF 24)

BE THE HOOKUP HERO: SLIQUID SINGLE LUBE PACKS

Out of all of the recommendations from my previous post on how to upgrade your sex game, the bit about lube is by far the favorite with readers. Here’s what my co-author Lia said:

“Speaking of lube, buy some lube! You may think to yourself, “Oh, I make women really wet, I don’t need lube around”, and you are wrong—women’s bodies are all different, some of us self-lubricate more effectively than others (among other variables). Lube always makes things better, so just grow up and buy some.”

A reader emailed me a while back about how appreciative a Tinder hookup was over the fact he brought a small tube of lube. While I give him props for having the foresight and putting his ego aside, there’s an even better choice. Sliquid makes these small pouches of lube that are the same size as a condom and come in all their flavors.

BUY: SLIQUID SINGLE PACK CUBES, $12 (12-COUNT)

THE WORLD’S BEST SEX TOY: LELO SONA CLIT STIMULATOR

Alright guys, I’m going to let you in on a secret: a good sex toy (and sex for that matter) isn’t always about penetration.

Clit stimulators are nothing new, but none have looked so nice you wouldn’t be embarrassed if you accidentally left this out. Aside from aesthetics, LELO’s SONA uses sonic pulses to stimulate deep into her clit, which results is really powerful orgasms. There is a reason why countless reviews have said this is the best sex toy ever made.

If you could only pick one thing on this list to get, I’d go with this one.

BUY: LELO SONA CLITORIS STIMULATOR, $69

THE BOOK THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR SEX LIFE: NINA HARTLEY’S GUIDE TO TOTAL SEX

I don’t know how many times I can recommend this book. Written by legendary porn star Nina Hartley, the only book if you need about how to be amazing at REAL sex. For a sample of what you can expect from Nina, watch this video where she teaches you how to go down on a woman. It’s going to change your sex life. (Obviously NSFW)

BUY: GUIDE TO TOTAL SEX BY NINA HARTLEY, $22

CAUSE SEX IS ALWAYS BETTER TO MUSIC: AMAZON BASICS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

Sure, a fully decked out Sonos system is impressive, but for something that’s a bit less of an investment and better than throwing your phone into a bowl, a simple Bluetooth speaker will do the trick.

Amazon basic’s Bluetooth speaker is surprisingly good for being $20. It even has an aux-in jack for devices that don’t have Bluetooth, just don’t forget to pick up an aux cord as it’s not included.

BUY: AMAZON BASICS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, $19

THE PRO BEDROOM ADDITION: DUDE WIPES

Look, I hate the slightly overcompensating-for-something branding of Dude Wipes, but here’s why I like them better than baby or feminine wipes for pre/post sex clean-up: they’re lightly scented and also come in single packs for nights out. Throw one of these in your pocket along with condoms and lube, and you’re good to go.

BUY: DUDE WIPES DISPENSER AND SINGLES COMBO PACK, $10

WORK

MY CLIENT’S FAVORITE PLACE FOR WORK SUITS: SUIT SUPPLY

I recently showed a friend of mine who works as a bespoke tailor in London my Suit Supply suit, and he was really impressed with the quality for how much I paid.

Yes, they make their suits in China, which is how they keep their costs down. But guess what? Anything else in that sub-$1,000 price range is either made in China as well, not as well made, or both. (And F.Y.I., Made in China is not as bad as it used to be. In many cases, it’s even better than made in the U.S.)

BUY: SUIT SUPPLY SUITS, STARTING AT $499

MY CLIENT’S FAVORITE PLACE FOR DRESS SHIRTS UNDER $100: BONOBOS

Are you sick of seeing Bonobos on this list yet? Hey, don’t blame them for having an amazing product lineup. What makes their shirts great is the same thing that makes their pants great. They come in a large variety of sizes, cuts, and lengths to suit your needs.

Bigger guy and need some more room in the arms? Go for the athletic cut. Are you super skinny and don’t want to look like you’re wearing your dad’s shirt? Try the tailored cut.

To sum it up, Bonobos’ shirts are one of the best shirt fits you can get off the rack.

BUY: BONOBOS DRESS SHIRTS, $98

THE EASY OFFICE APPROPRIATE JACKET EVERY GUY SHOULD OWN: THE J.CREW MECHANIC JACKET

We all need an “easy” jacket. Something with a good amount of functional pockets to carry the essentials (phone, keys, etc) while still being appropriate to wear at the office. Finding a jacket that hits that sweet spot, more casual than a sports coat, but not as casual as, say, a bomber, is surprisingly tricky.

