There’s A Good Reason Pantone Chose Two Colors Of The Year For 2021

Pantone — the agency that provides a universal language of color to design industries — chose two complementary hues as their 2021 Color of the year: PANTONE® 17-5104 Ultimate Gray (speaks for itself) and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating (a sunny yellow). “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope,” explained Pantone Color Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman in a press release. “We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.” A collection of sentiments that can apply to our current outlook at the end of a very long year — and one that we’re especially looking to channel in our gift-shopping this season.
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We know everyone around us needs a boost of brightness and a dose of focus going into the long haul of winter, so we’re looking to inform our holiday presents with the energy that radiates from these twin complementary shades — especially for the loved ones that we can’t be physically close to this season. Ahead, find the best gifts awash in Pantone's 2021 shades that will both soothe and boost everyone on your list this season.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
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Cariuma OCA Low Sneaker in Illuminating or Ultimate Gray


This eco-friendly sneaker brand is always hot on the heels (!) of Pantone’s latest launches, and the most recent edition of their signature OCA low-top sneaker captures the complementary shades of the color authority’s 2021 hues. The footwear enthusiast in your life will appreciate this cool and vibrant gift.
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Little Sun Original Solar Lamp


This Olafur Eliasson-designed pocket lamp is will bring a cheerful (and portable) dose of illumination into your life — and, thanks to its give-back business model, the lives of others. For every lamp purchased, another one is made available at an affordable local price for residents of developing nations.
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Clare V. for Anthropologie Maisonette Mug


Not only is this sweet mug rendered in a sunny shade of yellow, it’s emblazoned with an even more affirming slogan — making it the perfect pep-in-your-step present for the hot beverage-enthusiast in your life.
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Everlane Cashmere Bandana


Everlane’s luxe square scarf will add a dose of optimism to any winter outfit.
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Kelly Clarkson Home Lourdes Velvet Task Chair


This elevated task chair is an investment, but will be the gift that keeps on giving — especially as our WFH status shows no signs of changing in 2021. The chic seat is available in a host of colors, but of course we’re opting for a cheerful yellow that will brighten up any home office on a dreary day.
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Druthers Recycled Cotton Rib Beanie


We love that this stylish chapeau is made from a recycled cotton blend — and comes in a shade of brilliant yellow that will hopefully keep the winter blues at bay.
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Parachute Classic Slippers


Moving into the comforting territory of Ultimate Gray, we have the ultimate in grounding gifts: a pair of French terry slippers that will keep your feet firmly (and warmly) planted on the ground.
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Stojo 20 oz. Collapsible Silicone Water Bottle


Made from “safe”, European-certified food-grade silicone, this roomy water bottle will collapse into a portable circle when empty.
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Quince Mongolian Cashmere Crew


A cashmere sweater makes for a luxurious gift, but the cost can sometimes be prohibitive. Not so with Quince’s direct-to-consumer cashmere — this easy crewneck sweater clocks in at exactly $50. Your recipient will cherish the cozy layering piece in a stable shade of gray.
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Ostrichpillow Heatbag


Chuckle all you want at Ostrichpillow’s uniquely-formed head and body rests — according to the reviews, they get the job done! We’ve got our eye on their just-launched heated pillow — it’s the perfect insulating present, especially in a soothing heather hue.
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The North Face Thermoball Eco Hoodie


It’s a splurge, but TNF’s top-rated recycled-fiber parka will keep a loved one warm and toasty this winter — and the reassuring gray will help them stay calm as they brave winter temps.
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Caraway Cookware Set


Recently endorsed by our very own Marissa Rosenblum, Caraway’s comprehensive four-piece cookware set boasts a mineral-based ceramic nonstick coating that’s less toxic that the traditional stuff. The pans’ steady gray tint will be the perfect complement to the routine and rhythmic act of cooking.
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