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The Results Are In: Here Are The Top 25 Most Purchased Items Of 2021 (And We Were Shocked)

HELLO, THERE. Welcome to Oz. I’m your friend, the business wizard, here to lift the curtain a little bit. Today, we’re taking a sneak peek into a topic near and dear to my heart: our top-selling items of 2021. I track this data like it’s my job (mainly because, you know, it is actually my job) and every month, I share this intel with the editorial team to help inform our content.

And let me tell you: this year, you all threw me for a loop. I think you’ll see what I mean as you scroll through the list. “I thought this was an interior design blog,” you’ll think. “Who the heck is coming here to read about living rooms and leaving with a Theragun,” you’ll proclaim. Well, friend…SAME HERE. (I’m the one who recommended the Theragun and I’m STILL surprised.)

For the first time ever, my left-brained self could find no rhyme, or reason, or any type of consistency at all when it came to the millions of clicks or to the 200,000 purchases made through our EHD links. It’s not a complaint, though – you made it a fun and surprising and dynamic year and for that, I thank you. But now, I gotta know…did you bring home any of these pieces in 2021?

25. A Budget-Friendly Fall Frock

I’M SORRY. Give me one magazine-style alliteration! I’ll type like a normal person after this!! Now, let me be clear right up top: this year, our fashion guru Mal baaaaasically ran the show. You LOVED her recommendations, including this plaid fall dress that I described in our Slack convo as “like Reformation, but cheap and festive.” What could be better?

24. These Wicker Platform Sandals

HA. I wasn’t kidding, guys!!! Here, we have another Mallory recommendation. This one surprised me a little – they do feel a bit, uh, specific? – but I do love thinking about all of you out there, stomping around and ruling the world in your wicker picnic basket shoes. (Added bonus: they’re currently on sale!)

23. This Timeless Rattan and Brass Chest

Ah, this one is from me. I’m so partial to this chest from Serena & Lily that I include it in almost every holiday sale roundup I compile. It’s so versatile – you can imagine it in a California casual or in a grandmillennial room, which is a near-impossible balance to strike. (If you’re going to splurge on a storage piece, it should absolutely be one that’ll work as your style evolves and changes, you know?)

22. An On-Trend Statement Lamp

Mal isn’t just an EHD fashion icon – turn’s out that girlfriend’s also got a killer taste in home decor, too. (Wait til you see her apartment!) This lamp is graphic and bold but it gives off such a warm, cozy glow. We love when form meets function!!!

21. This Theragun Bundle

HOORAY. I’ll keep it brief: the Theragun is one of the few exercise-tech things out there that lives up to the hype. This bundle was a slamming deal. I hope that it’s helped a few of you as much as it helped me.

20. Some Easy-to-Store Holiday Decor

A nice little case of #emfluencing here – Jess recommended these paper trees earlier this winter after being inspired by Em’s decor in years past. They’re handcrafted, compact, and will probably be on super sale this time next week if you’d be interested in adding them to your holiday 2022 plans.

19. An Affordable End Table

Sometimes we just love a simple, budget-friendly table in a classic shape. Need a stool? You have one. Wanna put a drink somewhere? Use this! Trying to elevate a plant off the ground? I think you get where I’m headed with this.

18. A Well-Tested Travel Backpack

This is my all-time favorite piece of luggage and I will sing its praises on the blog, year after year, for as long as I work here. It’s my Mary Poppins bag – the capacity is almost unbelievable – and it still looks like new, despite taking a beating on ~100 flights over the past 3 years. I’m writing this post from the sofa at my mom’s house (hi, Brenda) and naturally, this is the bag upstairs in my room. A MILLION STARS.

17. The Chore Coat Em Owns and Loves

Em debuted this chore coat in her fall uniform basics post. She wrote, “This chore coat is excellent – stiff cut (which is what you want), but soft and easy to layer. I have a couple vintage versions of these which I love but they are wider (likely because they were mens) and this is just a very slimming cut (if you are into that).”

16. And The More Affordable Option

But I had to laugh, because it turns out that we’re all a bunch of bargain hunters here. Ryann sourced this Madewell chore coat for the aforementioned fall uniform post and, well, y’all loved it a lot. My question (if any purchasers are here): did you fall for the olive color or were you swayed by the price?

15. The Sweetest Mini Lamp

One of my favorite memories from this year was watching Jess get SO JAZZED about this 3″ tall lamp. If you think we ever tire of talking home decor, think again – Bungo discovered this piece and then FaceTimed me to gush about its aesthetics, which is SUCH A TREAT. I’ve since been to her house (because we are all obsessed with each other, on AND offline) and can confirm that it looks awesome – I can’t wait for you to see it in her space! The lamp’s sold out at Nordstrom right now, but you can grab it here, too.

