This Father’s Day gift guide for 2024 is inspired by old-school classics from the 40s

Father's Day gift guide is inspired by old-school classics from the 40s

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Father’s Day gift guide for 2024

Father’s Day is a great time to celebrate the dads in our lives. Ever wondered why certain gifts like neckties and aftershave have become classics? Turns out, there’s a bit of history behind these go-to presents. For over seventy years, these items, along with a variety of other gifts, have been the stars of Father’s Day — thanks to some clever advertising back in the 1940s.

Back then, advertisers pitched a range of items as perfect gifts for dads. Ties added a touch of class to any outfit, while aftershave was a daily must-have. But it didn’t stop there. Dads were also gifted things like cufflinks, wallets, and even the latest tech gadgets of the time. These gifts were practical and stylish, hitting the mark for what dads needed and wanted. The ads from that era made these products seem like the ideal choice, and that idea stuck.

1940s father in a striped jacket at ClickAmericana com

Looking at these vintage ads, you can see why these gifts became so popular. The 1940s ads were colorful and catchy, showing off the fashion and culture of the time. Besides selling the products, they sold the idea that these were the ultimate Father’s Day gifts. This association has lasted through the years, making neckties and aftershave classic choices.

Today, we can take a cue from these old favorites and find modern versions that dads will love. A sharp tie, a quality aftershave, a stylish wallet, or a sleek set of cufflinks still makes a great gift. Now, you can choose from contemporary designs and updated tech gadgets that fit today’s tastes. These updated classics mix a bit of nostalgia with modern style, making them perfect for today’s dads.

Below, we’ve curated a modern-day Father’s Day gift guide inspired by the retro classics. By choosing these time-honored gifts, you’re part of a tradition that goes back decades, honoring dads in a way that’s both classic and fresh.

THEN: Neckties

Wembley neckties for Father’s Day (1942)

Junior is showing you it’s a good idea to make sure your Father’s Day tie is a Wembley Nor-East Non-Crush. Because this imported fabric takes all sorts of punishment and fights off wrinkles.

So Dad ties it easily and smoothly, time after time… keeping him looking as smart and appealing as in his “courting” days. See “Pleasure Aisle” filled with colorful Wembley Ties at your favorite men’s shop.

Vintage Wembley neckties for Father's Day (1942)

Superba cravats and ties (1945)

How well do you know Dad?

Vintage father's day gifts - Superba cravats and ties (1945)

NOW: T-shirt subscription

These days, where business casual is so casual it might actually translate to athleisure on a Zoom meeting, t-shirts are the new tie collection — and something dad likely has more opportunity to wear anyway.

This Wohven t-shirt subscription makes a great last-minute Father’s Day gift for the modern gent who is hard to buy for! Each month he can expect to receive a new and tasteful artist-designed graphic t-shirt by mail.

wohven t-shirt subscription

THEN: Aftershave

Father’s Day gift: Old Spice aftershave and cologne (1948)

Sail into Dad’s heart

Father's Day gift Old Spice aftershave and cologne (1948)

Courtley men’s toiletries and aftershave (1948)

A great moment in masculinity… A sure hit… with Dad! A Courtley gift is the perfect gift for Father’s Day… for Courtley products express to perfection the finest in masculinity.

Vintage father's day - Courtley men's toiletries and aftershave (1948)

Courtley men’s toiletries, cologne and aftershave (1949)

You’re looking at a Father’s Day miracle! Ever see such handsome gifts for any man? For a few dollars, you give months (even years) of superlative Courtley grooming.

Courtley men's toiletries, cologne and aftershave (1949)

NOW: Personalized cologne & grooming products

Why smell like everyone else? These days, you can take an online quiz and get bespoke scent and other toiletries that are tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Take the quiz at Hawthorne and gift dad with cologne, skincare, personal care and/or grooming products that use natural ingredients and are customized just for him! $23 and up, depending on the product


THEN: Arrow broadcloth dress shirts

Father’s Day gift: Arrow Arazephyr shirts, ties and handkerchiefs (1948)

For a cool, cool Father’s Day… give Dad Arrow Arazephyrs! What an ensemble for Dad.