The one I’ve been recommending to my clients lately that’s been a smash hit is a field jacket, specifically in Navy. While I love the classic olive green one, the military vibes are a bit too strong for some of my clients. The navy one luxes it up a bit making it appropriate for business casual offices, or as a layering piece over a suit.

BUY: J.CREW MECHANIC JACKET IN NAVY, $198

THE ONLY PLACE YOU SHOULD BUY TIES: DRAKES

Drake’s cuts their Italian fabric ties at a 45 degree angle, resulting in a beautiful drape that I can’t seem to find anywhere else. It’s subtle, but when you see a man wearing a Drake’s tie you notice how elegant and relaxed he looks. It’s exactly what I consider a sign of amazing style: invisible and effortless.

BUY: DRAKE’S TIES, $175

THE ONLY PLACE YOU SHOULD BUY POCKET SQUARES: DRAKES

Is it no surprise that I’m also a fan of Drake’s pocket squares? They’re handmade from the same beautiful fabrics that their ties are made of. You’ll have all your classic bases covered from white silks to linens, but Drake’s occasionally teams up with artists to create one of a kind prints and designs you’re not going to find anywhere else.

BUY: DRAKE’S, $75

DRESS SOCKS THAT DON’T FALL DOWN: SUIT SUPPLY KNEE HIGH SOCKS

I’m still not on board with wearing sock suspenders to keep my socks up. I’d rather pick up a few pairs of knee-high socks, and the ones at Suit Supply have been doing the trick for me and my clients who want to keep their suit silhouette clean.

BUY: SUIT SUPPLY KNEE HIGH SOCKS, $20

THE UPGRADED BRIEFCASE MY CLIENTS CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF: FILSON’S BRIEFCASE

Backpacks aren’t the most stylish look. But neither are bags that make you look more like the bike messenger than an employee. Luckily Filson’s classic briefcase has been handling this problem perfectly for years.

Tons of slots to protect your laptop and important documents, professional look thanks to the leather trimming, with the option to carry it on your side or across your body thanks to the removable strap. This is a client favorite.

BUY: FILSON RUGGED TWILL BRIEFCASE, $325

BE UNFORGETTABLE WITH CUSTOM THANK YOU CARDS FROM TERRAPIN STATIONERS

If there’s one thing that’s really changed the quality of my personal and professional relationships, it’s writing an old school thank you note. Some people wonder what’s the point anymore. A text or email is so much easier. And that’s precisely why it’s something you should do.

Text and email are like fast food on your ridiculously short lunch break. A handwritten note is a home cooked dinner among close friends.

I’ve been using stationery from Terrapin Stationers for almost 10 years now. They’re the go-to place for people like Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Rolex, and Vogue. Once you get set up with their classic stationary, head over to this post on my Instagram for my tips on how to write a proper thank you note.

BUY: TERRAPIN STATIONERS CUSTOM ENGRAVED NOTE CARDS, $225

THE THING THAT’S SAVED MY ASS ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION: iPHONE BATTERY CASE

Since I’ve been working with a lot of styling clients recently, I’ve always found myself in panic mode towards the end of the day as my battery reached 10% range.

All the traveling around NYC, playing music, checking my emails, killing time browsing the internet was killing my batteries. So I finally took the plunge and got myself a battery case that doubles the life of my iPhone 7+.

One small caveat, since the case needs to plug into your lighting slot at the bottom, you can’t use your wired headphones. So make sure you have a pair of Bluetooth on hand when you’re out and about. I recently picked up these over-ear ones from Jabra after reading a great review of them on Wirecutter. Great sound, plus they’re the least offensive looking ones under $100.

Life saver for my business.

BUY: TRIANIUM BATTERY CASE, $31

FOR THAT BLACK TIE BUSINESS EVENT: SUIT SUPPLY WASHINGTON TUXEDO

I meant to put this in the last post under clothes, but I figured I could slip it in here. Clients often ask me if they should get a tuxedo if they don’t have an occasion to wear it. To me, this is a chicken and egg issue. I tell my clients “You’re not going to events that require a tuxedo because you don’t have a tuxedo. So if you get a tuxedo, you’ll find occasions to wear it.”

It’s like saying “I don’t run cause I don’t have running shoes.” What do you think you’ll start doing when you finally buy some running shoes?

Every man should own a proper tuxedo. And every man should create a reason to wear one. Buy tickets to the opera. Find a black tie gallery opening. Take her to a really nice fucking dinner!

