expert-approved gifts

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

Photo-Illustration: retailers

While you might just be starting to think about holiday shopping, it’s never too early to scoop up some of the more in-demand gifts of the season — especially during a year when online orders are at a high and the mail is moving slowly. For the past few years, we’ve talked to trend forecasters about the holiday gifts they suspect will be especially popular for women and men, and even likely to sell out. Last holiday season, we heard about “sloungewear” and “two-mile wear,” loungewear-focused trends that, unsurprisingly, are back and more expansive than ever this year. To find out what other pieces will be big for women’s gifts this holiday season, we called up a panel of expert trend forecasters, including WGSN womenswear senior strategist Laura Yiannakou; WGSN associate accessories and footwear editor Ana Correa; Fashion Snoops vice president and creative director of womenswear Melissa Moylan; Fashion Snoops accessories director Hallie Spradlin; and forecasters from consumer, culture, and creativity think tank TOBETDG.

Loungewear in soothing tones

Photo: retailer

Unsurprisingly, the spring, summer, and fall of loungewear will be followed by a winter of loungewear, according to our forecasters. “We’ve been living in sweatpants, and that’s going to continue,” says Fashion Snoops’ Melissa Moylan. One line she suspects will be especially popular is Kim Kardashian’s Skims — specifically, the Skims Waffle Jogger (which, as predicted, is currently sold out). This pair of ribbed leggings is still in stock, though, and has a similar vibe, but, like all things in Skims World, it’s likely to go quickly (and has already started selling out in some sizes). If you’re thinking of gifting these, you’ll want to order early — and consider some of the other items in Skims’ loungewear collection, like the waffle leggings and long-sleeved shirts.

Those who have been following the Great Sweatpants Renaissance of 2020 will probably be familiar with Entireworld’s Loop Back Sweatsuit by now. They’re known to sell out as soon as they restock — so shop and early and quickly if you want to snag matching pieces. “I think Entireworld’s sweatsuits are really uplifting because of the colors they come in,” says Moylan, who put the sweatsuit securely on her list of items likely to sell out this holiday season.

According to Lindsey Smecker, principal trend and marketing director at ESP Trendlab, loungewear pieces from Pangaia — a brand whose collections always sell out quickly — are likely to be in high demand this holiday season. The company satisfies two recent trends in fashion: clothing that is sustainable and clothing that is unisex. “Their garments consist of organic cotton, recycled materials, and environmentally friendly dyes, all in beautiful, trending colors,” Smecker says. The “fern green” shade of the hoodie is another reason she thinks this one may go quickly. “Pangaia’s newest ‘forest collection’ is inspired by plants,” she told us. “And this organic greenery color family has been trending for several seasons now.”

Photo: retailer

Yiannakou notes that “inactivewear” — clothes based on being inactive, rather than active — is particularly popular right now. This includes housecoats and housedresses (more on housedresses below), like these from Off Hours, says Yiannakou. (Not to mention that it looks like a duvet you can wear, in the best way.)

(Comfortable) festive wear

Both the WGSN and Fashion Snoops forecasters told us that they think because holiday gatherings will look so different this year, so too will holiday dressing. “We think the sweater dress is going to be a really big one,” says Moylan. “The Nanushka one is at a higher price point, but I love it because it has that relaxed, slouchy silhouette to it — and as we saw with the Skims example, it’s available in these neutral tones that are also approachable and highly commercial.” Moylan says this Song of Style dress is likely to be popular, too (and is already sold out in some sizes) for its comfortable wrap style, warm colors, and “lower price point.”

If you do want to give something a bit more dressed up, Yiannakou points to a trend the firm has identified as the “dressing down of occasionwear” — meaning that the most in-demand party dresses will have a lot in common with the summer’s popular housedresses. “Cecilie Bahnsen’s and Avavav’s in particular are going to sell out very quickly,” she says. As will those from dress purveyor Hill House Home, we suspect.

Protective outerwear

Photo: retailer

You really can’t go wrong with gifting a puffer — and especially this year, according to Moylan. “Right now more than ever, consumers are aligned with this mentality of ‘What can we do to keep ourselves warm while social distancing outside?’ As such, we’re seeing that women’s ready-to-wear is becoming especially influenced by outdoor performance or utility.” Uniqlo’s Cocoon parkas regularly sell out during the winter (multiple Strategist staffers bought them after their most recent restock), so if you have your eye on a specific color or size, snap it up now.

Photo: retailer

A slightly “softer” version of Uniqlo’s Cocoon parka, this “Seamless” style is new and will be popular, says Moylan. “We’re calling it a kind of ‘soft puffer,’ in that it’s not the big chunky quilts, and it’s a bit softened and less aggressive than some of the styles that are really inspired by outdoorwear.”

Slip-on shoes and slippers

“Two-mile” footwear marches on this holiday season, according to the WGSN forecasters. “The trend has been super-relevant since last year, and the demand for these sorts of styles has only accelerated,” says Correa. Similar to last year’s quilted North Face slip-ons, the Tevas Ember Convertible Slip-On is likely to be a hit this year. “The Teva version is cheaper, and that kind of ‘coffee shoe’ is going to sell quickly for sure,” Correa adds.

