expert-approved gifts

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

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Even though the holidays are still a few months away, the trendiest of gifts won’t just sit on shelves until you’re ready to grab (or order) them. But in a year when we’ve all been mostly stuck at home — and not out in the world seeing what people are wearing or using or buying — it’s harder to know what, exactly, those must-have items even are. That’s where we come in.

Every year around this time, we call up trend forecasters to find out about the holiday gifts they predict will be the most popular for men and women. To help identify the gifts that discerning men will be buying (and asking for) this year, we spoke to a panel of forecasters: Lindsey Smecker, an analyst at ESP Trendlab; Noah Zagor, the North American menswear editor at WGSN; Brian Trunzo, fashion director at Informa Markets; Fashion Snoops menswear editor Jason Kress and men’s accessories editor Amelia Ansink; Sharon Graubard, the creative director at MintModa; and Hannah Polskin, a vice president at consumer, culture, and creativity think tank TOBETDG. Below, the men’s clothes and accessories, shoes, tech and gear, grooming and wellness products, and home and pantry goods they say to buy before they sell out.

Clothes and accessories

Nike ACG Vest

Perhaps not surprisingly, cold-weather basics and activewear with utilitarian details were repeatedly cited by the forecasters as the most covetable clothes among guys this year. Smecker says that utility vests with pockets for storing our new essentials like face masks and hand sanitizer are a particularly trendy item, as much for their “protective” qualities as their “dystopian aesthetic.” She specifically cites these two vests with plenty of pockets as standout options.

Photo: retailer

Polskin agrees that utility vests are rising in popularity “as the urban exodus takes hold and people choose the country over densely populated areas.” If you want to splurge on one, she directed us to the latest collaboration between Snow Peak (a brand we’ve heard a lot about from outdoorsy folks and other forecasters in the past) and New Balance, which she says is perfectly suited to the trend.

According to Trunzo, gorpcore — the now-standard term for wearing outdoors gear as fashion (