Every year, the answer is eerily similar. Ask Dad what he wants for Father’s Day, and the response is a half-hearted request for socks and underwear. Even worse is the shoulder shrug followed by “I don’t really need anything this year.” Father’s Day is an opportunity to treat dad to something that he normally wouldn’t pick up for himself. He may claim he doesn’t need anything, but chances are he’d like to get his hands on one of these gifts.
iHome Retro Boombox : Dad’s 1980s cassette-fueled boombox gets a sleek, modern update and finally lets him listen to Neil Diamond’s “Greatest Hits” album in digital quality through his iPhone or iPod. Bonus, it can run on batteries, just like the old days. $199 at www.ihomeaudio.com and at www.bestbuy.com.
“Dads Are the Original Hipsters” by Brad Getty
: The author of the blog of the same name lays out all the reasons why your dad was cool before you were, and provides evidence in the form of hilarious photographs. Think side-swept hair, thick-rimmed glasses, and, of course, skinny jeans. $12.95 at Barnes & Noble, Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 617-247-6959 (also in Chestnut Hill and Braintree), www.barnesand
Fred Perry Tipped Placket shirt : This cotton pique shirt will help update dad’s wardrobe with a touch of British flair. Dad may not play tennis, but the shirt will fool people into thinking he can volley with the best of them. $95 at Fred Perry, 301 Newbury St., 857-233-4698, www.fredperry.us.
Gucci Guilty Pour Homme : You can buy Dad any old cologne for Father’s Day, or you can buy him a scent with prestige. Gucci Guilty won the Fragrance Foundation’s award for best Luxe Men scent last month. $60 for 1.6 oz eau de toilette at Bloomingdale’s, Chestnut Hill Mall, 225 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-630-6000, www.bloomingdales.com.
Telephoto lens for iPhone 4 or 4S: The tiny iPhone telephoto lens allows an iPhone to take photos eight times closer. Because it’s rare for anyone to drag around both a camera and a phone, the telephoto lens is the compromise that lets Dad get better shots at the Saturday morning soccer game. The lens comes with a case and collapsible tripod. $35 at photo
Straw hat: In the event that your father is starting to get a bit thin on top — or has already gone completely Howie Mandel — this hat will help shade that delicate pate this summer. $9.95 at H&M, 350 Washington St.,
617-482-7001, (also Newbury Street and other Boston-area
Bulldog money box: A decided upgrade from the old glass jar where Dad keeps his change, this chic update on the piggy bank helps keep coins organized in a metallic, ceramic version of man’s best friend. $55 at Ted Baker London, 201 Newbury St., 617-450-8339, www.tedbaker
Boston Red Sox soft-side cooler: The embroidered logo on the side of this cooler will ensure all of Dad’s friends know his favorite team — as if it’s even a question in these parts. The Coleman cooler holds 12 cans and an internal ice pocket keeps his favorite ale cold. $22.49 at Boston-area Kohl’s stores, 855-564-5705, and at www.kohls.com.
Smathers & Branson bus wallet: For the preppy Dad who wants something a bit more interesting than a money clip or a staid brown bi-fold, Club Monaco’s bus wallet is stitched by hand from Smathers & Branson, the company best known for its belts. $115 at Club Monaco, Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 617-262-2658, www.club
Philips Norelco Senso-
Touch 3D shaver : Those men who drool over the latest and greatest will swoon at this wet/dry razor that provides 20 days of shaving time when fully charged and pivots around, tilts inward, and flexes outward to adjust to the contours of Dad’s face. $249 at Boston-area Bed, Bath & Beyond stores, 800-462-3966, www.bedbathandbeyond
Bookman Light : The minimalist, Swedish design of this bike light won’t slow down your cycling father, and will keep him safe and visible to traffic at the same time. The LED lights are available in multiple colors and beam white in the front and red in the back. $29 at Abodeon, 1731 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-0137, www.abodeon.com.
Lacoste flag polo: These limited edition shirts will help Dad show his allegiance to his favorite country during the upcoming Olympics. Or, they’ll just make him look cool. The shirts are available for several countries, including the US, of course. $135-$165 at Lacoste, Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 617-437-1081, www.lacoste
New Balance 890v2 running shoes
: These sharp-looking sneakers could serve as a subtle hint to Dad that his tired white gym shoes may be ready for the trash. They also might encourage Dad to get back on that long-forgotten fitness regime. $109.99 at New Balance,
583 Boylston St., 617-266-1583, www.newbalanceboston.com.
Corbin sunglasses: Not that there’s anything wrong with those drugstore sunglasses that Dad leaves on the dashboard, but these Banana Republic shades will elevate your father’s coolness quotient significantly. $78 at Banana Republic, 28 Newbury St. 617-267-3933, and Boston-area locations,
Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.