Birkenstock clogs will be everywhere, too, according to the WGSN forecasters and Spradlin. The clogs also fit the “two-mile wear” description: “These are a style you can wear at home, but also to run quick errands,” says Correa. (Not surprisingly, Birkenstock Bostons were a favorite of the stylish guys we asked about the best slides — and are predicted to be a big holiday gift for men, too.)

“Something we’re expecting to be popular and exploring as a category is ‘mood boosters,’” says Spradln. “We’re all going through this really tumultuous time so we need things that are going to make us feel happy,” like these joyful cow-print slides from Brother Vellies. “This is an easy slip-on for going down the block to do laundry or to the grocery store, and they’re a great alternative to just your normal slip-on.” These came up when we talked to WGSN forecasters, too, and have already been sold out and restocked — so if you’re eyeing them as a gift (or for yourself) shop quickly.

“At the beginning of all of this, we spent a lot of time in sweatpants, but now with winter coming, I think we actually want to feel more dressed up,” says Correa. Enter what will likely be one of the season’s most popular gifts: “the luxurious house slipper.” Correa says that these are “not your typical slipper,” and points to brands like Sleeper, Birdies, and Oysho for pairs that are a bit more elegant than your typical UGGs.

“Modular” bags

With less activity during the day, Correa says, people are shopping for small bags that only hold the essentials. For the holidays, Correa told us that modular items like Bandolier’s phone sling, Anya Hindmarch’s hand sanitizer on a strap, and Want Les Essentiels compact bags will make for in-demand gifts.

Spradlin also suggested gifting a waistbag this holiday season — and better yet, if it’s in a neutral shade to match your neutral loungewear. She calls this rust color a “really comforting and nourishing neutral” (and notes that for the more graphically inclined, the bag is also available in a very 2020 Yin Yang design, as well.)

It wouldn’t be a list of gifts likely to sell out without one of the most reliably sold-out accessories of 2020: the Telfar Shopping bag. Dubbed “the Bushwick Birkin,” the bag is carried by everyone from Solange to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “I can’t not include the Telfar bag,” says Spradlin. “This was the ‘It’ bag of the season, it’s always sold out and people are setting timers on their phones for when they restock — so this is going to be a really important piece during the holiday season.” [Editor’s note: The Telfar Shopping Bag is currently sold out.]

“Mood-boosting” and DIY-esque gifts

Keeping with the “mood-boosting” shoe trend, Spradlin says accessories that add some cheer to at-home outfits will be especially relevant gifts to give at the end of a difficult year. “La Manso has been on our radar as a brand to keep up with,” she says. “I call these ‘Gotta have them all’ rings — you can collect them in different colors, they’re all made of recycled plastic, and they’re each one of a kind.”

Photo: 19-05-30 kellymoreiro AM1 B4 cor

DIY-inspired and hand-crafted gifts will be very popular this season, according to Correa — likely thanks to the early-quarantine burst of interest in knitting and beading. She points to brands like Venessa Arizaga, which makes charm and letter bracelets similar to what you might have made at summer camp, and Zany Chains, a NYC-based designer offering handmade beaded mask chains (unfortunately, Zany Chains’ mask chains are currently all sold out, but this seed-bead number from Roxanne Assoulin has a similar look.)

Both the WGSN and Fashion Snoops forecasters told us that layered gold and silver necklaces will be also be big this year. They’re sentimental, Correa says, and while they’ve been in style for a while now, they’ve now become an important part of what she’s calling “above the keyboard dressing.” And the ones with charms play into a larger trend in holiday giving this year: items that impart a sense of security. “Certain items like zodiac signs or protective charms are really on the rise,” she says.

AirPods were one of last year’s biggest gifts — and Correa says they’ll likely be popular this year, too. There will also “definitely be a jump in AirPod accessories this year.” She says the ones to get now are more fun than your typical square case: “This is a great opportunity for prints, different materials, and novelty shapes.” Casetify’s and Mark and Graham’s customizable AirPod holders tap into another trend many of our forecasters said will be big this year: all things monogrammed and personalized. According to Correa, the popularity of personalized gifts is related to the DIY trend.

These lamps are set up in pairs — if you tap one, the other (no matter how far away) will light up. Mood-boosting technology and gifts that help people feel more connected will be huge this year, according to Smecker. This lamp can be purchased as a set of two from Urban Outfitters (though it is currently backordered until November 26) or individually from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Minimalist underwear and maximalist socks

The emphasis on comfort extends to underwear, too. According to TOBE, the most popular lingerie to gift this season will be from brands like CUUP, whose pieces are made from streamlined mesh and modal and come in those very 2020 neutral tones of earthy moss, taupe, and “salt.” As Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson wrote in her review of start-up company bras, “With a tastefully curated Instagram presence and millennial-friendly colors like dusty sage and red clay, Cuup makes some of the most aesthetically pleasing bras among the start-ups I tried.”

“We’re also seeing mood-boosting socks,” says Spradlin. “Instead of basic socks, you want entertaining colors and exciting things to wear — tie-dye has been so huge during COVID, and I don’t think that’s going to be going away. Plus, they add a little something to a neutral sweatsuit.”

And for the person who’s over tie-dye: “The famous Brother Vellies Cloud Sock, which is the coziest sock ever,” says Spradling. “They come in so many colors, which again gives you the mix-and-matchability. They’re perfect for a stocking.”

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Trend Forecasters on Women’s Gifts to Buy Now