14. Em’s Favorite Rash Guard

Oh hey, my fellow sun-fearing friends! As someone who is still battling an embarrassing tan line on my hands from MAY (yes, that May, the one that was SEVEN MONTHS AGO), I’m thrilled to learn that I’m not the only one out there who needs a little extra layer before stepping outside. (It helps that this one is so cute.)

13. Elastic-Waist Shorts That Actually Look Professional

Did anyone else here go through a HUGE Soffee shorts phase from ~2003-2006? (For those unfamiliar, Soffees were brightly colored shorts with an elastic waist and you’d roll them up til your bits were basically visible. This, to us, was the height of ~fashion~.) These Madewell shorts, recommended by yours truly – a former Soffee addict-turned-mortified adult – are the grown-up version of that. They’re a comfortable length, they feel great on, they look put together, and they don’t ride up in the middle. Arlyn actually recommended them to me in 2019 and I’ve been trying to spread the word ever since. Bookmark now and return when the spring arrives – they’re under $30 bucks and worth every penny.

12. An Ultra-Glam Dining Table

In case you were looking for a reason to check the Link Up every Sunday, this is it. This now-discontinued dining table, which had traditionally retailed for like, $2,000, was selling for PEANUTS. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was 75-80% off. As a lover of all things brass and lucite (wait til you see my apartment in 2022!), I was (and am) SO EXCITED that we were able to help you guys take advantage of such a great closeout deal.

11. The Ultimate White Popover Shirt

LOL. Hello from my third recommendation in a row to make the list!!! I feel like I should be giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars, TBH. If I was forced to wear one shirt for the rest of my life, this Madewell popover would be it. Hands down. No question. It’s clean, it can go casual or professional, and it looks great tucked in whatever style of tuck is currently on-trend.

10. A Chic Sweater Jumpsuit

Annnnd we’re back to the big boss’ recommendations. All is well! Em introduced me – and maybe you? – to Alex Mill this year and it’s quickly become one of my favorite destinations for classic, elevated basics. Case in point: this jumpsuit, which is essentially the equivalent of chic pajamas. Comfy AND stylish. INCREDIBLE.

9. A Well-Tested Running Jacket

Em said it best, so I’m going to quote her here: “Three years. THREE YEARS of wearing the same running/hiking/biking jacket year-round. The other day Caitlin pitched a post called ‘What Clothes Make Me Feel Really Good Right Now’ and while I didn’t verbalize it on the call I was internally thinking ‘uh, my running jacket?’ You’ve seen me wear it FOR YEARS and the reason it’s more superior to others is A. it’s warm (puffy vest) but still really flattering (fitted but not tight arms), B. it has zippered pockets, and C. since it’s only puffy on the front I can layer it under all my coats without adding armpit bulk (you know what I mean). I have a couple of other summer jackets but to wear the same piece of clothing for three years, 3-4 times a week, and have it still be in great condition is pretty remarkable. So while I’ve linked it up a lot over the years, I wanted to give it more love right now. And yes it’s expensive for a running jacket, but if you are into sustainable purchases then know that this one lasts and gets true use.”

8. A Scandi-Inspired Target Ottoman

This ottoman is SO good and elevated for the price (just under $100). Mal threw this on our radar when she grabbed it for her studio apartment and let me tell you…IT’S CUTER IN PERSON. The lines, the quality of the upholstered seat, the tiny leather accents – the whole thing is so luxe and considered. This piece would look right at home in an upscale spot like Nickey Kehoe or Lawson-Fenning, don’t you think?

7. Caitlin’s Favorite Overalls

I LOVE OVERALLS. I have the long version of these for fall and this version for summer. I can best describe these as like, comfy Spanx, in that I feel really supported and held in but still really flexible and agile when I’m wearing them. This is another one to bookmark – they’ll come back in stock this spring and I love them very, very much.

6. Some Badass Lug Sole Boots

Mal gal knows her footwear (you guys should see her when we have team meetings – she has SUCH great style) so it’s really no surprise to see her how much y’all loved her boot recommendation. Lug soles were very cool this year and this modern take on a Chelsea boot was fun and on-trend without being overwhelming. (They’re on sale now, too, if you’re still in the market for some winter footwear!)

5. A Flirty, Modest Winter Dress

Last year, Mal’s winter dress recommendation took home the top honor as our #1 bestselling item of 2020. This year, her updated pick made top 5. HOW DOES SHE DO IT??? This green dress is flirty and sweet (with a ton of room to account for any holiday bloat – you know, in case you’re like me, a person who lives solely to eat everything on the holiday table) without feeling like it’s too much. You can dress it up, dress it down, and it’s super wearable for most of the year – I’m glad so many of you brought it home!

