There’s no single way to define a “good buy.” It’s all very personal. But in search of the best purchases of the year, it can certainly help to turn to some of the most discerning folks we know. Working across fashion and beauty, the insiders below are especially knowledgeable about their market but when asked about the best things they bought in 2021, their answers may surprise. They cite Theraguns and air fryers as favorites that live up to their hype, as well as unique treasures like artwork and gorgeous plants that have transformed their spaces and are worth every penny.
Ahead, discover eight unique definitions of money well spent in 2021.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra O’Neill
"My favorite purchase this year is the MZ Skin-light Therapy Golden Treatment Device. I have rosacea and it’s been so helpful in calming any flare-ups!"
Photo: Courtesy of Abena Boamah
“I purchased a Williams Sonoma air fryer for my 30th birthday and it's honestly been the best thing ever. I probably use it once a week—it's so good for making my chicken wings and warming up food.”
Photo: Courtesy of Sean Garrette
“The best thing that I bought this year would have to be my Acne Studios oversized brown leather suit jacket! This piece was such an investment for me, but I have no regrets about buying it. It's a ‘70s-inspired suit jacket in a glossy caramel brown crinkled leather. I can literally wear this piece with everything, and I've probably already gotten my cost-per-wear out of it. What I love the most about it is how versatile it is. I can wear it with jeans and sneakers or boots during the day, or wear it on a night out to amplify a look. As you wear it, the leather gets softer and more supple which each wear—definitely one of the best things I've bought this year!”
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@marahoffman
"The best thing(s) I bought in 2021 were plants from landscape designer Kari Elwell-Katzander of Mingo Design, specifically, Gloria, our beautiful new palm tree. We opened our first NYC retail store in November and it is filled with plants. They make me so happy and turn a space into a living breathing environment. Gloria is a gorgeous tree who carries so much presence, I feel an enormous responsibility to make sure she is happy in her new home."
Photo: Courtesy of Katie Sturino
“My Theragun. I love it so much because it can both relax and wake you up. I always feel bad asking someone to rub my feet, but sometimes a girl just needs a foot rub! My Theragun is my dream foot rub. And it's not just great for my feet—it's also great for whatever else needs massaging. Plus, the mini size is perfect for traveling!”
Photo: Courtesy of Amira Rasool
“I’ve never been much of a lip gloss girl because I tend to only wear dark lipstick when I’m doing an evening glam look or nothing on the lip when I’m doing my everyday minimal makeup look. The Send Nudes Gloss by Mented Cosmetic completely changed that. The brand does a really great job in catering its products towards Black women with darker skin tones and this lip gloss is a reflection of that. I never liked to wear lip gloss because I could never find a nude that was actually meant for my skin tone, and now that I’ve found it, I can’t imagine doing my daily makeup routine without it. It’s the perfect finishing touch to my look.”
Jessie Randall, founder and creative director of Loeffler Randall
Photo: Courtesy of Jessie Randall
“My absolute favorite thing I bought this year is a ceramic cat lamp by Zozo’s General for my son Harry’s room. It’s such an heirloom and so special. He actually sleeps with it on all night long so I’ll go in and check on him and I’ll see him all snuggled up in the glow from his lamp with its pleated lamp shade. Zozo’s also sells adorable puppy candlesticks and lamps, too. The candlesticks are part of our Loeffler Randall craft fair this year.”
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@lcchan
“The best thing that I bought myself this year was a piece of art from Eric Stefanski. He’s my favorite artist because his phrase-based paintings are ever in-tune with my inner monologue—and probably with the thoughts of any millennial who runs a creative business like him or me. They say things like, ‘Let’s quit our fucking jobs and go dancing,’ ‘I’m a genius; I’m a fraud,’ and ‘In the moment it feels like I have won,’ and they bring a comforting sense of relatability and comedy to my home office.”