The Top 3 Must-Have Brands For 2021, According To The RealReal

These will also be your investment pieces.

by Danielle Naer
Originally Published: 
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A person wearing plaid pants and holding a blue Gucci Marmont bag.
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Your first instinct to discover what products are trending for the season might be to scour the runways or the new arrivals sections of your favorite retailers. However another less obvious, but genius, method of investigation is to look at the resale market for clues on what's popular. By analyzing shoppers' behaviors, such as their spending habits throughout the year, luxury consignment retailers like The RealReal are able to determine important data like the top three must-have brands for 2021 and what nostalgic trends will make a comeback. Here, The RealReal shares with TZR its discoveries, so you, too, will know what to invest in for the season.

According to The RealReal's 2021 Consignment Report, the number one most-searched brand on its platform in 2021, thus far, is — drum roll, please — Gucci. Head of Women's at The RealReal Sasha Skoda confirmed that Gucci's prominence has been consistent over the past five years, with its name picking up even more steam in the past two years. "After Alessandro Michele joined Gucci as Creative Director in 2015 ... we saw average resale value [to the label] increase by 1.7x," she tells TZR over email. Six years later, the brand's reign continues, which Skoda attributes to Michele's "fresh perspective and bold maximalism." The designer is famously unafraid to take risks in the luxury industry, like separating from the fashion calendar just last spring in pursuit of a slower, more intuitive creative process. Since then, Gucci has released a star-studded film, entitled OUVERTURE of Something that Never Ended, as well as a coveted collaboration with North Face. To Skoda, Gucci offers "pieces that allow [wearers] to curate unique and personal style, versus looking like everyone else."

Coming up quickly on the heels of Gucci are two other familiar luxury names such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel, which took the number-three slot in being a must-have brand for 2021. From Skoda's view, these brands have two things in common: "timeless appeal and classic style," she says. "These are items consumers feel confident investing in, because they will never go out of style, and in many cases are actually increasing in value over time." Explore each of the aforementioned brand's top products that keep on giving as the years go by, ahead.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Products With The Greatest Resale Value Growth At The RealReal

One way The RealReal can tell what is popular with shoppers in real time is by using the metric it calls the Greatest Resale Value Growth MVPs, meaning the brands that saw an increased return on investment from one year to the next. For example, a particular handbag can be worth 50 percent more today than it had at this time last year. This suggests two things: First, these pieces feature design codes that align with today's trends. Second, they're also styles that shoppers feel comfortable investing more in, due to their staying power over time. Net net: they're equal parts on-trend and timeless.

Take, for instance, shoulder bags. After first making the rounds in the '90s and early-'00s, the envelope-shaped purses are seeing a resurgence in 2021. Both Gucci's Horsebit Clutch, Chanel's Precious Symbols Pochette, Louis Vuitton's Multicolore Pochette bag and its Recital bag snuck into this category. Savvy shoppers are more than aware that history repeats itself — in which case, the bag silhouette will keep coming into fashion over the years and remains a smart investment. Cat-eye sunglasses from Gucci and Chanel were also amongst the styles with the greatest resale value growth, wielding the same "in vogue over time" factor as the shoulder purse. Scroll through to shop the products from Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel with the greatest resale value growth.

Products With The Highest Average Resale Value At The RealReal

Another way The RealReal measures what products are resonating with shoppers is by putting items into a highest average resale value category aka those capital-T timeless styles that have held onto their top-dollar statuses over the years. For those who might have expected Chanel's iconic flap bag to be the number-one item on people's wishlist list, think again. The label's footwear is actually dominating in resale value, with its Birkenstock-worthy velcro sandals currently at 101 percent of their original price. "These two examples are currently cult favorites that are in super high demand," says Skoda. "Of-the-moment trends tend to drive a frenzy amongst consumers, which can drive large spikes in resale value."

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton's monogrammed Recital bag is at a whopping 186 percent of its original retail value. Louis Vuitton's top products for The RealReal's highest average resale value and the greatest resale value growth categories were the exact same, perhaps signifying a doubling-down in their impetus. At Gucci, the Leather Double G belt resells for 98 percent of its value when purchased from the brand's website. Skoda personally vouches for this piece, too, telling TZR, "The Gucci leather double G belt ... is such a classic and can be worn in so many ways. I would dress it down with a pair of high-waist denim, a vintage tee, and pair of classic loafers. You could also dress it up cinched around a sleek sweater dress and knee-high boots," she adds. Below, shop the products from Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel with the highest average resale value.

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