Every year, product developers look forward to Pantone’s Color of the Year. After the surreal year that was 2020, it should come as no surprise that, for only the second time ever, Pantone chose two colors for 2021: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray.
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warm and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”
Here are some great travel gifts in Pantone’s Colors of the Year to spread that resilience and hope.
Cariuma has such a loyal following because their sneakers boast substance in addition to a heap of casual Brazilian style. Crafted from organic cotton, the 100% vegan OCA Low is one of their most popular styles, comfy and supportive thanks to lightweight cushion technology. On trend, Cariuma has partnered with Pantone for two new hues and we’re hoping this will become an annual tradition so we can start collecting them. There’s no guilt about buying both colors because, for each pair of sneakers sold, Cariuma plants two trees. Price: $89
This simple – and simply beautiful sweater – is super soft and can be dressed up or down to wear with jeans or a skirt. Made of 100% cashmere from Inner Mongolia, each purchase helps support economic vitality for shepherds. It’s so comfortable, it’s likely to become your go-to sweater – and your go-with once you’re able to actually go anywhere again. Price: $70
This beautiful leather passport cover comes in both colors of the year (plus many others) but if you opt for Turmeric, you’ll be able to find it easily even in an overstuffed bag. Compact enough to fit anywhere, it’s surprisingly roomy and can hold your boarding pass, credit cards, cash and receipts in addition to your passport. It will keep you organized and can even be personalized for a truly bespoke gift. Price: From $60
You can never have too many notebooks – especially if they’re from Papier. Choose from a variety of styles in yellows and grays, and, if you can’t decide, opt for this herringbone design which features both colors. Papier notebooks are available in hardcover and soft, with plain, lined or bullet/dotted paper. Plus, you can personalize them with your name, your favorite saying, whatever. They just may inspire you to write a love letter – or a honey do list. Price: From $20.99
These lightweight, compostable toothbrushes are so pretty, you just may find yourself brushing more than usual. This Minority and Woman Certified Business is all about sustainability and giving back, and their thoughtful products are good for you, the planet and those in need. 5% of sales go to non-profits – the yellow on these toothbrushes show that their purchase benefits Bee and Pollinator Conservation. Price: $14
Enriched with honey and vegetable oils from Provence, these ultra-smooth hand creams hydrate, soothe and help protect skin. Small enough to throw in a bag or keep in your glove compartment so you’ll always have one handy, they actually come in both colors of the year. Olive Wood is packaged in a gray tube and is a sensual fragrance with notes of wood enhanced by citrus and camphor for a touch of freshness. Mimosa Flower, in yellow, is sunny and floral. Buy one of each to match your mood. Price: $9
On a cold, winter day, there’s nothing more comforting than wrapping yourself in this sunny fleece blanket. (It also comes in gray and nine other colors.) Made in Germany of 100% cotton, it’s machine-washable and made to last. Plush and super soft, it’s worthy of a five-star hotel but perfect for road trips and making any Airbnb feel like home. Price: From $79
This face mask hits all the relevant buttons – it features both colors, it’s got a patent-pending X-frame design for superior airflow and its new AirBan system fills any gaps between the NT3D filter and the mask. This is a mask you’ll actually want to wear. Price: $25
This 100% cotton bag is inspired by the Japanese fish markets and actually helps keep plastic bags out of the ocean, where they can harm marine life. It’s washable and reusable, and even collapses into its own attached pouch which converts to a roomy pocket. “Ami” means “net” in Japanese, and you will want to carry these net bags with you everywhere. “Ami” also means “friend” in French, and that’s what it will be to both you and the environment. Price: $19
Why is this tumbler such a happy color? Because it holds over half a bottle of wine! It’s got a handy splash-proof lid and removes the stress of delicate glassware. The largest tumbler on the market, it’s triple-insulated to keep your wine at the perfect temperature longer than it will probably take you to drink it. It’s also available in gray and more than a dozen other colors. Price: $17.99
The aptly-named CUTE nails it with their vegan, 7 Free lacquers that fit nicely into a travel toiletry bag. Granted, nail polish may not be rocket science but this sunny yellow shade pays tribute to a man who invented the first rocket engine and who was so outrageous that that’s the least interesting thing about him. “Really, you should read up on him,” encourages the website, and you should so you have a story to tell when you get complimented on your nails. Price: $10
We already loved TOMS for their philanthropic and sustainability practices, and now we also love them for these great-looking canvas slip-ons. The rich color adds warmth to a cool, casual style. With their padded footbed and durable rubber traction sole, they’re so comfy, they literally let you put your best foot forward. Price: $54.95
Every fan of Beekman 1802 looks forward to receiving the yellow and gray packaging that signifies a delivery from the brand. Their limited-edition collaboration with Schitt’s Creek on the Rose Apothecary collection is a delightful surprise, and this bundle features two bar soaps, one Body Cream and one Tinted Lip Balm, all in their exclusive Heirloom Rose scent and wrapped in a travel tote, appropriately emblazoned “Simply the Best.” Price: $75