And should you sell your company or be invited to a fancy fundraiser, you won’t be caught off guard or look out of place in this perfect classic tuxedo from Suit Supply.

BUY: SUIT SUPPLY WASHINGTON TUXEDO, $799

CLOTHING CARE

THE IRON I PERSONALLY USE: ROWENTA

There’s really only one iron brand you should be buying and that’s Rowenta.

Rowenta is what almost everyone in the industry uses. It’s what I used when I studied fashion design at Parsons. It’s what I found in a lot of design studios when I was working as a designer for 11 years. It’s now what I use at home.

BUY: ROWENTA DW5080 (THE EXACT ONE I USE EVERY DAY), $79

THIS T-SHIRT FOLDER WILL CHANGE LAUNDRY DAY FOREVER

For clients based in NYC, we always end our time together with a complete closet revamp and reorganization. One of my secret weapons is a t-shirt folder. It not only makes folding t-shirts ridiculously fast and simple, it also folds clothes the same size, keeping things satisfyingly neat. You can also use these to fold sweaters and pants!

BUY: BOXLEGEND’S T-SHIRT FOLDER, $22

BECAUSE YOUR NICE CLOTHES DESERVE BETTER THAN WIRE HANGERS: AMAZON BASICS WOODEN CLOTHING HANGERS

Proper hangers not only look nicer, they make your clothes last longer. Weak hangers can warp the shape of your clothes, which is why I always recommend proper solid wooden hangers for my clients.

The ones from Amazon are great for shirts and pants, but make sure you get wide shoulder hangers for coats and jackets, especially leather jackets. Using thinner hangers on a leather jacket can result in what’s known as “shoulder nipples”, points that develop when the leather stretches due to thin hangers.

BUY: AMAZON BASICS WOODEN HANGERS $23 (30-COUNT) and JS HANGER WIDE SHOULDER HANGERS, $25 (5-COUNT)

SO DO YOUR NICE LEATHER SHOES: OLLIEROO MEN’S SHOE TREES

If you own proper leather dress shoes, you need shoe trees. They not only help keep your shoes shape, they also absorb moisture and odors.

There are cheaper models out there without the metal knobs, but don’t bother with them as they make it trickier to remove. Same goes for ones with a rope loop, which I’ve found wears down over time.

BUY: OLLIEROO MEN’S SHOE TREES, $20

THE DRUGSTORE SPRAY THAT WILL PROTECT ALL YOUR SHOES: KIWI

Think of waterproof sprays like sunscreen. It’s recommended, but you probably won’t die if you don’t use it. There are a ton of different sprays you can get to protect your shoes, but I’ve found the ones from Kiwi that you can pick up at any drug store does the trick fine.

The only exception? Suede. Make sure you spray that with a suede protector.

BUY: KIKI BOOT AND SUEDE PROTECTORS, $16

THE BEST WAY TO KEEP YOUR WHITE SNEAKERS CLEAN: JASON MARKK

A pair of minimal white sneakers is essential to any timeless wardrobe. Jason Markk changed the game with his sneaker cleaning kit, and while there have been tons of imitators since he came onto the market, I’ve been pretty loyal to the original. A must have if you wear a lot of sneakers.

BUY: JASON MARKK PREMIUM SHOE CLEANER KIT, $16

YES, YOU CAN ACTUALLY BRING WATER DAMAGED SUEDE SHOES BACK TO LIFE: KIWI SUEDE ERASER

Water damaged suede desert boots? Don’t panic, you can still save them. Suede erasers remove surface damage and restore the natural texture of the suede. For most average stains and damage, you can get your shoes looking near 100% new. `

BUY: SOF SOLE SUEDE & NUBUCK ERASER KIT, $4.99

TRAVEL

THE HYPE LUGGAGE THAT ARE TOTALLY WORTH THE HYPE: AWAY

Away has spawned a few copycats since jumping on the scene with their carry-on luggage, but this review from The Points Guy sums up everything I love about them. The easy to turn wheels. The built-in compression bag. That famous built-in backup battery with USB port where you can charge your phone. They recently released a Rimowa-esque aluminum model that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

BUY: AWAY CARRY-ON LUGGAGE, STARTING AT $225

THE CLASSIC WEEKENDER GETS A SUBTLE, KILLER UPRADE: KILLSPENCER WEEKENDER 3.0

Recently I’ve turned into more of a carry-on weekender kind of guy. It forces you to pack lighter as well as encourages you to shop for more versatile pieces. Plus, there’s just something so old school cool about carrying your bag versus rolling it on board. What I love about Killspencer’s weekenders are their inner compartments and box designs, which stays open when fully unzipped.