Father's Day gift Arrow Arazephyr shirts, ties and handkerchiefs (1948)

Now: Performance dress shirts

Although Arrow was advertising the cool breathability and anti-shrink technology of their broadcloth cotton dress shirts as far back as the 1940s, they have nothing on the technical elements of performance fabrics available today.

Modern-day performance dress shirts are suitable for dressier occasions, but offer the comfort and ease of care you’d expect from athletic wear. Dad will appreciate the stretch poplin weave with CoolMax wicking technology of this traditional-looking dress shirt from Gap.

ALSO SEE: The Gap: See 3 decades of vintage Gap clothes & and how the company started with a totally different concept


THEN: Razor blades

Bing Crosby for Personna razor blades for a Father’s Day gift (1945)

Bing Crosby says, “I’ll be a glad dad… when my four little shavers give me Personna Blades on Father’s Day!”

LIFE Jun 11, 1945 bing personna

Gillette Super Speed Razor Set (1948)

Combines instant blade changing with superior shaving comfort and double-edge economy

Old Gillette Super Speed Razor Set (1948)

NOW: Elevated grooming kits

Funny enough, when it comes to shaving, the latest trends favor traditional barbering tools and techniques. These “Barbershops in a bag” from The Art of Shaving are a great gift idea for dads who appreciate manscaping using the old ways.

the art of shaving sandalwood

THEN: Watchband replacements

Father’s Day gift: Speidel watchbands (1948)

Father's Day gift Speidel watchbands (1948)

Now: Smartwatch

Back in the day, wristwatches were more like jewelry. Nowadays, they’re more like a computer on your wrist — and the actual timekeeping functionality is the very least of their offerings.

If you’re an iPhone person, it’s hard to beat the Apple Watch for its smartwatch and fitness tracking capabilities. From $245

Otherwise, consider gifting dad something like this Garmin Vivoactive 4, a watch that tracks your health and fitness metrics, stores your Spotify playlists, and even offers animated workouts! $329

garmin vivoactive 4 smart watch

THEN: Tobacco – Cigars, cigarettes & for pipes

Father’s Day gift: Edgeworth tobacco (1942)

You gave the BEST — and that’s what counts with dad on Father’s Day.

LIFE Jun 8, 1942 tobacco

Treat him right on Father’s Day – Give him Old Golds cigarettes

Old Father's Day cigars cigarettes - Old Golds

NOW: Smoking cessation tools

Not to be a party pooper, but we strive to be a good influence! For the dad who would really like to ditch his nicotine or vaping habit, a unique smoking cessation device like the Komuso Shift may be a useful tool to have on hand. From $85

Komuso shift breathing necklace

THEN: Underwear

Father’s Day gift: Buy underwear for your dad! (1945)

Your treat this time! Give Dad the comfort he wants and the style you want. Give him casual wear from BVD!

LIFE Jun 11, 1945 ties 2

Reis sportsware and underwear (1948)

When Dad is king for a day… give him gifts fit for a king.

Reis sportsware and underwear Father's Day (1948)

Now: Eco-friendly, sustainable underwear

We don’t know about buying underwear for your dad, but maybe for your significant other who happens to be a dad?

There are a lot of modern options, but hip dads are sure to love these super-comfy boxers from Woolly. They offer the performance of synthetic fabrics — while being better for the environment — and seem befitting to the mood of the moment.

ALSO SEE: Vintage gift sets for men: After-shave, cologne & other grooming gifts for him

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. It’s interesting how many of the men in these vintage ads are smoking pipes. I suppose pipes were popular back then, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone smoke one since I was a kid in the early 1970s — and even then, they were considered old fashioned. It’s one more indicator of how styles have changed over the decades.

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