4. Em’s Travel Clogs

FASCINATING. This was actually the first time ever where something that we linked in stories made it onto this list. (From a business perspective, an overwhelming majority of sales come from the static links on the blog vs. social – I know that’s different from a lot of other influencers, but it’s what makes our IG feed special, I think!) ANYWAY. Em shared a photo of herself wearing these with the PDX airport carpet in the background and we were off to the races. SO MANY CLICKS. So many sales! Did you grab a pair?

3. A Polo Cardigan Sweater

The final fashion recommendation from our sweet Mal gal: this charming, 90s-inspired polo-style cardigan. Very Cher from Clueless, no??? It makes my heart happy to see such a great keep-forever basic topping the fashion list – you all have some fun, special taste. 🙂

2. The Sauna Blanket

Hot diggity dog. (Literally, though.) After a year of use, Em took to the blog to review one of her personal favorite relaxation tools – this heated sleeping bag, AKA the infrared sauna blanket. Not going to lie – I was floored after seeing this in the top 2, mainly because it’s a little bit of a splurge. If you grabbed one, I’d love to hear about your experiences!!! Do you feel awesome when you’re all finished?

1. Em’s Go-To Swimsuit

UNPRECEDENTED. Back in May, Em grabbed a handful of swimsuits, took a bunch of mirror selfies, and published a full review for all our benefit. I expected that this post would, you know, help folks find a swimsuit they feel good about wearing. I did not expect that this swimsuit, in particular, would become our #1 seller of the year by a landslide; nor did I anticipate the frenzy of other swimsuit purchases which would lead to May 1st becoming our third biggest sales day of 2021 (Cyber Monday and Black Friday were #1 and #2, respectively).

And with that, we have wrapped my final post of 2021. WHAT A YEAR, RIGHT? Thank you for your time, your commentary, and your clicks. I know I say it in almost every post, but I still can’t believe that this is a job that an actual person gets to do…and truly, it’s all because of you. THANK YOU. (I typed that in my “PBS viewers like you” voice, but I’m not sure it came across.)

To that end, I must know: what the heck do you think is going on here??? LET’S TALK ABOUT IT. xx

Opening Photo Credits: Design by Jess Bunge | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Makeover Takeover: Jess’ Long Awaited (Small Space) Living Room Reveal

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2 years ago

“PBS viewers like you voice”
Thanks for the giggles, as always

Karen L
2 years ago

I see a consistency in clean lines, black and white/neutral, and things that make you feel good, but in a conservative, practical way. We’re all a little gun shy, but hopeful that things will get better. And looking for comfort! It feels like things we want to share that experience and focus on ourselves. I don’t see exuberance, playfulness, social.

2 years ago

I superlove the look of that Target bench but the reviews are abysmal. I bet half the bad reviews are from people who clicked through from here and now are super pissed.

2 years ago
Reply to  hickenack

Which bench are you talking about? I’m only seeing the Target ottoman with a 5 star rating here.

2 years ago
Reply to  hickenack

I assume you mean the ottoman? I actually have it and LOVE it! It’s great! Quality is better than what you’d think at that price. It’s held up really well. We’re actually using it as a piano bench now and get tons of compliments on it.

2 years ago

I”m not here for the fashion and beauty stuff. Clearly, I’m in the minority and these posts really help pay the bills. Helps me understand why there’s so much of it. I’d say that aside from that glam dining table, most of these items are relatively easy to make a quick purchasing decision on. If I had the budget for larger or more expensive items (I don’t) I’d probably go and measure and maybe compare with similar items. Once ready to buy, I’d likely go direct rather than coming back here to hunt for a link to click through.
I think the only thing I ordered after seeing it here is the little brass perforated table lamp from Article. I replaced the bulb with a dimmer one, put it on a timer and enjoy the pretty light pattern every night – love it!

Roberta Davis
2 years ago

You sold 200,000 items? I’m impressed! Not surprising that many of them are pretty affordable. You all have a lot of influence, clearly!

2 years ago

Eighth piece is my favourite so simple and cozy.

2 years ago

Nice Article

2 years ago

I got emfluenced to buy a pair of the Madewell velcro sandals that I think were recommended a few times on the blog. I comfortably walked many miles in them while visiting family in Europe this Summer and it looks like they are going to last for years to come. I also started using Briogeo hair products thanks to a Sunday linkup this year—thanks for the great recommendations! Frankly, at this point EHD and COJ take care of most of my [limited] shopping needs, so much time saved, and disappointments happen but quite rarely. Note: I only buy what I need and search the blog for it when I need it, almost no impulse buys here.

2 years ago

Ahhh, I’m really glad you all had a great year but honestly kind of bummed by this list? So many of these being lifestyle items (as well as the EHD drift toward lifestyle blogging) feels like further proof that my instagram feed turning into a shopping mall is here to stay, and it makes me kind of sad as someone who is trying to avoid constant consumption.
I know every posts takes time and I get to read all of this for free! But it just bums me out!