The all leather version is pretty badass, but if $700 is a bit out of your range, they have a slightly more affordable yet still slick looking waxed canvas one just shy over $500.

BUY: KILLSPENCER WEEKENDER 3.0 (ALL LEATHER) $725 or KILLSPENCER WEEKENDER 2.0 (WAXED CANVAS) $525

PACK LIKE A PRO: EAGLE CREEK PACKING CUBES

Everyone has their own packing methods, from stacking all your clothes and rolling them up, to stuffing your underwear and socks into your shoes. I prefer a more organized and Tetris-like set-up.

My fellow stylist friend Cass put me onto packing cubes, which let you separate like with like. They also help you avoid mixing your dirty clothes with your clean ones. Eagle Creek packing cubes zip and unzips the smoothest of all brands tested.

BUY: EAGLE CREEK PACKING CUBES, $27 (3-PACK)

THE PERFECT DOPP KIT: AER DOPP KIT

AER’s dopp kit is exactly what you would expect from them after seeing their gym bag: hyper functional sections and pockets in a minimal slick package. Goes perfect with Eagle Creek packing cubes and is conveniently the perfect size for Aesop’s travel kit.

BUY: AER DOPP KIT, $45

THE ONLY THING THAT PREVENTS ME FROM LOSING MY PASSPORT: COMMON PROJECTS PASSPORT WALLET

General rule when it comes to searching for high quality small leather goods, look at great shoe companies. Common Project’s protects your passport from wear and tear and has enough slots for your essential cards and ticket. The wallet, like their shoes, is made in Italy, featuring their signature gold foil logo and aesthetically minimal design.

BUY: COMMON PROJECTS PASSPORT WALLET, $155

THE BEST NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES THAT’S CHEAPER THAN A PLANE TICKET: PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT PRO 2

Disclosure: This recommendation breaks the rules a bit.  I’m not a heavy traveler, but something can be said for the fact that not one but 4 of my clients (who travel for more than half a year) have recommended these to me.

A couple of big name review sites  like Tech Radar seem to love them too, so in case you need to blame someone if they don’t live up to my rec, you know where to direct your emails. 🙂

BUY: PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT PRO 2, $178

THE ONLY EYEMASK THAT COMPLETELY BLOCKS OUT ALL LIGHT: BEDTIME BLISS CONTOURED SLEEP MASK

Ok, disclosure #2: I own these but rarely use them on planes because I usually don’t sleep on planes. I do, however, use them on a near nightly basis. After testing nearly half a dozen of the top rated sleepmasks on Amazon, these do the best at blocking out almost 100% of the light thanks to its contoured form. Something tells me it’ll do the same on your next redeye flight.

BUY: BEDTIME BLISS CONTOURED SLEEP MASK, $12

THE INSTANT POST-PLANE REFRESH: YES TO CUCUMBER TRAVEL WIPES

My secret weapon plane ride weapon? Soothing cucumber wipes which I use on my face as it tends to get oily and grimy post flight. It’s a refreshing, ultra convenient alternative to splashing my face in a crowded airport bathroom. And when combined with a proper cup of coffee is the instant airport pick-me up you’re craving.

BUY: YES TO CUCUMBER TRAVEL WIPES, $6 (2-COUNT)

THE MOST COMFORTABLE FLIP FLOPS FOR THAT ROOFTOP POOL: TIDAL

Ok, let’s get this out of the way. If you’re not by some type of water source (ocean, roof top pool, men’s locker room) there’s no reason to wear flip flops. Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about one of my finds for 2018, Tidal flip flops.

Imagine running shoes designers decided to make flip flops and you have Tidal. It’s pretty damn comfortable. Made in NYC and constructed from a “memory” polyurethane that bounces back which each step, the flip-flops feature a slight arch support and unique sole mold for better traction when wet.

The futuregrid pattern is my personal favorite and almost cool enough to wear away from any body of water, but you’d never do that, right?

BUY: TIDAL FLIP-FLOPS, $28

AND THE PERFECT SWIM TRUNKS TO WEAR THEM WITH: ORLEBAR BROWN

Let me be blunt: most swim trunks are ugly. They’re usually too wide, too long, and extremely unflattering, making you look like a kid at the public pool. Orlebar Brown takes notes from classic Italian swim trunks from the 50s and 60s, offering a more tailored trunk with adjustable tabs instead of a drawstring. The result is a refined, flattering, grown-up pair of shorts that says “I vacation in the South of France” and not “I’m at a motel pool in Florida”.

