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5 fashion and gift trends to look out for Black Friday 2021

From dresses to travel bags, here are the top trends to add to your shopping list.
Illustration of a Woman holding holiday gifts in her hands, a suitcase and a baby onesie
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images

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With fall solidly here, and concerns about supply issues increasing, people are kicking off their holiday shopping earlier than ever. Which means people are already starting to plan their Black Friday 2021 wish lists.

Sure, you probably already know which big tech or hot toys you're going to scoop up, but what fashion and gift trends should you be keeping on your radar?

To help you prepare for Black Friday, we went to the experts and found their predictions on what the most sought after fashions and gift trends will be — and what you should definitely be planning to add-to-cart on a discount.

Read on to find out what products people have been searching for in the months and weeks leading up to Black Friday deals.

Travel bags

As we emerge from the pandemic and begin traveling again, even if it is just the short commute to the office, many people are finding that they need new bags.

"With more people returning to the office and traveling this year, we expect search demand to increase again this December," according to a study by Conductor, a marketing platform that specializes in search traffic. They found that searches for "Chanel bags 2021," “simply southern tote,” “bogg bag accessories” and “packing cubes for travel” have all increased by more than 1000%.

Personalized and handmade gifts

With shipping delays, people are planning ahead and shopping earlier, which provides plenty of time to seek out handmade, personalized gifts.

"A personalized gift makes people feel like you really took that extra step to get it just for them," style expert Jasmine Snow told TODAY. Some of her favorite personalized presents include embroidered scarves and pajamas, or even name plate jewelry.

"Start supporting your favorite Etsy boutique and signing up for their newsletter," style expert Melissa Chataigne told TODAY. She predicts there will be a big push for goods such as pottery and candles this holiday season.

Cocktail and wedding guest dresses

The year 2020 was one of cancellations and postponements, and weddings were no exception. With couples finally able to tie the knot in 2021, there has been a surge in searches for cocktail dresses and other wedding attire.

Searches for terms like “formal wedding guest dresses,” “cocktail & party dresses,” “semi formal attire wedding,” “cocktail dresses for weddings" and “dress for a wedding guest” increased by 200%, while searches for more brand and celebrity specific "cocktail dresses for weddings" increased by 1000% since 2020, according to the conductor study.

Baby and toddler clothing

Though Black Friday is known for its amazing appliance and tech sales, experts predict that shoppers will be searching for deals on baby and toddler clothing. According to Conductor, there have been steady increases in searches for baby and toddler clothing.

"Some amazing brands always have fantastic sales this time of year," Snow said. "It’s the time to stock up on holiday jammies, matching sets for the kids (or the whole family!), and sweet dressed up holiday wear."

Self care essentials

"This year, as a country we have endured a lot and therefore I believe gifts will be more sentimental and focused towards self care, pampering, wellness and fitness," said Chataigne.

While beauty products are great gift options for self care, fitness is also stealing the spotlight this holiday season.

"With the spread of Covid still strong, a lot of people still want to hit their fitness goals, but from the comfort of their home," said Chataigne. "Whether it be Peloton, JaxJox or Beachbody, giving the gift of fitness is a huge trend this holiday season."

How much will people spend this Black Friday?

In 2020, Black Friday transformed from a sprint into a marathon, with retailers extending deals for a full week. With Covid-19 variants, global shipping delays and labor shortages, the shopping holiday will likely be a season-long extravaganza, especially with retailers like Amazon, Target and Best Buy already announcing early Black Friday-esque deals.

Despite predictions of a dip in spending due to the pandemic, last years overall spending was $14.13 billion, an increase from 2019. This year, there are predictions that spending might hit $17 billion.

Shoppers, however, might not be spending their money just on big name retailers known for their doorbuster deals.

"With huge shipping delays shoppers will be shopping earlier and will return to supporting small businesses because the fancy tech gifts may not be available," Chataigne said. "The tip here is to shop early!"

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