Sail Couture Holiday Gift Guide!

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Still searching for that special something for the stylish sailor on your list? Fear not, sail couture is here with some suggestions sure to please!

One of my favorite gifts to give or receive is the iconic Mariniere, the original striped French sailors’ shirt favored by so many chic people over the years.  When you sport a Mariniere you join the ranks of Audrey Hepbern, Pablo Picasso, James Dean and more recently Emmanuelle Alt, Alexa Chung and Jean Paul Gaultier.  To learn more about the effortless elegance of the Mariniere or Breton as it’s sometimes called, click here.

the saint james binic II - photo: saint james

the saint james binic II – photo: saint james

the saint james maree - photo: saint james

the saint james maree – photo: saint james

I particularly like the version by Saint James, a 125-year-old company based in Normandy. It’s historic, authentic and French. Je t’adore!


the corinthian yacht club, bevedere tiburon, ca – photo: corinthian yacht club

Locally, the ship’s store at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Belvedere Tiburon, CA has a great selection of Saint James sweaters and tees.


good things come in orange boxes!

Hermes has always been one of my favorite holiday shopping destinations.  The colorful and imaginative window displays there are sure to inspire and I firmly believe the perfect gift always can be found in one of their little orange boxes. When visiting a store isn’t possible, their captivating website is only a click away.  There you see a world of Hermes gift options mixed with the most charming illustrations ever by the talented Alice Charbin.  I lose total track of time on the site.

hermes spinnakers scarf - photo: hermes

hermes spinnakers scarf – photo: hermes

This year I’m in love with Hermes Spinnakers hand rolled silk twill scarf, what an ideal gift for your sailor girl.  The design features a regatta scene in the center spreading out to multiple ballooning spinnakers finished with rigging detail along the edge.

hermes spinnakers scarves - photo: hermes

hermes spinnakers scarves – photo: hermes

It’s wonderful how the Hermes website shows how the scarf looks both flat and also tied in different ways.  I particularly like how Spinnakers looks when worn around the neck, as a top and as a belt.

My Hermes sailor guy gift pick would be the Yachting or Le Harve cufflinks.  I’m on a personal mission to bring cufflinks back in the United States. Being based in tech-focused and oh-so-casual San Francisco, it’s a challenge to be sure. But there is just something about a man in French cuffs…  Women love them, take note men!

hermes yachting cufflinks - photo: hermes

hermes yachting cufflinks – photo: hermes

hermes le harve cufflinks - photo: hermes

hermes le harve cufflinks – photo: hermes

The Yachting cufflinks feature a stylized anchor in silver with bright blue or red lacquer and the Le Harve are silver anchor chain link forms.  They are the male companion to the beautiful Chaine d’Ancre necklace and bracelet I’ve written about previously.

the hermes scarf: history & mystique by nadine coleno

the hermes scarf: history & mystique by nadine coleno

A final Hermes gift suggestion is must for any scarf lover, The Hermes Scarf: History & Mystique by Nadine Coleno. I received it as a gift several years ago and it is one of my favorite coffee table books ever.  The scarf illustrations are gorgeous and it’s fascinating to learn about the origins of this most iconic of accessories.

west marine blacktip big catch fishing shirt - photo: west marine

west marine blacktip big catch fishing shirt – photo: west marine

I head to West Marine for active sailing presents.  Surprisingly, one of the most popular wasn’t designed for sailing at all.  It’s called the Black Tip Big Catch Fishing Shirt.  You needn’t be an angler to appreciate its cool technical features though.  Men love the flapped cargo pockets, lanyard loops and ventilated back. All that coupled with the shirt’s soft cotton and UPF 30+ make it a real winner.  My sailor guy has one in each color.  It’s great for a day on the boat or a casual dinner out.

The Big Catch evokes a bit of a Hermingway-esque vibe too, what a great way to help your guy channel his inner Papa!


Last year I discovered the fab Canadian activewear brand Lole at West Marine and while I haven’t seen it there for a while, Lole is certainly worth seeking out wherever it may be. I adore their sportswear, particularly the pants. While other companies offer moister wicking, four way stretch, wrinkle free and UPF 50+, few do it in such an appealing form.  I love the cut and how the stretchy fabric hugs my body in a flattering way – often a challenge for sailing attire.  I consider Lole a real find.

sailing the bay by kimball livingston - photo: amazon

sailing the bay by kimball livingston – photo: amazon

Sailing the Bay by Kimball Livingston, is the seminal sailing survey of San Francisco Bay and is a great book idea.  It’s full of wit and wisdom from his years of sailing here and is quite enjoyable to read. The America’s Cup has generated a lot of interest in sailing San Francisco and this book is a perfect gift for anyone planning a trip or for a local who would like to know the bay a bit better.


If you are thinking of a gift of the vine, you really can’t go wrong with bubbly. I’d suggest Veuve Cliquot. I just love the yeasty toasty notes with that hint of vanilla and the yellow label is so cheery and festive.  The rose format adds a bit of elegance with its sophisticated berry notes and pretty pink label. The house’s grand cru, La Grande Dame, is a lesson in champagne complexity being both crisp and voluptuous.  It’s a welcome gift for even the most discerning.  Finally, how can a sailor not love a champagne house that chose to incorporate anchor in its logo?


If the recipient is a real red fan, I can think of no better choice than Silver Oak.  It’s the California Cabernet gold standard for me.  It’s subtle and elegant, yet with plenty of cherry and spice.  It’s tasted fabulous each and every time I’ve had it, which is quite a track record given the amount of wine I drink.  Silver Oak is a cabernet you can give with complete confidence – and hope will be opened while you visit.

If you are a fan of boutique producers or are just embracing the “shop small” movement, you’ll want to check out some of my bubbly recommendations from last year here.

kermit lynch adventures on the wine route

A great wine book gift would be the 25th Anniversary Edition of Kermit Lynch’s Adventures on the Wine Route.  It’s an entertaining read and offers an accurate peak inside the wine business, not just the romanticized part.  It’s fun to tag along as Kermit travels through the Loire, Bordeaux, Provence and more buying wine and pursuing his dream.

calypso st. barth marrakech silk caftan

calypso st. barth marrakech silk caftan

calypso st. barth darlona paillette silk dress

calypso st. barth darlona paillette silk dress

I’ve saved the best for last…  It’s actually a two-part gift for the romantics out there.  Step one involves a visit to Calypso St. Barth. Walking into the store is like a breath of fresh air, actually a warm Caribbean breeze.  The clothing is a magical collection of elegant boho chic.  There is so much to love, though the Marrakech Silk Caftan and Darlona Paillette Silk Dress particularly speak to me.

a color palette to inspire... island vaca anyone?

a color palette to inspire… island vaca anyone?

Choose a few pieces that speak to you or your intended and then you are ready for step two, two tickets for an island getaway of course!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little guide; please share any additions you have. Happy holidays and much love!

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