A personal shopper shares 7 hotlist items that people really want for the holidays

A blue banner with small snowflakes in the background and white print that says How to Holiday, Presented by Capital One
Christmas presents near a decorated tree
Celebrity stylist and image consultant Amanda Sanders shared her top picks this holiday season. Royalty-free/Getty Images
  • Celebrity stylist, image consultant, and personal shopper Amanda Sanders shared the most coveted gifts this holiday season. 
  • Functional sweater dresses and Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses are among the top fancied presents. 
  • This article is part of the “How to Holiday” series, which highlights the best ways to embrace and prepare for the festive season.


Some shoppers might scramble to find the perfect gift for their family and friends each year, but a celebrity stylist and personal shopper shared which presents are must-haves with Insider.
Amanda Sanders, a celebrity stylist, fashion consultant, and personal shopper, poses in a blue dress.
Amanda Sanders has worked with a number of celebrities throughout her long career. Courtesy of Amanda Sanders
The winter holiday season is a time for pumpkin spice lattes, festive home decorations, and — of course — gifts. Finding the perfect present for family and friends can be a daunting, frantic task, but Insider spoke to celebrity stylist Amanda Sanders, a fashion consultant and personal shopper based in New York City, about what gifts shoppers are grabbing this year. 

Sanders has worked in the industry for nearly 20 years with celebrity clients like Jamie Foxx, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Goldblum.

 

Say goodbye to the traditional holiday cocktail dress and hello to functional sweater dresses.
The Ted Baker Cable Sweater Dress ad the Polo Ralph Lauren Wool-Cashmere Sweater Dress
Ted Baker’s cable sweater dress costs $US295 ($AU406) (left), while Ralph Lauren’s wool-cashmere sweater dress costs $US348 ($AU479) (right). Courtesy of Ted Baker and Polo Ralph Lauren
According to Sanders, the COVID-19 pandemic caused shoppers to prioritize comfortability, and repurpose the items in their closets rather than buy one-off outfits. 

“I think a lot of women would like a functional holiday dress that’s not just a cocktail dress,” Sanders told Insider. “It might be a knit dress they can wear to the office, but they can also wear it for a holiday party by changing accessories.” 

Sanders added that she had acquired more sweater dresses for clients this season than in years past and noted that shoppers are incorporating maxi dresses — typically worn in the summer — into their winter style arsenal.

A wool-cashmere sweater dress from Ralph Lauren costs $US348 ($AU479) and a similar one from Ted Baker costs $US295 ($AU406), while Zara offers lower-priced options for as low as $US39 ($AU54). 

People are spending more time at home making scented candles, a thoughtful and easy gift.
Wild Mint & Eucalyptus Candle sold by Nest
Home decor gifts are perfect as people continue to spend time indoors. Nest
Sanders said that her clients have sought more home decor gifts this year as people stay indoors. 

“Whether it’s clothing or home decor, they want things that are tactile, feel warm, and have a sense of security,” Sanders said. 

Sanders pointed to candles like Nest’s Wild Mint & Eucalyptus Classic Candle priced at $US44 ($AU61). She added that Bed Bath & Beyond also sells candles for under $US25 ($AU34). 

Get cozy near the fireplace with cashmere or faux fur throw blankets.
Throw blankets sold by Pottery Barn
sells faux fur and cashmere blankets at an affordable price. Pottery Barn
Cashmere and faux fur throw blankets are other home decor gifts shoppers are placing in their checkout baskets, Sanders told Insider. 

Restoration Hardware always has beautiful ones. You can even get $US20 ($AU28) to $US30 ($AU41) ones at Bed Bath & Beyond. It just depends on what you want to spend,” she said. 

Sanders shared that Pottery Barn also sells throw blankets that won’t make a large dent in your wallet. The company’s grey Ridgeline Sherpa Back Throw is currently on sale for $US28 ($AU39).

Loungewear boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, so athleisure footwear is a trendy gift.
The Adidas by Stella McCartney Treino Mid-Cut Shoes
The by Stella McCartney Treino mid-cut shoes cost $US200 ($AU275). Adidas
While Sanders noted that some shoppers are pulling away from loungewear styles, athleisure footwear is still a hot commodity. 

She explained that her clients are drawn to designer, high-end athleisure footwear like the $US590 ($AU812) Alexander McQueen oversized sneaker.

Sanders continued that athleisure footwear — not to be confused with traditional athletic shoes — can be worn around the house, in the office, or paired with stylish ensembles like suits.

Luxury athleisure footwear is being adopted by companies like Adidas and sold at a lower price. Adidas by Stella McCartney Treino mid-cut shoes cost $US200 ($AU275). 

Clogs and mules are a popular choice this season as the fashion industry embraces Birkenstock-style footwear.
Screenshot of Chanel's Suede Calfskin & Shearling Sheepskin Black clogs
Clogs can be worn while walking indoors or outdoors. Chanel
Sanders noted that clogs and mules resemble slippers, an item that saw a boost amid the pandemic. 

“I would say everybody’s wearing something as reasonable as a fleece Birkenstock to a more expensive Chanel clog,” Sanders said. “A lot of the bigger fashion houses like Bottega are making $US1,000 ($AU1,375) versions of $US200 ($AU275) Birkenstocks in cashmere, wools, and leathers with real fur on the inside of them.”

High-end clogs from Chanel with suede calfskin and shearling sheepskin are priced at $US1,150 ($AU1,582). Thrifty shoppers can grab fleece Birkenstocks for $US150 ($AU206). 

Sweatsuits are having a moment as Gen Z’s love for early 2000s fashion trends continues to grow in the pandemic.
Ralph Lauren Washable Belted Cashmere Cardigan
‘s washable belted cashmere cardigan costs $US295 ($AU406). Ralph Lauren
Sanders told Insider the “nap gown that everybody was wearing in and out of their house is no more.”

Instead, clients and shoppers have gravitated toward sweatsuits designed with cashmere and other comfortable material. She noted that her clients have enjoyed Ralph Lauren’s washable cashmere. 

Ralph Lauren sells its washable belted cashmere cardigan for $US295 ($AU406) and accompanying wide-leg pants for $US295 ($AU406). Thrifty shoppers can also snag Summersalt’s cashmere blend jogger for $US95 ($AU131).

 

Tech enthusiasts will enjoy the Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses that features built-in speakers and a camera.
The Ray-Ban Stories
The Ray-Ban Stories feature built-in audio and an instant camera. Courtesy of Ray-Ban
Ray-Ban’s new smart glasses debuted in September in partnership with Meta and EssilorLuxottica. 

The smart glasses allow users to capture photos and video, listen to music, and answer phone calls wirelessly alongside built-in speakers. Users can use the capture button or go hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands. 

Sanders called this a “universal” gift that is priced at $US299 ($AU411).