A Trend Forecaster on Men’s Gifts to Buy Before They Sell Out

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First off, we know: It’s early to talk about holiday gifts. But if you want to get your hands on the very best stuff — the stuff that’ll disappear long before December — you have to move fast. Last year, we talked to an expert at trend-forecasting agency WGSN about the best gifts to buy ahead of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday crush, and this year, we’re drilling it down even further by talking to forecasters in various categories to find out what will sell out for men, in women’s fashion and beauty, and gifts for the house and home (see our kids’ toys and games to buy right now, too). First up, a chat with WGSN senior menswear editor Brian Trunzo on men’s gifts to buy before they sell out.

Vans has actually had this unprecedented rise in relevance with cool teens and fashion insiders and just regular folks. What’s really huge right now for them are the Sk8-Hi and the Old Skool. North Face, which is huge right now, too, is actually doing a collaboration with them this holiday on Sk8-His and Old Skools, which of course lifts the profile of even the regular versions. You can’t buy those yet, but if you can get your hands on them, that’d be a big deal.

We’re still not over athleisure. If you’ve been following it, you may be tired of it, but it’s getting to the point where athleisure is just interchangeable with regular men’s clothing. Where before it was a nice-to-have, now it’s just a must-have. A really great, buttery hoodie in cashmere, like one from Massimo Alba or Everlane, would be something coveted.

Smart luggage has been fascinating to watch as a category because it just hits all the sweet spots you want a gift to hit — it’s nice design plus functionality plus 21st-century technology plus that jet-set lifestyle that anyone who’s a professional (or even not) would love to have. Right now, it’s Away and Raden really going head-to-head, but there will be more.

Editors’ note: This is Adriana Lima’s favorite carry-on luggage, too.

Ivy League styles are actually really coming back now for men. We take a look at runways and street style and trade shows and deliberate about what’s going on in the world of trends, and what’s been bubbling lately is the rugby shirt. There’s this brand called Noah that makes a great one, and Acne (which is always ahead of the curve) had a great campaign of these dual-father households wearing rugby shirts cross-generationally. The rugby shirts they were wearing in that campaign will be hot.

Lands’ End does a great classic rugby shirt, too.

For a nostalgic guy: The Super NES Classic has already sold 2 million units, and Nintendo is saying it’ll produce more in time for the holidays. The NES Classic was impossible to get last year, and it’s looking like the SNES will be easier, though we will see. It’s loaded with 21 games, but you can hack it to put even more games on it. [Editors’ note: For a brief moment yesterday, the Super NES Classic was available at Target, though it has now sold out. We will update the link when it’s back in stock, but for now, you can get it on Amazon at a markup from its $80 MSRP that’s still less than the $200-some sellers are still asking for the NES Classic.]

Knitted sneakers are still huge. From Nike Flyknit to Adidas Primeknit to Balenciaga to Vuitton, everyone is doing a knitted sneaker. It really all started with the Flyknit in 2012, and now the style is everywhere. It’s good for an athlete or a fashionista — super on trend.

We’re also seeing a real uptick in corduroy styles, and what we’re calling sartorial skate style, where guys wear relaxed canvas pants with Vans and then mix in some Donegal or tweed or corduroy. It’s something your 70-year-old dad or Gen-Xer or Gen-Zer would understand. Prada did a lot of it this season — it had a countryside-shooter feel — and you’ll see a lot of that trickle when Prada leads the charge.

Most recently, the Google Pixel buds were released, and what’s funny is that at the latest conference when Google was doing all of its unveiling, the Pixel was sort of tucked away at the back, and they didn’t make a big deal about it at all, but it’s pretty revolutionary. They’re regular earbuds that play nicely with all of your devices, but what’s incredible is that it does real-time translation of up to 40 languages. And it can also translate what you’re saying in up to 40 languages. It’s set to change the world.

Any sort of nostalgia will work when it comes to fashion items. So when you think of the ’90s, it’s all about anorak pullovers in varsity colors. Something that plays into that grunge or punk skater era will be big.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Trend Forecaster on Men’s Gifts to Buy Before They Sell Out