BUY: BULLDOG MID-LENGTH SWIM TRUNKS BY ORLEBAR BROWN, $145

HOME

TURN YOUR BATHROOM INTO A HOTEL ROOM: AESOP AROMATIQUE HAND WASH

I was recently speaking with an amazing woman on the subway about what she looks out for when she visits a man’s apartment for the first time. The focus immediately turned to the state of his bathroom. The cleanliness of it. Looking for evidence of his oral hygiene (is there floss in the trash?). The soap he uses.

We can scoff at this idea that you can tell a lot about a man by the soap he buys, but think about how you feel when you go into a public restroom. You’re not going to Aesop in a bathroom covered in graffiti, wet toilet paper, and brown construction paper for napkins. You’re going to be washing your hands with that questionable pink goo they’re trying to pass off as soap. Not so classy, right?

But don’t get this soap just to woo a potential romantic interest. Get it to change your state of mind.

Like putting on a perfectly tailored suit, or sitting on a plush leather Eames lounge chair, beautiful objects that work never fail to put me in the right mood.

And maybe that’s what she was getting at.

BUY: AESOP AROMATIQUE HAND WASH, $39

MY FAVORITE HOUSE CANDLE: APOTHEKE CHACROAL BLACK

Everytime someone visits my apartment building, they cannot shut up about how good it smells. So here’s the secret…

Apotheke’s Charcoal candle. “Cedar wood and sandalwood are combined with notes of amber, patchouli, and a smoky fire to build a broody, strong, and full-bodied fragrance that mimics the scent of Binchotan charcoal.”

Now stop asking me.

BUY: APOTHEKE’S CHARCOAL BLACK CANDLE, $31

THE GROWN MAN’S FABREZE: AESOP AROMATIQUE ROOM SPRAY

Speaking of people being annoying about smells, I recently went over a client’s apartment and fell in love with how good her kitchen smelled. She let me in on her secret: Aesop’s room spray, which I’ve now lovingly dubbed the grown man’s Fabreze.

The great thing about a spray versus a candle is you can get a place smelling great in seconds. And Aesop has 3 different spray scents to suit your vibe.

I’m a big fan of the istros, a “pink pepper, lavender and tobacco” scent which is perfect the coming fall season.

BUY: AESOP AROMATIQUE ROOM SPRAY, $55

MY FAVORITE WAY TO PICK MYSELF UP: NESPRESSO INISSIA ESPRESSO MACHINE

I’m a coffee guy.

This isn’t hyperbole. I probably own every coffee making gadget there is right now and have taken actual coffee cupping (tasting) classes here in NYC. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I love my Nespresso machine even more than visiting my local coffeeshops.

It’s quick, convenient, and most important, consistent. And no need to worry about those pods, as Nespresso has an ultra easy pre-paid postage recycling program via mail. Just dump your old pods in a supplied bag and drop them off in the mail.

BUY: NESPRESSO INISSIA ESPRESSO MACHINE, $113

THE $20 PURCHASE THAT CHANGED MY MORNING ROUTINE: IKEA ENTRYWAY STOOL

I’ve lived on my own since I was 18, and I’ve always either done that dance where you’re hopping on one foot trying to put on your shoes.

Or worse, dragged an annoyingly big chair from the dining area that you forget you left there when you come home.

So I picked up this tiny $20 stool from Ikea while I was shopping for a desk for my studio. I can honestly say it’s made me at LEAST 30% happier everyday. (How I got to this number is complicated and very scientific, I’ll explain some other time.)

Stop hopping to put on your shoes like some younger, loser version of Peter and get this stool.

BUY: IKEA SKOGSTA STOOL, $19

THE INSTANT MOOD BOOSTER: JAPANESE PEACE LILY HOUSEPLANT

Having plants around has been shown to reduce stress, lower your anxiety, and raise your productivity. It’s no wonder I seem to recharge when I go for a walk.

I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but somehow I’ve managed to keep my Japanese peace lily alive. Getting it to bloom is another challenge that I want to work on, but there’s a good reason why many recommend peace lilies as a starter plant. It’s near impossible to kill.

BUY: JAPANESE PEACE LILY, PRICE VARIES AT YOUR LOCAL FLORIST

LOVE TO HEAR SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS

Anything you love that didn’t make this list? Share it in the comments below!

And in case you missed it, check out the first 50 recommendations on the list here!

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here