Gift Ideas for a Mid-Century Modern Boyfriend

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Age: 43

Place: Austin, Texas

Relationship: boyfriend

From the gift-giver:

Loves: movies, cocktails, cycling, anime, Fallout (video game), physics, Nikolai Tesla (he's an electrical engineer by training, consultant to microchip designers by profession). He loves doing iPhone photography, but I bought him some really nice lenses for that before, and he never uses them. He loves mid-century style and wouldn't mind if his house looked like a Mad Men set and/or his wardrobe did! His favorite comic book writer/illustrator is Alex Ross. He has two children: a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. His favorite color is the deep orangey-red of an intense sunset. He's obsessed with taking photos of sunsets. He makes a lot of money and buys himself anything he wants. (Well, anything that I could actually afford to buy him, anyway!)

Any gift they’ve loved?

His daughter bought him a vest for Christmas last year—a gray suit vest with four buttons and he wears it all the time under his jackets. He loves wearing jackets in winter.

We recommend: graphic novel painted by one of his favorites ($99.99)

Your boyfriend sounds very visually oriented from your description, so it's not surprising he's an Alex Ross fan. DC Comics publishes its "Absolute" series of high-quality collections of their most popular comic storylines, so I'd suggest getting Absolute Justice. Ross's paintings for Justice are among his finest, and even if he already owns these issues, this collection features them in a larger-than-the-original hardcover that's both more durable and more readable than their first printing.

Other ideas:

Got another suggestion for this recipient? Send your ideas to